The Department of Religion and Judaic Studies offers courses in religious traditions, theories, and methods in the study of religion, sacred texts, and contemporary issues, including courses with a sustainability/environmental focus. Students also have opportunities to study religion abroad in the Dickinson Program in India and our two partner programs in Israel.
Courses that explore these areas include those that examine:
1. The traditions of Asia and the West (particularly Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam).
2. Theories and methodologies in the study of religion, including comparative, sociological, and psychological approaches.
3. The historical and literary analysis of sacred texts, including the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and Dead Sea Scrolls
4. Religion and contemporary issues, such as gender, violence/nonviolence, secularism, spirituality, and sustainability.
Introductory courses appropriate for prospective majors
Any introductory 100 level course is appropriate for the major, but Religion 101: What is Religion? is strongly recommended as the gateway to the major.
100 level courses are introductory courses intended for all students. These courses focus on the historical and cultural contexts of traditions or cultural issues. They are comparative courses.
200 level courses tend to be topics courses; the focus is on analysis of texts and themes in a comparative and historical context.
Our comparative courses and 300 level courses are seminars with an emphasis on writing and discussion. The emphasis is on constructive application of theories and methods to relevant topics.
Introductory courses that fulfill distribution requirements
Any course offered by the department.
Any courses concerned with Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, East Asian religions, or Spiritual Dimensions of Healing.
Courses such as Religion and Modern Culture and Jews and Judaism in the U.S.
Writing Intensive course:
Religion 390: Interpreting Religion, required for the major AND MINOR.
For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: Religion.
Suggested curricular flow through the major
The Religion major may be completed in a variety of ways. While there are several core courses that develop foundational knowledge in key areas, the flexible curriculum gives you the freedom to focus on the area of study you find most compelling.
The following suggested program is just one example of how a student with a special interest in Asian religion might fulfill the major requirements over four years.
For information regarding the suggested guidelines, please feel free to contact a Religion faculty member.
Seniors complete a capstone writing project as part of RELG 490, the Senior Seminar. A student interested in pursuing departmental honors may choose to do a year-long independent project under the direction of a member of the faculty.
Opportunities for off-campus study
Majors are strongly encouraged to study abroad, but study abroad is not a requirement. Students should consult with the Chair of the Religion Department, Andrea Lieber, and with the Executive Director of the Center for Global Study and Engagement, Michael Monahan.