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Sample Curriculum

Consult the Course Catalog for specific major requirements.

Undergraduate Studies

Majoring in Religion

The major requires 30 credits of appropriate work.  Up to 6 credits may be earned in individualized work within the Department of Religion (e.g., independent study, honors thesis) and up to 6 credits may be earned in advisor-approved courses outside the Department of Religion.  At least 18 credits must be taken at the 300-level or above.

Because of the diverse and interdisciplinary nature of the study of religion, students should select at least one primary and one secondary area of concentration in consultation with the  Director of Undergraduate Studies.  Students must take at least 9 credits in their primary area of concentration and at least 6 credits in their area of secondary concentration. 

Students may design their own concentration or concentrations in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies or choose from the concentrations listed below.

Jewish Thought and Experience concentration


  • REL 114 - The Bible
  • REL 131 - Great Jewish Writers
  • REL 135 - Judaism
  • REL 215 - The Hebrew Bible
  • REL 231 - Jewish Literature
  • REL 316 - The Torah/Pentateuch as a Scripture
  • REL 331 - European and American Jewish Literature
  • REL 333 - Yiddish Literature in Translation
  • REL 335 - Israeli Literature and Culture
  • REL 338 - American Judaism
  • REL 342 - Religion and Politics in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
  • REL 435 - Modern Jewish Thought

Christian Thought and Experience concentration


  • REL 104 - Religion and Science
  • REL 114 - The Bible
  • REL 156 - Christianity
  • REL 206 - Greco-Roman Religion
  • REL 217 - The New Testament
  • REL 292 - The Human and Divine in Christian and Muslim Philosophy
  • REL 309 - Early Christianities
  • REL 310 - Medieval Christianities
  • REL 316 - The Torah/Pentateuch as a Scripture
  • REL 461 - Enlightenment: Between European West and Islam

Islamic Thought and Experience concentration


  • REL 165 - Discovering Islam
  • REL 261 - Faith and Reason in Islamic Thought and Civilization
  • REL 283 - India's Religious Worlds
  • REL 292 - The Human and Divine in Christian and Muslim Philosophy
  • REL 342 - Religion and Politics in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
  • REL 362 - Islamism and Islamist Movements Today
  • REL 364 - Enchanting Words: Muslim Poets, Singers and Storytellers
  • REL 367 - God and Beauty in Islamic Art
  • REL 461 - Enlightenment: Between European West and Islam
  • REL 465 - Beyond the Veil: Gender Politics in Islam

Asian Religious Thought and Experience concentration


  • REL 165 - Discovering Islam
  • REL 185 - Hinduism
  • REL 186 - Buddhism
  • REL 244 - Indigenous Religions
  • REL 283 - India's Religious Worlds
  • REL 384 - Goddesses, Women and Power in Hinduism
  • REL 385 - Religion in Chinese Society
  • REL 487 - Global Hinduism

Localized and Indigenous Religions concentration


  • REL 142 - Native American Religion
  • REL 206 - Greco-Roman Religion
  • REL 244 - Indigenous Religions
  • REL 283 - India's Religious Worlds
  • REL 301 - Ancient Near Eastern Religions and Cultures
  • REL 385 - Religion in Chinese Society

Religion in the American Experience concentration


  • REL 223 - Faith, Doubt, and Fanaticism
  • REL 242 - Religious Issues in American Life
  • REL 331 - European and American Jewish Literature
  • REL 338 - American Judaism
  • REL 341 - Women, Abolition, and Religion in 19th Century America
  • REL 343 - American Religions and the News Media
  • REL 345 - African American Religious History
  • REL 347 - Religion and the Conquest of America
  • REL 348 - Religion and American Consumerism
  • REL 449 - Religious Dimensions of Whiteness

Religion in Society concentration


  • REL 101 - Religions of the World
  • REL 102 - Religion Today in a Globalizing World
  • REL 103 - Religion and Sports
  • REL 104 - Religion and Science
  • REL 165 - Discovering Islam
  • REL 221 - Morality and Community
  • REL 227 - Gods: A Cross-Cultural Gallery
  • REL 242 - Religious Issues in American Life
  • REL 252 - Ethical Decision Making
  • REL 283 - India's Religious Worlds
  • REL 326 - Religion and Film
  • REL 341 - Women, Abolition, and Religion in 19th Century America
  • REL 342 - Religion and Politics in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
  • REL 345 - African American Religious History
  • REL 347 - Religion and the Conquest of America
  • REL 348 - Religion and American Consumerism
  • REL 359 - Stem Cells and Society
  • REL 385 - Religion in Chinese Society
  • REL 465 - Beyond the Veil: Gender Politics in Islam
  • REL 487 - Global Hinduism

Religious Thought and Philosophical Inquiry concentration


  • REL 106 - What Is Belief?
  • REL 125 - Religion and Sexuality
  • REL 126 - Ecstasy, Transgression, Religion
  • REL 191 - Religion, Meaning and Knowledge
  • REL 261 - Faith and Reason in Islamic Thought and Civilization
  • REL 292 - The Human and Divine in Christian and Muslim Philosophy
  • REL 354 - Kierkegaard and Nietzsche
  • REL 357 - Queerly Religious
  • REL 371 - God in Political Theory
  • REL 393 - Extreme Religion
  • REL 394 - Sources of the Self: Finding the “I” in Religion & Philosophy
  • REL 396 - Mysticism
  • REL 435 - Modern Jewish Thought
  • REL 461 - Enlightenment: Between European West and Islam

Morality and Ethics concentration


  • REL 221 - Morality and Community
  • REL 252 - Ethical Decision Making
  • REL 255 - Depth Psychology and Religious Ethics
  • REL 359 - Stem Cells and Society
  • REL 371 - God in Political Theory
  • REL 393 - Extreme Religion
  • REL 394 - Sources of the Self: Finding the “I” in Religion & Philosophy
  • REL 551 - Ethics and the Health professions
  • REL 552 - Bioethics

Religion, Gender, and Sexuality concentration


  • REL 125 - Religion and Sexuality
  • REL 310 - Medieval Christianities
  • REL 326 - Religion and Film
  • REL 341 - Women, Abolition, and Religion in 19th Century America
  • REL 357 - Queerly Religious
  • REL 384 - Goddesses, Women and Power in Hinduism
  • REL 465 - Beyond the Veil: Gender Politics in Islam

Religion, Art, and Literature concentration


  • REL 123 - Religious Auto/Biography
  • REL 223 - Faith, Doubt, and Fanaticism
  • REL 227 - Gods: A Cross-Cultural Gallery
  • REL 235 - Travel Narratives and Pilgrimages
  • REL 324 - Religions and Storytelling
  • REL 326 - Religion and Film
  • REL 364 - Enchanting Words: Muslim Poets, Singers and Storytellers
  • REL 367 - God and Beauty in Islamic Art
  • REL 392 - Music and the Sacred
  • REL 595 - Religion, Art, and Aesthetics

Spirituality and Mysticism concentration


  • REL 126 - Ecstasy, Transgression, Religion
  • REL 261 - Faith and Reason in Islamic Thought and Civilization
  • REL 300 - Selected Topics Yoga?
  • REL 357 - Queerly Religious
  • REL 364 - Enchanting Words: Muslim Poets, Singers and Storytellers
  • REL 367 - God and Beauty in Islamic Art
  • REL 396 - Mysticism

Additional Information


Students who qualify may earn a BA degree in Religion “with distinction.” Qualifications and requirements for this special honor include:

• completion of the Religion major with a 3.5 GPA in program courses and a cumulative 3.4 GPA by the end of the senior year;

• study of at least one foreign language through the 201 (intermediate) level; and

• preparation for (REL 498 , 3 credits) and writing and defense of a senior thesis.

Students intending to pursue graduate study in religion are recommended to take at least one of their areas of concentration in Jewish Thought and Experience, Christian Thought and Experience, Islamic Thought and Experience, Asian Religious Thought and Experience, or Religion in the American Experience.

In certain cases, students may petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies to count courses listed under one concentration for a different concentration.  However, under no circumstances can students use the same course to count for two or more concentrations (i.e., students may not “double-count”).

Selected Topics courses (REL 100, 200, 300 or 400) and individual semesters of REL 320 (“Themes in the Study of Religion”) may count toward fulfilling requirements for one of the areas of concentration at the determination of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Graduate-level courses (numbered 600 and above), taken by undergraduate students at the permission of the instructor, may also count toward fulfilling requirements for one of the areas of concentration above at the determination of the course instructor. 

Both individualized work and outside courses may be approved to count for a student’s concentration requirements and/or the major requirement overall with the permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Minoring in Religion

Refer to the Course Catalog for Minor in Religion requirements.

Usual Requirements

Students take 18 credits of appropriate and approved work in keeping with the following conditions:

  • at least 12 credits in courses numbered 300 or above;
  • all credits will be taken in courses offered by the Department of Religion.

Students interested in majoring or minoring in religion should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies in 501 Hall of Languages, 443-3861.

Graduating with Distinction

Students who qualify may earn a BA degree in Religion "with distinction." Qualifications and requirements for this special honor include:

  • completion of the Religion major with a 3.5 GPA in program courses and a cumulative 3.4 GPA by the end of the senior year;
  • study of at least one foreign language through the 201 (intermediate) level; and 
  • preparation for (REL 498, or, for Honors students REL 499, 3 credits) and writing and defense of a senior thesis.