The Department of Religious Studies offers students the opportunity to explore the religious dimensions of life and culture. The department envisions the following learning goals for our majors as the basis for understanding religion as a field of study.
These goals articulate, not the general aspirations for educating a well-rounded graduate, but what we can reasonably expect an educated Religious Studies major to know and be able to do because of the education provided by the major.
A Religious Studies Major can...
- Identify, describe and discuss some significant elements of religion - such as myth and narrative, symbol, ritual, law and doctrine, ethics, experience, and systems of cosmic, social and individual order - as they are manifested in particular traditions and cultures, past or present.
- Critically compare religious traditions, experiences, and practices across culture, time, ethnicity, race or gender.
- Analyze and reflect on the meaning of religious beliefs and practices, and apply to religious phenomena various theories, methodological perspectives, and experiential approaches to religious studies.
- Examine the moral dimensions of religion and culture through specific examples.
- Read and critically interpret religious texts.
- Explain and discuss the historical context of one or more religions.
- Evaluate the relationship between religion and other elements of culture and society regarding such issues as the connection between religion and power, the role of religious movements as forces of personal and social transformation and social justice, and the role of religion in social integration.
- Identify, apply and research resources from online, library, bibliographic resources and/or field methodologies in religious studies in a research paper.
- Support and defend in writing an integrated vision of the field of religious studies expressed in a focus on the student's area(s) of interest.