The study of religion provides all the benefits of any other liberal arts humanities major, and the department offers a diverse curriculum. Faculty specialize in different geographic regions, time periods, and methodologies, and we bring the breadth of our global experience into the classroom. We can acquaint you with the cultures of the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
In this increasingly globalized world, we work with people from many different cultures in our careers, and it is imperative that we be able to communicate with one another. Religious studies courses implicitly train students to re-evaluate their own most deeply held values and beliefs. They encourage critical thinking--that is, objective, informed, and balanced insight and analysis--which can facilitate open-mindedness and communication.
Ten courses are required for the major. At least two courses must be at the 200-level; at least two courses must be at the 300-level or above. Beginning with the class of 2020, majors must take REL 260: Theories of Religion (ideally prior to taking the senior capstone), which trains students in the theories and methods of the academic study of religion. This counts as one of the 200-level courses. In addition to the two required 300-level or above courses, beginning with the class of 2019 majors must take REL 400: Capstone Experience in Religious Studies in their senior year.
Majors and minors are encouraged to take Religion 101 early in their careers, though it is not a requirement for the major. Students are encouraged to take courses that examine varying religious traditions and religion in varying regions and contexts.
Six courses are required for the minor. At least one must be at the 200 level, and at least one must be at the 300 level or above. One of the six may be taken outside the department, but may not be in the student's major. Minors are encouraged to take REL 260: Theories of Religion.
Up to two courses from outside the department may be counted toward a major or minor upon permission of the department chair and on a case-by-case basis.