Students who declare a major or minor in religion after the end of the 2015-2016 academic year will need to fulfill different requirements than those who declared by the end of 2015-2016. Please make sure you're reviewing the correct requirements when planning your course selections.

Major Requirements

A minimum of 36 credits in religion, including the following:

  1. One course in Gender Studies/Sociology of Religion (107, 233, 287, 305, 355, 370)
  2. One course in Near Eastern Religions (201, 207, 209, 214, 217, 219, 236, 245, 305, 310, 321)
  3. One course in Asian Religions (221, 222, 250, 251, 330, 347)
  4. One course in Religion in America (180, 214, 260, 348, 349)
  5. One course in Modern Western Religious Thought (202, 205, 219, 227, 228, 229, 245, 350, 353, 358)
  6. At least two courses in Religion at the 300 level (which may simultaneously fulfill the above area requirements)
  7. The Senior Seminar and Thesis (Religion 448 and either 490 or 498).

No more than one 100 level course may be counted towards the major. Courses in the Comparative Study of Religion (116-117) do not fulfill area distribution requirements.

The Department does not allow the P-D-F grade option for courses taken to fulfill the major requirements.

The Religion Minor

A minimum of 20 credits in religion. At least one course must be taken in three out of the five distribution areas (see above for specific course listings):

  1. Gender Studies/Sociology of Religion
  2. Near Eastern Religions
  3. Asian Religions
  4. Religion in America
  5. Modern Western Religious Thought

No more than one 100 level course may be given credit towards the minor.

At least one course in Religion at the 300 level must be taken.

The Department does not allow a P-D-F grade option for courses within the minor.

Major Requirements

A minimum of 36 credits in religion, including the following:

  1. Religion 203, "What is Religion?"
  2. Religion 448, "Seminar in the Academic Study of Religion"
  3. Religion 490 or 498, "Senior Thesis in Religion" or "Honors Thesis in Religion"
  4. Six elective courses, at least two of which are at the 300-level.

At least three of the elective courses, including one at the 300-level, must form a concentration to be defined in consultation with the advisor during the Spring of the Junior year, prior to Fall registration; the senior thesis must be written in the concentration area.

Additionally, at least one of the elective courses must be a course in comparative religion, to be selected from a list of designated courses. Only one 100-level course may be counted toward the major requirements. The study of an appropriate language, as determined in consultation with the student’s major adviser, is also highly recommended although not required.

The senior assessment: All religion majors are required to write a senior thesis of 25-30 pages, and to pass an oral examination on the thesis, which may include questions of a more comprehensive nature. Departmental policy does not allow a P-D-F grade option for courses within the major.

Minor Requirements

A minimum of 20 credits in religion, including:

  1. Religion 203, "What is Religion?"
  2. At least one 300-level course
  3. At least one course in comparative religion, to be selected from a list of designated courses

Only one 100-level course may be counted toward the minor requirements. Departmental policy does not allow a P-D-F grade option for courses within the minor.

If the standard Religion major does not meet your educational objectives, you might want to consider proposing an individually planned major. The individually planned major is a possibility for highly motivated students with unique interests who wish to pursue a coherent field of study crossing two or more disciplines regularly offered at Whitman.

The process of establishing an individually planned major involves creating an individually planned major committee. With the committee, the student develops a proposal consisting of a title, rationale and a schedule of course work. The proposal is submitted to the Board of Review for approval and is subject to review by the Academic Council.

Recent individually planned majors have combined Religion and History, Religion and Philosophy, and Religion and Studies in World Literature.

Interested students should obtain the Guidelines for the Construction of an Individually Planned Major from the Registrar's Office, and consult with members of the Religion Department as soon as possible in your planning process.