Feb 29, 2024
The comparative religion major is a path of inquiry into the nature of religion, its pervasive role in human life, and its contribution to understanding human existence. The program is comparative in nature but complemented by a philosophical component focused on religion and unique electives designed to accommodate student interests. Students may choose either a 50- or 60-credit major. In order to graduate, a student who completes the 50-credit major must also have a minor or second major in another discipline. A student who completes the 60-credit major is not required to have a minor or second major.
Departmental Honors in Philosophy and Religious Studies
The honors program in philosophy and religious studies recognizes the exceptional scholarship of qualified students in either the philosophy or comparative religion major. To qualify, students must have completed at least 25 credits in their major and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 overall and 3.5 in their major coursework.
In addition to their normal coursework, students seeking departmental honors must take one additional upper division course in their program, complete a superior thesis (RELS 497: Honors Thesis) to be evaluated by a second reader from the departmental faculty, and make an oral presentation. Students graduating with honors will have that accomplishment recorded on their transcripts.
Program Learner Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:
- identify and describe the major beliefs and practices within diverse religious traditions, including historically under-represented religions in academic religious studies;
- identify and critically evaluate diverse methodologies within the academic field of religious studies;
- contrast and illustrate the differences in objective and subjective approaches to the study and teaching of religious studies;
- write thesis-driven or research papers, in some cases including a culminating thesis project, in which the student conducts independent research and incorporates that work into original papers;
- examine multiple approaches to ethics and recognize their application - for example, by examining the implications of those approaches for specific moral problems, comparing different positions, or identifying their historical and cultural context; and
- engage with perplexing and confounding problems in religion through pluralistic thought.
Required Courses Credits: 35
Department-approved Electives Credits: 15-25
Any upper-division RELS courses. Select upper-division PHIL courses or upper-division courses related to religion in other disciplines by approval. Small majors (50 credits) require 15 elective credits; large majors (60) require 25 elective credits.
Small Plan Major (fewer than 60 credits)
This major requires the completion of a minor or second major. Please consult with the departments about any specific restrictions regarding overlap between plans.