Religion Major

Consists of 35 credits (excluding Foreign Language, which may entail up to an additional 7 credits), 18 of which must be upper division, and must include the following elements; some courses may count toward more than one element:

  • Foundations
  • Breadth
    • Non-Western Religion: A course that focuses on one or more non-Western religions (i.e., religions other than Judaism, Christianity or Islam. (3 cr)
    • Ethics: A course in ethics from either Religion or Philosophy course listings. (3 cr)
    • Fine Arts: Course(s) in Art, Music, Theatre and/or Creative Writing, approved by the student's Religion advisor. (3 cr)
    • Foreign Language: May be met by satisfactorily completing the first year of language study at the college level in either a modern or ancient foreign language, or by passing a first-year equivalency test. (0-7 cr)
  • Depth
    • Depth-examination of two religious traditions: At least 6 upper-division credits from courses in Christianity (including REL-315 Christian Theology) and at least 6 upper division credits from courses in one other religious tradition. These courses may include courses in which a particular tradition plays a prominent role, "topics" Religion courses in which the student designates a focus on a particular religious tradition, REL-399 Readings in Religion, and/or REL-494 Independent Study. (12 cr)
    • REL-498 Religious Studies Seminar (1-4 cr): Religion majors are encouraged to take this each year; they must take it in their senior year.
    • REL-499 Senior Thesis (3 cr): Honors or independent study project during the senior year in which a major paper is produced, and is presented to the Religious Studies Seminar.
  • Electives
    • Electives, necessary to bring the total credits to 35, excluding foreign language: Up to 6 of these credits may be from relevant, non-cross-listed courses in another discipline, upon approval by the student's advisor; such courses may also be applied to another major (if permitted by that major), but not to another minor. (1-10 cr)

Student Learning Outcomes

In completing a major in Religion, students should be able to:

  • distinguish between devotional and academic approaches to Religion, and to read and write critically about Religion in accordance with the latter;
  • gain a critical framework within which to encounter, analyze and understand religious phenomena in both Western and Asian contexts, in conversation with other available models, and to become conversant with the major issues and problems in interpreting religion;
  • attain a substantive understanding of Christianity and of at least one other religious tradition, and of the diversity within each;
  • be critically aware of, and self-reflective on, their own ultimate values and commitments, the relationships of those values and commitments to those of others, and to be able to communicate and support those views in a coherent, understandable way;
  • formulate and conduct independent research in Religion, and present the results both orally and in writing in a clear, thoughtful, and carefully defended way;
  • possess adequate depth and breadth of religious knowledge and sophistication to be prepared for graduate work in religious studies or professional ministerial training.