Religious Studies Department


Religious studies aims to train students to think critically about the nature of religion, to apply different methods within the academic study of religion, and to explore diverse social, cultural, and ethical issues related to religious traditions and phenomena. Inevitably, the study of different religious traditions, as well as various approaches to analyzing those traditions, will include historical, political, textual, material, ethnographic, aesthetic, and philosophical inquiry.

Faculty

ChairProfessor Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh
Professors David Freidenreich and Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh; Visiting Assistant Professors Ryan Harper and Kerry Sonia


Requirements +

Requirements for the Major in Religious Studies

A minimum of 10 courses, to include at least one from each of the three following groups: Eastern religions (111, 212, 218,265); the Bible and its reception (143, 144, 181, 136); and religion and the modern world (117,182, 217, 256, 263). The 10 required courses will include three religious studies courses at the 300 level or above and a 400-level senior independent study project. The three required 300-level courses may not include courses from other departments or institutions. The senior independent study project may take one of three forms: a four-credit independent study (491 or 492) sponsored by a member of the religious studies faculty or an approved faculty member from another department; a two-semester project in the honors program (483, 484) described below; or a Senior Scholars project with one mentor from the religious studies faculty. As part of the culminating experience, all seniors are required to present their independent research in a symposium held at the end of the spring semester. For the purpose of fulfilling the requirement of 10 religious studies courses, two two-credit courses or independent studies count as the equivalent of a single course.

The point scale for retention of the major applies to all courses that count toward the major.

Honors Program in Religious Studies

Students majoring in religious studies may apply during their junior year for admission to the honors program. Students are expected to submit their proposal to the department chair by April 15. Admission is contingent on a GPA of 3.65 or higher in the major at the completion of the junior year. On successful completion of the work for the honors program, including a thesis, students will graduate from the College with “Honors in Religious Studies.”

Requirements for the Minor in Religious Studies

A minimum of six courses in religious studies to include at least one from each of the three following groups: Eastern religions (111, 212, 218, 265); the Bible and its reception (143, 144, 181, 136); and religion and the modern world (117,182, 217, 256, 263). The six required courses will include two religious studies courses at the 300 level or above. The two required 300-level courses may not include courses from other departments or institutions. For the purpose of fulfilling the requirement of six religious studies courses, two two-credit courses or independent studies count as the equivalent of a single course.

Other Applicable Courses +

Courses from Other Departments That Can Serve as Electives in the Religious Studies Major/Minor

(Students may petition the chair to consider other courses toward the major)

Art

  • 125 Art and Architecture of the Islamic World, 622-1250
  • 126 Art and Architecture of the Islamic World, 1258-1914
  • 127 History of Architecture: From Pyramids to Cathedrals
  • 213 Early Medieval Art
  • 323 Destroying Culture: Iconoclasm

Anthropology

  • 244 Anthropology of Religion
  • 246 Religion and Everyday Life in Muslim Societies
  • 316 Religion and Social Change in Contemporary Africa 

Biology

  • 147 Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga and Mindful Practice

Classics

  • 136 Myth and Magic

East Asian Studies

  • 273 Survey of East Asian Art

Government

  • 251 Israelis and Palestinians: Conflict and Accommodation
  • 252 Introduction to Politics of the Middle East

History

  • 285 Foundations of Islam
  • 317 Universities, Cathedrals, Courtly Love: 12th-Century Renaissance
  • 381 Women and Gender in Islam

Jewish Studies

  • 226J Community Organizing and Social Justice

Latin American Studies

  • 373 Religion and Unbelief in Latin American History

Music

  • 254 Music of Meditation

Philosophy

  • 114 Central Philosophical Issues: Nature and God
  • 266 Buddhist Philosophy
  • 274 Philosophy of Religion

Sociology

  • 236 American Religion and Society