The academic study of religion is an integral part of the liberal arts. The aims of the curriculum are two: to introduce students to the various religious traditions of the world—Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, for example—and to acquaint students with a variety of recognized methodologies employed in the study of religion—philosophical, social scientific, and historical. The department’s courses serve both to develop in students the capacity for critical assessment of religious thought and action, and to provide an adequate grounding for independent, analytic inquiry into the history of religious traditions.
The curriculum of the department reflects the staff’s commitment to a diversity of approaches in religious studies. Majors in religion are expected to be familiar with this methodological and theoretical spectrum, and to concentrate upon particular approaches in their research.
While the study of religion is an independent academic field, the department encourages the pursuit of interdisciplinary work in philosophy, classics, literature, history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and other fields.Besides providing the foundation for a liberal education, a major in religion can prepare students for advanced study in the field, for the ministry, or for other vocations.