Religion

Robert G. Morrison, Department Chair
Lynn A. Brettler, Department Coordinator

Professors: John C. Holt (Asian Studies), Robert G. Morrison
Associate Professor: Elizabeth A. Pritchard
Assistant Professor: Todd Berzon†
Fellows: Anna Golovkova, Kerry M. Sonia

The Department of Religion offers students opportunities to study the major religions of the world, East and West, ancient and modern, from a variety of academic viewpoints and without sectarian bias.

There are three common entry points into the department:

  • First-year seminars: These introductory courses focus on the study of a specific aspect of religion and may draw on other fields of learning. These seminars include readings, discussions, presentations, and substantial writing assignments. Topics change from time to time and reflect emerging or debated issues in the study of religion.
  • 1000-level courses: For students desiring a broad overview of the academic study of religion, the department offers Religion 1101, Introduction to the Study of Religion, both semesters. This course often uses case studies from different religions to illustrate thematic questions in the academic study of religion. Religion 1150, sometimes offered in the spring, uses the setting of the modern Middle East to introduce students to religions such as Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
  • 2000-level courses: The bulk of the department’s offerings are at this level. These courses have no prerequisites and are an appropriate first course for a student desiring a more focused examination of a religion, book(s), or theme.

3000-level courses study in depth a topic of limited scope but major importance, such as one or two individuals, a movement, type, concept, problem, historical period, or theme. Topics change from time to time. Religion 3390, Theories about Religion, is required for majors and minors and presupposes previous course work in the department. Other advanced courses are open to any interested student.

Requirements for the Major in Religion

The major consists of nine courses.
Required courses:

  • Religion 1101, Introduction to the Study of Religion
  • Religion 3390, Theories about Religion
  • one intermediate course (2000–2999) from each of the following areas:
    • Asian religions
    • Bible and comparative studies
    • Christianity and gender
    • Islam and post-biblical Judaism
  • one additional advanced course (3000–3999)
  • two elective courses, one of which may be a first-year seminar (1000–1049)

Requirements for the Minor in Religion

A minor consists of five courses.
Required courses:

  • Religion 1101
  • Religion 3390
  • three courses at the intermediate level (2000–2969), at least one of which must be in Western religions and cultures, and one in Asian religions and cultures

Additional Information

  • No more than one first-year seminar may be counted toward the major.
  • Typically, up to three courses taken at another college or university may count toward the major with departmental approval.
  • Courses that count toward the major or minor must be taken for regular letter grades (not Credit/D/Fail).
  • In order to enroll in Religion 3390, a major normally is expected to have taken four of the nine required courses.
  • Each religion course required for the major or minor must be passed with a grade of C-.

Honors in Religion

Students contemplating honors candidacy should possess a record of distinction in departmental courses, including those that support the project, a clearly articulated and well-focused research proposal, and a high measure of motivations and scholarly maturity. At the start of the fall semester of their senior year, honors candidates enroll in an advanced independent study with a faculty member who has agreed to supervise the project. If the proposal, due toward the end of the fall semester, is accepted, the student goes on to enroll in an advanced independent study for the spring semester in order to complete the project.

(Department/Program website)