Religious Studies

Requirements & Courses

  • Major Requirements

    Thirty-six credits which must include:

    1. REL-100

    2. REL-205 or 305; 217 or 317; and 219 or 319 (200 level recommended for first-years and sophomores; 300 level recommended for juniors and seniors)

    3. REL 400

    4. REL 500

    5. Twelve additional credits in REL to be determined by student and academic advisor.

    Because Religious Studies is an inherently interdisciplinary field, majors are strongly encouraged to consider adding a minor or major in another department, in order to gain expertise in a particular method or discipline.

  • Minor Requirements

    Twenty-four credits which must include:

    1. REL-100 and 400

    2. Remaining program of study will be constructed on an individual basis in consultation with members of the Department.

  • Four credits from REL, with the exception of practicum or independent study courses, count towards the Distributive Requirements in the Humanities.

Courses

  • REL
    100
    .
    Introduction to World Religions
    4 credits
    An introduction to the histories, major figures, sacred texts and belief systems of selected “world religions” such as Hinduism, Confucianism, Daoism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and/or newer religious movements such as Mormonism or Baha’i Faith.
  • REL
    101
    .
    Introduction to the Hebrew Bible
    4 credits
    A literary and historical introduction to the books of the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible (what Christians call the Old Testament), including the Torah, prophets, wisdom literature, and other writings.
  • REL
    102
    .
    Introduction to the New Testament
    4 credits
    An introduction to the writings of the New Testament (including gospels, epistles, and apocalypse) as well as its first-century historical context and early canonical formation.
  • REL
    103
    .
    Vocation in Christian Traditions
    4 credits
    Examination of history of Christian thought and traditions from early church through modern period. Analysis and interpretation of selected documents.
  • REL
    130
    .
    Creation Stories & Religious Themes
    4 credits
    Examination of diverse creation myths from many cultures and the role cosmologies play in forming a culture’s worldview.
  • REL
    150
    .
    Good Life in the World’s Religions
    4 credits
    Examination of what constitutes a good life according to Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity.
  • REL
    180
    .
    Topics in Religion
    2-4 credits
    Special topics in religious studies. May be repeated for distinct topics.
  • REL
    181
    .
    Topics in Biblical Studies
    2-4 credits
    Special topics in biblical studies. May be repeated for distinct topics.
  • REL
    202
    .
    Women, Gender & Religion
    4 credits
    This course addresses questions about women in various religious traditions and examines the ways feminist theory interacts with the study and practice of religion.
  • REL
    205
    .
    Christianity
    4 credits
    An introduction to Christian thought and practice from the first century to the present. Course includes reading, discussion, and written analysis of a variety of primary and secondary texts; individual and group work; off-campus site visits; and/or academic service learning.
  • REL
    206
    .
    Reformation
    4 credits
    An examination of the theological debates surrounding the Protestant and Catholic Reformations of 16th century Europe. Includes reading, discussion, and written analysis of various primary and secondary texts.
  • REL
    207
    .
    Religion in America
    4 credits
    Examination of history of religious thought and traditions in America. Analysis and interpretation of selected documents. Non-traditional forms of religion also included.
  • REL
    210
    .
    Biblical Ethics & Community Service
    4 credits
    Examines the Biblical ethic underlying the religious understanding, worship and community service of Jewish and Christian religious communities. Opportunities to participate in community service agencies and programs.
  • REL
    215
    .
    Philosophy of Religion
    4 credits
    Examination of classical and contemporary issues in the philosophy of religion such as arguments for and against the existence of God, religious language, the relation between faith and reason, the evidential value of religious claims, and the relationship between morality and religion. (Cross-listed as PHL-215.)
  • REL
    216
    .
    Existentialism
    4 credits
    Examination, evaluation and discussion of selected subjects - the individual, freedom, responsibility, anxiety, hope, death, meaning of life - as treated in various essays, short stories and dramas. Focus on analysis and interpretation of texts. (Cross-listed as PHL-216.)
  • REL
    217
    .
    Asian Philosophy and Religion
    4 credits
    Exploration of the histories and roles of the most influential religious traditions and philosophical systems in Asia: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism. (Cross-listed as PHL-217.)
  • REL
    219
    .
    Judaism and Islam
    4 credits
    An examination of Jewish and Islamic thought and practice from the formative periods to the present, including contemporary debates. Includes reading, discussion, and written analysis of various primary and secondary texts.
  • REL
    220
    .
    Bible and Society
    4 credits
    Explores how the social context (ethnic, economic, class, etc.) of faith communities shapes the study, understanding, and use of scripture in worship and impacts the values and daily lives. Emphasis on lectionary readings shared by Protestants and Roman Catholics, and the Hebrew scriptures. (Cross listed as SOC-221.)
  • REL
    225
    .
    Religion, Business, and the Environment
    4 credits
    Business and ecological ethics in religious perspective.
  • REL
    230
    .
    Religion and Science
    4 credits
    Examination of the relationship between religion and science through both historical and contemporary issues.
  • REL
    240M
    .
    Jesus in Gospel & Film
    4 credits
    An introduction to the context, life, and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth through the media of film, primary texts (canonical and non-canonical gospels), and secondary texts in biblical criticism. Spring Term only.
  • REL
    250
    .
    Christian Ethics
    4 credits
    An exploration of current Christian debates on ethical issues such as human reproduction, homosexuality, pacifism and just war, racism, nationalism, genetic engineering, and/or economic and environmental justice. Prior knowledge of Christian traditions is helpful but not required.
  • REL
    280
    .
    Topics in Religion
    2-4 credits
    Special topics in Religious Studies.
  • REL
    280M
    .
    Topics in Religion
    2-4 credits
    Special topics in Religious Studies.
  • REL
    281
    .
    Topics in Biblical Studies
    2-4 credits
    Special topics in biblical studies.
  • REL
    299
    .
    Religious Studies Independent Study
    1 credit
    Individual study of a particular subject in religion.
  • REL
    302
    .
    Women, Gender & Religion
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: One Religious Studies course or Permission
    This course addresses questions about women in various religious traditions and examines the ways feminist theory interacts with the study and practice of religion.
  • REL
    305
    .
    Introduction to Christian Thought
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: One Religious Studies course or Permission
    An introduction to Christian thought and practice from the first century to the present. Course includes reading, discussion, and written analysis of a variety of primary and secondary texts; individual and group work; off-campus site visits; and/or academic service learning.
  • REL
    306
    .
    Reformation
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: One Religious Studies course or Permission
    An examination of the theological debates surrounding the Protestant and Catholic Reformations of 16th century Europe. Includes reading, discussion, and written analysis of various primary and secondary texts.
  • REL
    307
    .
    Religion in America
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: One Religious Studies course or Permission
    Examination of history of religious thought and traditions in America. Analysis and interpretation of selected documents. Non-traditional forms of religion also included.
  • REL
    315
    .
    Philosophy of Religion
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: One Religious Studies course or Permission
    Examination of classical and contemporary issues in the philosophy of religion such as arguments for and against the existence of God, religious language, the relation between faith and reason, the evidential value of religious claims, and the relationship between morality and religion. (Cross-listed as PHL-215.)
  • REL
    316
    .
    Existentialism
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: One Religious Studies course or Permission
    Examination, evaluation and discussion of selected subjects - the individual, freedom, responsibility, anxiety, hope, death, meaning of life - as treated in various essays, short stories and dramas. Focus on analysis and interpretation of texts.
  • REL
    317
    .
    Asian Philosophy and Religion
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: One Religious Studies course or Permission
    Exploration of the histories and roles of the most influential religious traditions and philosophical systems in Asia: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism.
  • REL
    319
    .
    Judaism and Islam
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: One Religious Studies course or Permission
    An examination of Jewish and Islamic thought and practice from the formative periods to the present, including contemporary debates. Includes reading, discussion, and written analysis of various primary and secondary texts.
  • REL
    330
    .
    Religion and Science
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: One Religious Studies course or Permission
    Examination of the relationship between religion and science through both historical and contemporary issues.
  • REL
    340M
    .
    Jesus in Gospel and Film
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: One Religious Studies course or Permission
    An introduction to the context, life, and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth through the media of film, primary texts (canonical and non-canonical gospels), and secondary texts in biblical criticism. Spring Term only.
  • REL
    350
    .
    Christian Ethics
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: One Religious Studies course or Permission
    An exploration of current Christian debates on ethical issues such as human reproduction, homosexuality, pacifism and just war, racism, nationalism, genetic engineering, and/or economic and environmental justice. Prior knowledge of Christian traditions is helpful but not required.
  • REL
    380
    .
    Topics in Religion
    2-4 credits
    Prerequisite: One Religious Studies course or Permission
    Selected topics in religious studies. May be taken more than once. Only two registrations count toward a Major in Religious Studies.
  • REL
    381
    .
    Topics in Biblical Studies
    2-4 credits
    Prerequisite: One Religious Studies course or Permission
    Topics may include Torah, Paul’s Letters, Prophetic and Wisdom Literature, Synoptic Gospels, and/or Biblical Ethics and Social Problems. May be repeated for credit for distinct topics.
  • REL
    385
    .
    Religious Studies Practicum
    1 credit
  • REL
    399
    .
    Religious Studies Independent Study
    2-6 credits
    Individual study of particular subject in religion. Intensive acquaintance with selected part of the literature through planned program of reading.
  • REL
    400
    .
    Theory & Method in Religious Studies
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: REL-100 or Junior Standing
    Upper level seminar addresses current issues in the field of religious studies (such as postmodernism, postcolonialism, disability studies, and/or queer theory), approaching these issues with a variety of disciplinary methods (such as historical, theological, phenomenological, ethical, and/or anthropological). Required for, but not limited to, majors and minors in religious studies.
  • REL
    500
    .
    Senior Thesis
    4 credits
    Individual research culminating in preparation of major paper and departmental oral examination. Requires instructor permission to register.