Requirements

Religion Major

The major consists of nine courses.

Required Courses
REL 1101Introduction to the Study of Religion1
REL 3390Theories about Religion1
Select one course on texts and traditions in each of the following four geographic areas. Note: the courses listed are examples of recently offered classes that can fulfill each area requirement but do not represent a comprehensive list. a,b,c,d4
Middle East and North Africa1
REL 1150
Introduction to the Religions of the Middle East
REL 2207
Modern Judaism
REL 2208
Islam
REL 2232
Approaches to the Qur'an
REL 2237
Judaism Under Islam
South and Southeast Asia1
REL 1188
Epics Across Oceans
REL 2219
Religion and Fiction in Modern South Asia
REL 2220
Hindu Literatures
REL 2221
Religious Cultures of India
REL 2222
Early Buddhism
REL 2223
Mahayana Buddhism
REL 2745
The Tigress' Snare: Gender, Yoga, and Monasticism in South and Southeast Asia
Ancient Mediterranean1
REL 2215
The Hebrew Bible in Its World
REL 2216
The New Testament in Its World
REL 2239
Judaism in the Age of Empires
Modern Europe and North America1
REL 2201
Black Women, Politics, Music, and the Divine
REL 2251
Christianity
REL 2252
Marxism and Religion
REL 2522
Buddhism in America
REL 2540
The History of American Christianity
REL 2544
Religion in the United States South
Select two courses on thematic approaches a,b2
REL 2204
Science, Magic, and Religion
REL 2214
A History of Anti-Semitism
REL 2229
Religion on the Move: Religion, Migration, and Globalization
REL 2230
Human Sacrifice
REL 2235
Gender and Sexuality in Early Christianity
REL 2280
Goddesses, Gurus, and Rulers: Gender and Power in Indian Religions
REL 2288
Religion and Politics in South Asia
REL 2500
New Religious Movements in the United States
REL 2520
Popular Religion in the Americas
REL 2534
Race and Religion in American Religious History
REL 3305
Religion and Emotion
REL 3325
Deadly Words: Language and Power in the Religions of Antiquity
REL 3333
Islam and Science
Select an elective course in religion at any level1

Religion Minor

A minor consists of five courses.

Required Courses
REL 1101Introduction to the Study of Religion1
REL 3390Theories about Religion1
Select three courses on texts and traditions in three of these four geographic areas b3
Middle East and North Africa
REL 1150
Introduction to the Religions of the Middle East
REL 2207
Modern Judaism
REL 2208
Islam
REL 2232
Approaches to the Qur'an
REL 2237
Judaism Under Islam
South and Southeast Asia
REL 1188
Epics Across Oceans
REL 2219
Religion and Fiction in Modern South Asia
REL 2220
Hindu Literatures
REL 2221
Religious Cultures of India
REL 2222
Early Buddhism
REL 2223
Mahayana Buddhism
REL 2745
The Tigress' Snare: Gender, Yoga, and Monasticism in South and Southeast Asia
Ancient Mediterranean
REL 2215
The Hebrew Bible in Its World
REL 2216
The New Testament in Its World
REL 2239
Judaism in the Age of Empires
Modern Europe and North America
REL 2201
Black Women, Politics, Music, and the Divine
REL 2251
Christianity
REL 2252
Marxism and Religion
REL 2522
Buddhism in America
REL 2540
The History of American Christianity
REL 2544
Religion in the United States South

Additional Information and Department Policies

  • No more than one first-year writing 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. One credit taken at another college or university may count toward the minor with departmental approval. 
  • With departmental approval, an independent study (intermediate, advanced, or honors) can be used to satisfy the elective course requirement for the major.
  • In order to enroll in REL 3390 Theories about Religion, a major normally is expected to have taken four of the nine required courses.
  • Courses that count toward the major or minor must be taken for regular letter grades (not Credit/D/Fail).
  • Each religion course required for the major or minor must be passed with a grade of C- or higher.
  • Majors and minors may not double-count courses with another department or program.

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 motivation and scholarly maturity. At the start of the first semester of their senior year, honors candidates enroll in REL 4050 with a faculty member who has agreed to supervise the project. If the proposal, due toward the end of the first semester, is accepted, the student goes on to enroll in REL 4051 for the second semester in order to complete the project.

Information for Incoming Students

Because the Religion Department at Bowdoin does not require students to take REL 1101 Introduction to the Study of Religion in order to enroll in its intermediate or upper level courses, there is more than one entry point into the department's curriculum.

REL 1101 Introduction to the Study of Religion, is comparative in approach and lays out the theoretical contours of the field. Since it is an excellent preparation for intermediate and advanced level courses in the department, potential majors should enroll in it as early as possible. Students are introduced to a theme or topic in at least two religious traditions and to various methodologies and specialized vocabularies employed in the field.

The Religion Department has begun to offer an additional 1000-level course every year. This year, that course will be in the spring semester. Finally, first-year students are welcome to enroll in our 2000-level courses. The Religion Department at Bowdoin is one of the few departments that regularly offers courses at the 2000-level in which students closely examine a particular topic or area (e.g. Christianity, Buddhism, Bible, Islam) in any one semester, and many students do begin with a 2000-level course.


This is an excerpt from the official Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook. View the Catalogue