The Major in Religious Studies

Students majoring in religious studies are required to take one of the Introductory courses (RELN 101, 102, 103); Approaches to the Study of Religion (RELN 390); Senior Seminar (RELN 490), and 3 1/2 other units. These units must include foundation courses (200 level) in traditions or areas representing at least four of the five fields of study (see lists below). In one of the traditions/areas, at least one more advanced course must also be taken. (Note: there are seven traditions/areas grouped in five fields of study. The advanced course must be in the same tradition or area, not just the same field.)

It is highly recommended that majors take all four of their required foundation courses, if possible, before their senior year. Students who are considering spending the second semester of the junior year abroad should take RELN 390 (Approaches) in the sophomore year; otherwise the junior year is recommended.

A. Fields of Study (covering seven traditions/areas):

  1. Judaism
  2. Christianity
  3. Religions of the Americas
  4. Islam, South Asian religions
  5. Buddhism, East Asian religions

B. Foundation Courses (by tradition/area):

Judaism: The Judaic Tradition (210), Modern Judaism (211)
Christianity:   Faith of Christians (220), The New Testament (225)
Americas: Religion in America (230)
Islam: Classical Islam (240)
South Asia: South Asian Religions (250)
Buddhism: Buddhist Thought and Practice (260)
East Asia: Chinese Religions (270), Japanese Religions (275)

The Senior Exercise in Religious Studies consists of four parts:

  1. The Senior Seminar (RELN 490).
  2. A comprehensive examination (short answers).
  3. A research paper.
  4. The Senior Symposium (a discussion and critique, with a small group of students and faculty, of the papers written for part 3).

Honors in Religious Studies: Students with an overall grade point average of 3.25 or better and 3.5 or better in religious studies courses are eligible to submit a proposal for an honors project. Honors candidates select a field of concentration entailing 1 to 1 1/2 units of advanced research and writing under the supervision of one or more faculty members.

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Edit date: 5/23/05