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Department of Religious Studies

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Major in Religious Studies

Program of Concentration in Religious Studies... A Major in Religious Studies (by itself or as part of a double major) provides an excellent inter-disciplinary and multicultural liberal education that has application for any career that involves assessing personal and social situations, including medicine, law, communications, business, and politics, or as preparation for further study in the academy in any of the traditional disciplines of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Our courses are designed to help students:

  • Understand the peoples and cultures of select religious traditions
  • Develop metholodogically sound approaches to the interpretation of religious traditions
  • Recognize the significance and function of religion in the construction of meaning
  • Become familiar with theoretical perspectives on the nature of religion

The Major requires courses in two areas:

  • Methods for the study of religions -- including historical, psychological, literary, anthropological, sociological, and art historical approaches
  • Religion in culture and history -- an examination of religious traditions in their cultural contexts

The 30-hour Major in Religious Studies is designed with two goals in mind. We want our students to develop an in-depth understanding of at least two prominent world religious traditions in an effort to produce culturally literate world citizens. We also require students to take courses that will familiarize them with the range of ways in which religion is studied and understood.  Like any good Liberal Arts major, the program in Religious Studies strives to develop a student's analytical tools and ability to articulate abstractions both verbally and in writing.  By itself or as a complement to another major, a degree in Religious Studies lays a solid foundation on which to build a career in professions that demand contact with diverse populations, such as  business, medicine, social work, law, diplomacy, politics, international relations, or education; alternately it is the starting point for advanced graduate studies in any of the traditional disciplines of the Humanities or Social Sciences.   

Students majoring in Religious Studies must complete at least 30 hours distributed in the three following categories. The freshman seminar (115) may be counted toward the major in the category corresponding to its topic. Students planning to pursue graduate studies are especially encouraged to take  language courses relevant to their religious traditions of interest.

Majors Worksheet Tool - Use to plan and detail courses to date toward the fulfillment of a major

Category 1: Religious Traditions in Cultural Contexts (a-f) , a minimum of 15 hours, with at least two courses in each of two separate religious traditions.

A. CHRISTIANITY
B. JUDAISM
C. ISLAM
D. BUDDHISM & OTHER ASIAN RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS
E. AFRICAN-AMERICAN RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS
F. NATIVE AMERICAN RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS

Category 2: Religion and Its Role in Human Life (a-b) , a minimum of 9 hours, with at least one course from each group.

A. CRITICAL THEORIES OF RELIGION & METHODS
B. WAYS IN WHICH RELIGION SHAPES THE THOUGHTS, LIVES & VALUES OF PRACTITIONERS

Category 3: Senior Seminar, "RLST 280" , Required for all Religious Studies Majors.  This course gathers majors during the fall semester of their last year.  (RLST 280 may be taken during the junior year with special permission from the Religous Studies Director of Undergraduate Studies.)


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