Religious Studies Department
The study of religion in a college curriculum involves the historical and comparative scrutiny of the religious traditions, such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Shinto. Inevitably, the examination of basic questions about religion—traditional understandings of the divine, religious experience and its literary and artistic expressions, and the role of religion in society and nature—are central to the discipline.
Chair, Professor Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh
Professors Carleen Mandolfo, Charles Orzech, and Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh; Associate Professor David Freidenreich; Faculty Fellows Sarah Emanuel and Ryan Harper
Requirements for the Major in Religious Studies
A minimum of 10 courses, to include at least one from each of the following groups: Eastern religions (111, 212); Judaism and Islam (181, 182, or History 285); Christianity (136); and Bible (143, 144). The 10 required courses will include three religious studies courses at the 300 level or above and a 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 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, including at least one from three of the following groups: Eastern Religions (111 or 212); Judaism and Islam (181, 182, or History 285); Christianity (136); and Bible (143 or 144). 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)
- 125 Art and Architecture of the Islamic World, 622-1250
- 126 Art and Architecture of the Islamic World, 1258-1914
- 213 Early Medieval Art
- 323 Destroying Culture: Iconoclasm
- 244 Anthropology of Religion
- 246 Religion and Everyday Life in Muslim Societies
- 231 Tolkien’s Sources
- 251 Israelis and Palestinians: Conflict and Accommodation
- 252 Introduction to Politics of the Middle East
- 285 Foundations of Islam
- 317 Universities, Cathedrals, Courtly Love: 12th-Century Renaissance
- 320 Joan of Arc: History, Legend, and Film
Latin American Studies
- 373 Religion and Unbelief in Latin American History
- 254 Music of Meditation
- 114 Central Philosophical Issues: Nature and God
- 274 Philosophy of Religion