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Major: Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies

Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies

Degree Requirements

The curriculum for majors is designed to move students sequentially from foundational courses, through deeper investigations, culminating in integrative research courses. Thus, the introductory sequence is designed to lead to courses which build on this foundation with topics including: particular traditions such as Judaism or Buddhism; comparative studies such as nonviolence in Hinduism and Buddhism, or Muslim and Christian interpretations of scripture; specific topics such as mysticism, gender and religion, or theodicy; and distinctive approaches such as the philosophy of religion or ritual studies. Majors complete their careers with integrative courses that afford opportunity for research and consolidation of the knowledge and skills gained earlier.

Required Courses

A Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies requires 60 units of course work, distributed as follows:

  1. Two courses (at least 3 units each) from courses numbered 1-49, including approved Thinking Matters or Introductory Seminars. Successful completion of SLE may count as one of these two courses (4 units).
  2. Two courses (at least 3 units each) from courses numbered 50-99.
  3. Three integrative courses (at least five units each) as follows:
    • Majors Seminar (5)
      RELIGST 290: Majors Seminar (Winter Quarter of junior year; fulfillms WIM requirement; letter grade only) | 5 UNITS
    • Senior Essay or Honors Thesis Research (5)
      RELIGST 297: Senior Essay/Honors Essay Research (minimum 5 units; up to 10 units over two quarters; graded 'N' until completion of essay or thesis) | 3-5 UNITS
    • Senior Majors' Colloquium (5)
      RELIGST 298: Senior Colloquium (Spring Quarter; grading option S/NC) | 5 UNITS
  4. At least 24 of the remaining units should be in courses numbered 100-289. At least two of these courses should be 200-level seminar courses.

Additional Regulations

  1. Variations to the required distribution of courses under 1 and 2 above may be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies on an individual basis.
  2. All units must be in Religious Studies courses unless an exception is made by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
  3. With the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, up to two language courses relating to the student's program of study (such as Arabic, Biblical Hebrew, New Testament Greek, Chinese, Persian, or Japanese), but not counted towards the University language requirement, may be counted toward the major.
  4. No more than ten units of the total 60 (excluding RELIGST 298) may be taken for the grade of 'S/NC' or 'CR/NC.'
  5. Students may not take all courses in one religious tradition.

Senior Essay

A 25-30 page essay on a topic chosen by the student and approved by the adviser upon receipt of a student's proposal by the end of the third quarter prior to expected graduation. The character and content of the essay, which is meant to allow the student to call into play knowledge and skills learned in the course of the major, may take several forms. For example, a student may return to a subject studied earlier but now pursued in more depth or from a new perspective, research a recent or new topic of interest in the field, or offer a carefully framed critical assessment of what has been learned in the major based on review of influential sources, theories, and methods of studying religion. The senior essay is read and graded by the student's adviser and one other member of the Religious Studies faculty.