Religious Studies Major (B.A.)

A student wishing to major in religious studies must complete 30 credit hours (10 courses) in religious studies/theology: REL 200 Religious Perspectives (three credits), three REL/THE 300-level courses taken for major credit (nine credits); four REL/THE 300 or REL/THE 400 elective courses (12 credits); a REL/THE 400-level course (three credits); and the Religious Studies/Theology Colloquium (three credits). The student must also complete foreign language study through the intermediate level.

Upon declaring a religious studies major, students will receive a copy of the departmental learning goals. Students and their advisers will use these goals as a guide in selecting courses. Students will demonstrate progress toward the goals by compiling work drawn from each semester into a portfolio for review by members of the department. During the senior year, in the context of the religious studies colloquium, students will reflect on that progress in a concluding assessment essay.

Religious Studies Major

Note: for the religion requirement in the core, REL 200 Religious Perspectives is required, as well as three credits of REL/THE Colloquia .

Core Requirements 1
COR 100First Year Seminars: Transitions3
WRT 101Critical Writing3
PHL 110Introduction to Philosophy3
HST 110World Civilization I3
HST 111World Civilization II3
ENG 210Major Authors3
PHL 210Moral Philosophy3
EAC Encountering Another Culture/Language6
ENG 310Literature and Culture3
Social Science3
Natural Science3
IDS Interdisciplinary Studies3
COR 400Senior Studies: Transformations3
VPA Visual & Performing Arts1
DIV Diversity0
Major Requirements
REL 200Religious Perspectives3
Select three 300-level religious studies/theology courses taken for major (M) credit9
Select four additional religious studies/theology courses in consultation with advisor 212
REL/THE Colloquia3
REL/THE 400-level course 33
Major Support Requirements
Foreign Language 46
Free Electives33
Total Credit Hours121

Some Core requirements may be fulfilled by major requirements.


Theology core requirement counts as one elective.


This course is in addition to the COR 400 core requirement.


Chosen after consultation with the student's faculty advisor and department chair; intermediate level of competency required.

Note: REL/THE 300-level major credit courses are taught by full-time religious studies faculty and are marked differently than REL/THE 300-level core courses on semester course schedules. For example, REL 336M is a three-credit major course; REL 336 is a three-credit core course and does not carry major credit. However, majors must register for major credit courses at the beginning of the semester. To earn major credit, students must complete additional and/or alternate assignments designed by the instructor to help them progress toward meeting departmental learning goals. Such assignments might include assembling annotated bibliographies or writing bibliographic essays, reading and discussing theory and method in the academic study of religion, or playing a distinctive role within the class (opening/leading discussions or taking responsibility for presenting portions of the course material). These courses are also open to students minoring in religious studies or Catholic studies with the approval of the instructor and the department chairperson. Independent study courses may also be counted as major credit courses.

Departmental Honors in Religious Studies

In accord with 1988 guidelines approved by the academic dean, department chairs and program directors, declared religious studies majors with a 3.0 G.P.A. overall and a 3.25 G.P.A. in religious studies courses may pursue departmental honors, provided they have also demonstrated the potential to complete a research paper at least 25 – 30 pages in length.

During the fall semester of junior year, the departmental chair will invite eligible students to apply. The candidate for the departmental honors degree will determine a general area to research and choose a mentor from among the full-time members of the department with appropriate expertise. The mentor will direct the student as (s)he develops a proposal for the project. The proposal must include a well-formulated research question, description of methodology, a bibliography, a tentative outline and title, and criteria for evaluation. The mentor and two other members of the department must approve the proposal before spring registration. The student will then register for REL 490 Research (Departmental Honors Project).

During the fall semester of senior year, the student will complete a rough draft of the project under the mentor’s guidance. On or before the last day of classes, he will submit a copy of the rough draft to his mentor and to the chairperson of the department.

Under the mentor’s guidance, the student will complete a revision of the proposal during the spring semester. By April 1 (or a date agreed upon at the beginning of the process by student and mentor) the student submits a final draft of the project, along with evaluative criteria, to the examination committee. The chairperson of the department is responsible for establishing the examination committee; it typically includes the mentor and two other department members. In addition, as a matter of courtesy, (s)he formally invites the Faculty Committee for Integral Honors to participate in the defense. (S)he schedules the date, time and place and publicizes the event widely on campus. The defense date should be early enough to allow for any necessary revisions required by the examination committee.

After the defense, the mentor, in consultation with the department chair and the examination committee, decides how well the student’s project has met its evaluative criteria and departmental standards. Upon a successful defense and completion of any revisions, the student is eligible for departmental honors at graduation.

Religious Studies and Education Programs

The religious studies department in collaboration with the education department offers a major program for those who plan a career in elementary education or teaching religion. The program consists of a major in religious studies with a minor in education. A student’s program is designed after consultation with the chairs of both departments.

Students who plan a career in elementary education, special education or teaching English as a second language, may receive New York state certification with a major in religious studies and a minor in education. For a typical schedule, please see the Typical Program page.

Typical Program for Religious Studies Major with an Education Minor (Dual Childhood/Special Education Grades 1-6)

Plan of Study Grid
Freshman Year
First SemesterCredit Hour
COR 100 First Year Seminars: Transitions 3
EDU 105 Teaching in a Diverse Society 3
HST 110 World Civilization I 3
EAC Encountering Another Culture/Language 3
WRT 101 Critical Writing 3
 Credit Hours15
Second Semester
PHL 110
Introduction to Philosophy
or Religious Perspectives
EDU 150 Contemporary Perspectives on Special Ed 3
HST 111 World Civilization II 3
EAC Encountering Another Culture/Language 3
Theology 3
 Credit Hours15
Sophomore Year
First Semester
EDU 205 Childhood Learning and Special Needs 3
PHL 210 Moral Philosophy 3
REL 200 Religious Perspectives 3
Mathematics 3
Natural Science 3
 Credit Hours15
Second Semester
EDU 225 Assessment & Decision Making for Equity/Inclusion 3
ENG 210 Major Authors 3
REL/THE 300-level M 3
REL/THE Elective 3
PSY 101 Introductory Psychology 3
 Credit Hours15
Junior Year
First Semester
EDU 305 Prin & Methods of Multicultural Literacy 3
EDU 315 Plan,Assessing,Managing Inclusive Clsrm 3
ENG 310 Literature and Culture 3
REL/THE 300-level M 3
REL 398 Religious Studies Colloquium 1
REL/THE 300-level M 3
 Credit Hours16
Second Semester
EDU 365 Adapting Literacy Lrn Stu W/Spec Needs 3
EDU 375 Strategies & Technol for Inclusive Clsrm 3
REL/THE 300-level M 3
REL/THE 399 Colloquium 1
IDS Interdisciplinary Studies 3
EDU 376 Managing Environ for Stu W/ Disabilities 3
 Credit Hours16
Senior Year
First Semester
EDU 120 Child Abuse Workshop/SAVE Violence Prev 0
EDU 121 Autism Spectrum Disorder Training for Teacher Certification 0
EDU 122 Dignity for All Student Act (dasa) Training for Teacher Certification 0
EDU 405 Preservice Clinical Teaching Seminar 3
EDU 430 Supervised Preservice Teach/Grades 1-6 6
EDU 431 Supervised Preservice Teach (SPE 1-6) 6
 Credit Hours15
Second Semester
REL/THE 400-level 3
COR 400 Senior Studies: Transformations 3
REL/THE Elective 3
Free Elective 3
REL/THE 498 Colloquium 1
Free Elective 3
 Credit Hours16
 Total Credit Hours123