Religion Requirements

Requirements for the major (11 courses): The Religion major allows students to concentrate in a variety of sub-fields within the larger field of the study of religion. These sub-fields can be based on traditions, geographical areas, or themes.

  • While the plausibility of concentrating on a given sub-field depends on the availability of expert faculty members therein, the department currently offers the following concentrations: traditions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism.; geographical areas, such as, South Asia, East Asia, the Americas; and themes, such as mysticism, ethics, and sacred texts. Students are encouraged to consult with faculty members to explore other options or combinations thereof.

     The major will consist of at least eleven courses, including no more than one winter term course, distributed as follows:

  • A primary concentration of five courses: a four course concentration in a specific sub-field plus a senior project or thesis related to that sub-field. The courses must include a 0100 level course and a 0300 level seminar that focus in that tradition/area.
  • RELI 0400, Seminar on the Study of Religion
  • A distribution of five other courses elected by the student in close consultation with his/her adviser, subject to the following provisions:

(1) Majors must make sure that they have had exposure to a variety of different religious traditions (for example, Asian and Western) as well as a variety of methodological approaches to the study of religion (for example, historical, sociological, anthropological, or philosophical).

(2) Majors must take at least one 0300 seminar outside their primary sub-field of concentration within the religion department.

Important note: Students should consult closely with faculty advisors to determine which courses in the department satisfy a given concentration. The chair of the department, in consultation with the student’s advisor, will determine how transfer credits and courses taken during study abroad will be applied toward departmental requirements.

Joint major: Please note: the chair of the department must approve each joint major proposal. For the Religion component of a joint major, a student will complete seven courses:

  • A primary concentration of four courses in one sub-field. These courses will include a 0100-level course and a 0300-level seminar that focus in that sub-field.
  • Two electives
  • RELI 0400. Seminar on the Study of Religion

In addition, the student will complete a Senior Project or Thesis utilizing the expertise of both majors.

Religion Minor: The Religion minor will consist of at least five courses, three of which will focus in a single sub-field. One of the courses in the focus must be a seminar at the 0300-level or above.

Requirements Prior to Fall 2016

Requirements for the major (11 courses): (For students declaring a Religion Major beginning with the Spring 2011 semester) The Religion major allows students to concentrate in particular Traditions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, or Judaism) and/or Areas (American Religion or Ethics). The major will consist of at least eleven courses, including no more than one winter term course, distributed as follows:

  • a primary concentration of four courses in a specific Tradition or Area. These courses will include a 0100-level course and a 0300-level seminar that focus in that tradition/area.
  • a secondary concentration of three courses in a specific Tradition or Area. These courses will include a 0100-level course and a 0300-level seminar that focus in that tradition/area.
  • Two electives.
  • RELI 0400, Seminar on the Study of Religion
  • a Senior Project or Thesis (RELI 0700/0701). Normally senior work will relate to the major’s primary concentration of study.

Important Notes:
(1) Majors must take at least one course in Western Traditions (Christianity, Judaism, or Islam) and one course in Asian Religions (e.g., Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism). These courses may be used toward the primary or secondary concentration, or they may be electives.
(2) At least one of the two concentrations in a Religion major must focus on a Tradition. The other may focus on a second Tradition or an Area.
     Students should consult closely with faculty advisors to determine which courses in the department satisfy a given concentration. The chair of the department, in consultation with the student’s advisor, will determine how transfer credits and courses taken during study abroad will be applied toward departmental requirements.
     Joint major: Please note: the chair of the department must approve each joint major proposal.
For the Religion component of a joint major, a student will complete seven courses:

  • A primary concentration of four courses in one Tradition or Area. These courses will include a 0100-level course and a 0300-level seminar that focus in that tradition/area.
  • A secondary concentration of two courses in another Tradition or Area
  • RELI 0400

     In addition, the student will complete a Senior Project or Thesis that utilizes the expertise of both majors.
     Religion Minor: The Religion minor will consist of at least five courses, three of which will focus in a single Tradition or Area. One of the courses in the focus must be a 0300-level seminar.
     The Minor in Jewish Studies: Refer to Jewish Studies for description, or if searching the online catalog, please refer to Interdisciplinary Programs.
     The Minor in Hebrew: Refer to Hebrew in the Course Catalog for description, or if searching the on-line catalog, please refer to Interdisciplinary Programs.    
      Departmental Honors
: Graduation with departmental honors requires at least a B+ in courses counted toward the major. Students who meet this threshold and receive an A- or A on their senior project will be awarded Honors. Students who meet the course grade threshold and write a thesis will be eligible for Honors if the thesis grade is at least a B+, and High Honors if the thesis grade is an A- or A. Highest Honors will be reserved for students who earn at least an A- in courses counted toward the major and an A on the thesis.   

Department of Religion

Munroe Hall
427 College Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753