Requirements for the Major
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 in 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, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism.
- Geographical areas, such as South Asia, East Asia, and the Americas.
- Themes, such as religion and politics, 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, RELI 0700, RELI 0701, related to that sub-field. The courses must include a 0100 level course and a 0300 level seminar that focus in that concentration.
- 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.
(3) In the absence of a suitable 0100 level course in a given concentration, Reli0100 (Introduction to Religion) will satisfy this requirement.
(4) In unusual circumstances, and with the prior approval of the instructor and the chair of the department, certain 0200 level courses can count as a 0300 level seminar for the purpose of satisfying major requirements.
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.
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 plus a senior project or thesis related to that sub-field as well as the other major. These courses will include a 0100-level course and a 0300-level seminar that focus in that concentration.
- RELI 0400. Seminar on the Study of Religion
Two electives, chosen to ensure 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).
In addition, the student will complete a senior project or thesis, RELI 0700, RELI 0701, utilizing the expertise of both majors.
The Religion minor will consist of at least five courses, three of which will focus in a single concentration. One of the courses in the focus must be a seminar at the 0300-level or above.
The Minor in Jewish Studies
Refer to Jewish Studies for description.
The Minor in Hebrew
Refer to Hebrew for description.
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.