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Religion Major, B.A.

The religion major acquaints students with the world’s major religious traditions and helps students develop a critical understanding of the issues involved in the academic study of religion.

The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies recognizes that the fields of philosophy and religious studies, although distinct, nonetheless share many concerns and approaches, and they often address the same issues. Consequently, departmental faculty strongly recommend that students with religion majors and minors avail themselves of opportunities to enroll in philosophy courses.

Requirements for the Major 

The major requires a minimum of 30 credits in religion at the 200 level or above, and must include the following religion courses:
  • REL 200 What Is “Religion”?
  • REL 412 Myth, Symbol and Ritual
  • PLRL 470 Seminar
At least one of the following courses:
  • REL 203 Old Testament
  • REL 204 New Testament
  • REL 212 The Christian Heritage
At least one of the following courses:
  • REL 303 Judaism
  • AFRL 311 Black Theology
  • PSRL 310 Politics of the Black Church
  • REL 314 Western Spirituality: Contemporary Issues
  • HNRL 320 Liberation Theologies
At least two of the following courses:
  • REL 304 Islam
  • PLRL 301 Indian Thought
  • PLRL 306 Chinese Thought
Three electives, at least one of which must be a REL course at the 300 level.

In addition to any religion courses, HIST 406 Religion, Family and Society in Reformation Europe; PHIL 307 History of Philosophy: The Ancient World to the Renaissance; PHIL 308 History of Philosophy: The Early Modern Era to the 20th Century; and PHIL 314 The American Intellectual Tradition may count as electives in the 30-credit minimum required for the religion major.


The department recommends that students who intend to pursue graduate studies in the Judeo-Christian tradition satisfy the requirements for the religion major by taking electives in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

The department recommends that students who intend to pursue graduate studies in world religions take REL 303, REL 304, PLRL 301, PLRL 306 and REL 375 (Independent Study) either in satisfying the above requirements or among their electives.

Department faculty urge students who intend to pursue a higher degree in religious studies to take more than the minimum number of hours required to complete an undergraduate major.

Although the courses listed below may not be counted as electives within the religion major or minor, the religion faculty commend them to students as worthy complements to their religion courses:
  • ART 201 Meaning and Method in Art
  • ART 220 History of Art I
  • ART 221 History of Art II
  • ART 308 Myths, Saints, and Symbols
  • ART 351 Medieval Art
  • CL 202 Mythology
  • CL 302 Classical Mythology
  • HON 308 Dante and Giotto