Guide to Academic Planning 2017-2018

Religious Studies Major

Religious Studies Major

Ten courses, five of which must be 300-level or above, distributed as follows:

  • RELI 110 The World’s Religions: An Introduction
  • Four elective courses in Religious Studies demonstrating learning beyond the area of concentration.
  • RELI 395 Approaching the Study of Religion
  • RELI 497 Senior Colloquium is the Senior capstone experience
  • A concentration of three courses, selected in consultation with the student’s departmental advisor, that achieves a deep coverage of a particular religious tradition or set of related issues in the study of religion. 

The concentration should cohere in such a way as to define and inform the student’s particular interest in a tradition, a topic or a method of studying religion. The concentration must include at least two courses in Religious Studies (one of which must be at the 300 level or above) and may include one course in other related disciplines or interdisciplinary programs (e.g., anthropology, art history, classics, English, gender studies, history, philosophy, politics, sociology). The concentration must be finalized in writing by the end of the year prior to graduation and must be approved at that time by both the student’sdepartmental advisor and the chair of the department. Once the requirements for the concentration have been agreed upon in this manner, no changes may be made to the concentration unless, in extraordinary circumstances, such changes are approved by both the student’s advisor and the department chair, in consultation with the department as a whole.  

In addition to the courses, an Odyssey project in any category demonstrating engaged learning applicable to the student’s concentration in the field of religion, selected in consultation with the student’s departmental advisor.

The chair of the department, in consultation with the student’s advisor, will determine how transfer credits and courses taken during study abroad will be applied toward departmental requirements.

Philosophy and Religious Studies Major

10 courses distributed as follows:

  • no fewer than four courses in philosophy; 2 must be chosen from
    • PHIL 285 Ancient Philosophy
    • PHIL 302 Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Philosophy
    • PHIL 306 Nineteenth Century Philosophy
  • No fewer than four courses in religious studies
    • PHIL 370/RELI 370 Philosophy of Religion (may be counted towards the four courses in either philosophy or religious studies.)
  • PHIL 487 Senior Major Seminar or PHIL 497 Senior Thesis or RELI 497 Senior Colloquium

only 2 of the ten courses may be at the 100-level

Philosophy and Religious Studies majors cannot major or minor in either philosophy or religious studies.

* RELI 497 Senior Colloquium requires RELI 395 Approaching the Study of Religion

Religious Studies Minor

The minor in religious studies consists of six (6) religion courses including two (2) at the 300- 400-level.

Course Planning

Religious Studies Major

First Year

  • All 100 or 200-level courses

Second Year

  • All of the courses listed above
  • All 200- and 300-level courses
  • 400-level courses only upon consultation with the professors involved. (Some  previous work in Religious Studies should ordinarily be taken prior to enrolling in a 400-level course, although exceptional cases are easy to envision.)

Third and Fourth Years

  • All courses except RELI 497 Senior Colloquium, which is for religious studies or philosophy and religious studies majors only.
  • Students intending to major in Religious Studies should take RELI 395 Theories and Research in Religion in the fall semester of their Junior year. In exceptional circumstances (such as for those planning to study abroad), it is possible to take this course during the fall of either the Senior or the Sophomore year.


In consultation with their advisors, Philosophy and Religious Studies majors should work out a two or three year plan according to their area of emphasis. It is perhaps advisable to take at least one of the two required courses from the history of philosophy sequence during one’s sophomore year and to take PHIL 370 (or RELI 370) during one’s junior year. Of course, PHIL 497 or RELI 497 will be taken the senior year. The remaining six electives, four of which must be 200-level or above, may be spread over the years according to the student’s needs and interests. Remember, however, that one’s total set of ten classes for the major must include at least four from each department.

Senior Capstone Experience

The Senior Capstone Experience for the religious studies major centers upon the successful completion of RELI 497.