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Academic Information

Religious Studies Major

Religious studies majors must satisfy a distribution requirement in three “tracks:” western religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), eastern religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Religions of China and Japan) and American religions (Religions of America, Native American religions, African American religions). Students become more deeply aware of their own cultural and religious traditions by studying those of others, and will approach those other traditions with greater empathy and sensitivity to their complexity. The study of sacred texts enables students to learn how foundational scriptures are written, read, interpreted and canonized; students choose between courses on the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, or Asian sacred texts. “Theories in the Study of Religions” is a required course that familiarizes students with the theoretical tools used in the academic study of religion, while the Senior Seminar serves as a capstone experience that integrates theoretical and methodological issues and applies them to specific religious phenomena or to a theme that varies each year.

Religious Studies Minor

The minor in religious studies can be effectively combined with a complementary major in another field. For example, to combine the minor with history or political science allows for deeper insight into the profound historical connections between events and religious motivations, or between political ideologies and religious discourse. Students majoring in literature, art or philosophy learn to recognize the symbols and ideas arising from the classical religious traditions. Students in the social sciences, especially in psychology, sociology and anthropology, will find that the religious studies minor complements and focuses their major course work.

reading a Tibetan Buddhist sacred text