BA in Religious Studies

Because the field of religious studies draws from a number of academic disciplines, our major is “interdepartmental,” bringing together courses from several departments.

All religious studies program are individually designed, focusing on topics of interest to you, the religious studies major. Students should consult with the DUS to select courses for an exciting and coherent program.

How to Apply

Ready to declare the major? Complete our Religious Studies Major form to begin the process.

Questions? Contact RELS Director of Undergraduate Studies, Jeanne Kilde, at

The Religious Studies Major

  • Allows you to bring together perspectives, approaches, questions, and expertise from many disciplines
  • Trains you to critically analyze and understand religions as historical, social, discursive, and cultural phenomena
  • Provides you with a range of analytical tools to understand texts, traditions, and the ways that religion shapes everyday life
  • Offers in-depth knowledge of particular traditions and time periods
  • Gives you maximum flexibility to design a program that addresses your interests

You will study the range of religious phenomena by:

  • Interpreting religious texts
  • Tracing the development of institutions and practices
  • Examining the experiences and histories of specific communities
  • Exploring the intersections between religious ideas and practices and their social and cultural contexts
  • Creating a senior project that correlates with a topic you are interested in

The religious studies major pairs well with majors in several related departments, such as history, anthropology, Asian Languages and Literatures, art history, political science, and sociology. It also provides a useful foundation for work in fields such as mortuary science, health and medicine, social work, education, public policy, and the law.

Our faculty and advisors are well prepared to discuss these and other double-major options with interested students.


The religious studies major offers two tracks. Track I (Religion, Culture, and Society) offers opportunities to focus thematically on the social or cultural contexts and ramifications of religion. Track II (Text and Traditions) allows in-depth, text-based focus on a specific religious tradition.

Both tracks require:

  • 1 preparatory course
  • 2 upper-division courses taken regardless of track
  • 1 four-course area of concentration

Track ILearn more about the requirements for the religion, culture, and society track

Track IILearn about the requirements for the texts and traditions track