Please note: The information displayed here is current as of Friday, May 24, 2019, but the official Course Catalog should be used for all official planning.

2014-2015 Course Catalog


This catalog was created on Friday, May 24, 2019.

Religious Studies

Courses in Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam form the core offerings in the department. Students examine cultural and social expressions of those religions (sacred texts, rituals, instances of ecstasy and enthusiasm, reflective writings, institutions) at a particular period, over time, and in relation to broader historical, philosophical, and ethical issues. In addition, a number of elective courses are offered that focus on a particular theme, issue, or tradition not covered in the core offerings. Such courses include Gandhi, Rationality and Religious Beliefs and Hebrew Prophets and Religion of Ancient Egypt.

Required for the religious studies major

The major in religious studies comprises 9 courses.

  • RLST 100: Introduction to Religious Studies and RLST 600: Seminar on Methodology are taken by all majors.
  • Four courses from the core offerings must be taken, two in one tradition, and two in a second tradition.
  • Core courses in Christianity: 260, 270, 400, 500, 560. [Note: Either 260 or 270 must be taken by majors and minors choosing Christianity as one of their core traditions]
  • Core courses in Islam: 240, 265, 280, 335, 550, 580.
  • Core courses in Buddhism: 215, 216, 420, 510.
  • Participation in the department colloquium as part of the Senior Experience

The remaining three courses required for the major are completed through elective courses and/or additional course work in the core offerings.
Although tutorials and independent studies are not required, advanced majors are encouraged to discuss with their advisor the possibility of doing a tutorial or independent study in an area of particular interest to them.

Required for the religious studies minor

The minor in religious studies is intended to enable students in related fields to concentrate on the religious tradition connected to their area of interest. Requiring both the introductory course and at least one course outside that tradition ensures that religious studies minors will also develop some expertise in the overall study of religion. The minor requires a minimum of five courses (30 units), to include:

  1. RLST 100: Introduction to Religious Studies
  2. Two courses (12 units) in one of the following areas: Buddhism, Islam, Christianity
  3. A seminar-level course (6 units)
  4. One additional six-unit course outside the chosen area
  5. A C average in the minor is also required.

Graduate School

Students considering graduate work in religious studies should note that completion of a graduate degree typically requires demonstrated proficiency in at least one modern foreign language (normally French or German) as well as one or more additional languages (depending on the area of concentration). College work leading toward graduate study should be planned with these requirements in mind.

Senior Experience in Religious Studies

The Department of Religious Studies’ Senior Experience is a one-term senior seminar (usually taught in the spring term) that examines approaches to the study of religion selected from a school of thought or a more eclectic group of authors. Additionally, students are required to participate in an informal departmental colloquium, in which student work is presented and discussed by majors, minors, and faculty. Students pursuing double majors, double degrees, and education certification are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisors and relevant departments to plan and negotiate their overall Senior Experience as early as possible, especially if they are interested in pursuing an interdisciplinary capstone that integrates their interests in both majors, or combines their student teaching with a project in their major.