Departmental requirements

Important notes for all students in the Religion Department

  • Only one three-point “Guided Readings and Research” course may be counted for departmental credit. 
  • Courses may not be counted to fulfill the requirements of more than one department's program requirements, with the following exception: Courses may be counted to fulfill both departmental requirements and the Global Core requirement.

Degree requirements

Students are encouraged to declare their major/concentration by the end of the sophomore year or the beginning of their junior year. Prospective majors and concentrators should first arrange to meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). To ensure compliance with degree requirements, majors must meet with the DUS at least annually.

For a major in Religion

Program of study

All majors are encouraged to pursue both depth and breadth by constructing a program of study in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies. The program should include courses in a breadth of religious traditions. Students who write a senior thesis may include a term of individually supervised research as one of the courses for their major.


For the major the following 9 courses are required:

  • 1 gateway course (1000 level)
  • 2 Introductory courses (2000 level)
  • 2 Intermediate courses (3000 level)
  • 2 Seminars (4000 level).
  • 1 additional course at any level
  • RELI UN3199 Theory (formerly Juniors Colloquium)


Program of study

To be planned in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies and with a member of the faculty in an area in which the student has a particular interest. The program should include some study in a breadth of religious traditions.


For the concentration the following 7 courses are required:

  • 1 gateway course (1000 level)
  • 2 introductory courses (2000 level)
  • 2 intermediate Religion courses (3000 level)
  • 1 seminar (4000 level)
  • RELI UN3199 Theory

Senior thesis and departmental honors

Majors in the Religion Department are encouraged to write a thesis in their final year of study. Many students choose to write a senior thesis in order to pursue an advanced topic in greater depth or to work on a particular area of interest with a professor of their choosing. This opportunity is available to all students who major in the department, regardless of grade-point average, and serves for many as the capstone experience of their undergraduate career.

Students interested in writing a thesis must submit an application to the Director of Undergraduate Studies no later than the spring of your junior year. The application must include both a prospectus for the paper and a letter of support by a religion faculty member who will direct the thesis. The prospectus (5–7 pages) should detail a research program and the central question or questions to be pursued in the paper, your preparation for pursuing this thesis, and a proposed timeline. The primary advisor of the thesis must be a member of the Religion Department faculty. Students approved to write a thesis should register for Religion UN3901, with their thesis advisor.

Every student who receives the mark of “distinction” on her or his senior thesis and who maintains a departmental grade-point average of 3.66 or above will be considered for departmental honors. Writing a senior thesis qualifies you for consideration for departmental honors but does not assure it. In most years, only 10 percent of majors receive departmental honors.