The Religion Major and Minor

The Religion Major

To major in religion is to ask questions about the many ways women and men have sought to make sense of their lives. Examining religious traditions—their notable leaders, their valued texts, and the social behaviors designed to embody their visions—is a central way to study the profound questions that direct so many areas of human endeavor. The study of religion is an excellent way of organizing a liberal arts education so that diverse cultures, artistic expressions, political forces, and gender assignments can be questioned and set in historical and changing contexts.

Our courses focus on sacred texts and interpretive traditions; religious thought; and religion in history and society. The study of religion is inherently comparative, international, and interdisciplinary in approach, embracing a range of methodologies from the humanities and social sciences.

Requirements for the Major

A minimum of 32 credits:

  • 20 credits in religion at any level      
  • 12 additional credits in religion at the 300 level

    (Only one 395 course will count toward the 300-level requirement.)

  • Majors must ensure their course selections include at least three different religious traditions such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, or Judaism. This requirement may be fulfilled by courses at any level and by courses that take a comparative approach.
  • The Religion Major does not have a prescribed sequence of required courses. Students choose their course of study in close consultation with their advisors.
  • Independent work is encouraged and, if approved by the advisor, such work may constitute partial fulfillment of the above requirements.
  • Courses with a substantial focus on a religious tradition or a religious theme offered by other departments may be counted towards the Religion major with approval of the advisor and department chair. Examples include:

IR-333   Just war and Jihad

     Please note this list is not comprehensive.

  • One extra-departmental course on relevant methodological or theoretical approaches may be counted towards the major with permission of the advisor. Such a course may be of particular value for students planning to do independent research. Examples include:

          ANTHR-275    Research Methods in Cultural Anthro

          SOCI-225        Survey Research/Data Analysis

          GNDST-201    Methods/Practices in Feminist Scholarship

Please note that such courses may have prerequisites set by their department or require the permission of the instructor.


Requirements for the Minor

A minimum of 20 credits:

  • 16 credits in religion at any level                       
  • At least one additional course in religion at the 300 level
  • At least three of the courses should be taken in the Mount Holyoke Department of Religion.