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Major: Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies

Degree Requirements

The curriculum for majors is designed to lead students through a course of study which begins with laying foundations, then moves on to building expertise, and finally culminates in a capstone experience. The foundational courses aim to introduce students to the academic study of religion through the exploration of a particular religious tradition, issue, or methodology. Students build expertise in more advanced courses offering in-depth investigation of specific topics, such as mysticism, gender, or violence/nonviolence; of particular texts, historical periods, or figures of a given religious tradition; or of distinct approaches to the study of religion, such as the philosophy of religion, ritual studies, or ethnography. Students consolidate the knowledge and skills acquired in the major through the WIM course and an integrative capstone experience consisting of either a senior essay or an honors thesis, completed in conjunction with two supporting capstone courses.

Laying the Foundation

Greater than or equal to 3 courses at the 1-99 level 

(No more than 1 IntroSem)

Building Expertise

Greater than or equal to 6 courses numbered 100-289

(At least 2 courses must be at the 200-level)

WIM & Capstone
Required classes


Required Courses

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

Core Program Requirements: 

  • Three courses (3-5 units each) from courses numbered RELIGST 1-99, only one of which may be an Introductory Seminar.
  • Six courses (4-5 units each) from courses numbered RELIGST 100-289, of which at least two must be at the 200-level.

WIM: Majors' Seminar

  • RELIGST 290: Majors' Seminar: Theories of Religion (Winter Quarter; junior year; fulfills WIM requirement) | 5 UNITS

Capstone Experience:

  • RELIGST 297: Senior Essay/Honors Thesis Research (minimum 5 units; up to 10 units over two quarters; graded 'N' until completion of essay or thesis) | 5-10 UNITS
  • RELIGST 298: Senior Colloquium (Spring Quarter; grading option S/NC) | 4 UNITS

The remainder of the coursework needed to bring the total Religious Studies unit count to 60 to be chosen according to interest, in consultation with the student's advisor, and with an eye to the senior capstone requirement.

For further information on the capstone, see the Capstone tab in the menu. 

Additional Regulations

  1. 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, Hebrew, Greek, Chinese, Persian, or Japanese), but not counted towards the University language requirement, may be counted toward the major.
  2. No more than ten units of the total 60 (excluding RELIGST 298) may be taken for the grade of 'S/NC' or 'CR/NC.'
  3. Students must ensure that their total complement of Religious Studies courses is not focused on a single religious tradition.
  4. Variations to the required distribution may be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies on an individual basis.
  5. All units must be in RELIGST courses unless an exception is made by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.