Religion–Political Science

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the Interdisciplinary Religion-Political Science major, a student will have demonstrated the ability to engage with a broad range of topics in Religion and Political Science, the ability to complete a sustained research project in the field, and the ability to present their work in writing and in discussion. Majors will be able to:

  1. Engage serious scholarly materials in religion and political science conceptually, theoretically, and methodologically:
    • Identify the problem an article addresses
    • Identify the contribution an article seeks to make
    • Identify the kinds of methodologies an article employs
    • Identify the discourse within religious studies or political science to which an article responding
  2. Execute and defend a significant independent research project that links political science and religion:
    • Formulate an interesting research question and articulate its importance
    • Develop and pursue a methodology appropriate to a research question
    • Develop and engage an appropriate bibliography and literature review
    • Collect relevant data in the case of empirical work
    • Recognize the limitations of the project’s argument
    • Contribute to the larger field
    • Independently investigate the topic with the support of an advisor
    • Respond appropriately to feedback 
  3. Analyze religious subject matter with appropriate respect for the material and the scholar’s place in relation to it
  4. Communicate work done
    • Write a clear and coherent document that is substantially longer than a traditional term paper or project and formatted in a style appropriate to the approach
    • Orally present, discuss and defend work done

The primary assessment tool for learning in the major at Reed and the level of student achievement in the major area is the senior thesis. The junior qualifying examination, which will be devised for each student by the religion-political science interdisciplinary committee, and which assesses a student's readiness for thesis, provides a second assessment tool.