- 16 credits (4 credits from each mode of inquiry), as identified in the catalog (interpretive studies, historical studies, comparative studies and constructive studies).
- 12 additional elective credits from religion (REL) courses*
*Notes: Elective credits can include REL 211 – Biblical Hebrew I and REL 212 – Biblical Hebrew II; 4 credits in REL 390 – Cooperative Education or 4 credits in REL 490 – Practicum can be counted in elective credits.
The requirements for the religion major are flexible enough to allow students to tailor their studies in religion around their specific interests and passions. Religion majors (and minors) are encouraged to pursue an emphasis that develops their particular interests and passions and prepares them for their vocational aspirations. A list of possible emphases through which religion majors and minors can focus their study of religion include:
Religion, Ecology, and the Body
Do animals, trees, and rivers have souls? Are religions responsible for climate change? Is sexual desire sinful? What is a “good body?” These are the kinds of questions students pursuing the Religion, Ecology, and Body Emphasis can explore through their study of humans as embodied beings who depend on the eco-systems they are a part of for sustenance and survival. This emphasis develops students’ skills for thinking critically about the concrete effects of religious and cultural beliefs, systems, and values on diverse human bodies and on the environment, and for envisioning the flourishing of all bodies, human and non-human alike. For more information, please contact Dr. Koster or Dr. Lelwica.
Sacred Texts and Contexts
Where in the world do these sacred texts come from and how do we make sense of them? The Sacred Texts and Contexts Emphasis seeks to answer these and other vital questions. Students pursuing this emphasis can explore the sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam from three angles: 1) the diverse historical, cultural, linguistic, and religious contexts out of which these sacred texts emerged; 2) the multifaceted perspectives on life, purpose, God, and the world these literary works contain; 3) varied interpreters of these texts of differing economic and social circumstances, racial, ethnic, sexual and community identities, and historical periods. For more information, please contact Dr. Creech or Dr. Solvang.
Religion, Ethics, and Social Justice
Many of the world’s great social justice leaders have rooted their activism in their spiritual convictions, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day, Mahatma Gandhi, Wangari Maathai, and the Dalai Lama. Religion has inspired some of the most important forms of resistance to oppression by individuals and communities. Tragically, religion has also perpetuated grave injustices in matters related to economics, gender, race, and sexuality. The Religion, Ethics and Social Justice Emphasis explores religion’s roles as perpetrator and resister in the struggles for justice. For more information, please contact Dr. Creech, Dr. Pranger, or Dr. Solvang.
Religion and Global Diversity
How do cultural differences and social divisions affect how religious people in different parts of the world live out their faith? The Religion and Global Diversity Emphasis invites students to closely examine religious traditions, practices, and cultures around the globe, and to explore the relationships between and within different religions (including world Christianity). Students pursuing this emphasis will be challenged to develop interreligious and intercultural competency and sensitivity. They will also develop skills for contextualizing, historicizing, and questioning their own worldviews and assumptions, thereby clarifying their own views in conversation with the perspectives of others. For more information, please contact Dr. Mocko or Dr. Pranger.
Christian Histories and Traditions
The Christian Histories and Traditions Emphasis looks at the fascinating traditions and ideas of the past. Have you ever wondered how Christianity came to look the way it does? Students interested in questions like, “What is the nature of God?,” “Why is there suffering?,” “How do I live a good life?,” and “What is evil?” will enjoy the Christian Histories and Traditions Emphasis. Through this emphasis, students will study ideas about religious history, spirituality, biography, community, and conflict, as well as the influence of religion in past societies. For more information, please contact Dr. Hammerling or Dr. Koster.
The minor in religion can be used for different educational goals, including enhancement of a course of study in another discipline and/or personal enrichment.
The requirements for a minor in religion are 20 credits. REL 200 and REL 300 J courses are counted in the five-course requirements for a minor. REL 211 – Biblical Hebrew I and REL 212 – Biblical Hebrew II may also be counted for a minor as can FL 201 – Faith and Leadership. Inquiry courses taught by a religion professor can also be petitioned to count toward a religion minor. Students may select any religion courses beyond those meeting the Core religion requirement, except for REL 390 – Cooperative Education and REL 490 – Practicum. Religion minors are encouraged to work with a religion faculty advisor to choose courses that support an emphasis (see above) based on their particular interests. Students should normally declare a minor by the end of the junior year. Students may apply to transfer the equivalent of two courses and no more than 8 credits from outside the college.