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Haverford College
Department of Religion

Curriculum: Major

The major in Religion is designed to help students develop a coherent set of academic skills and expertise in the study of religion, while at the same time encouraging interdisciplinary work in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The Major consists of 11 courses with the following requirements:

  1. Five courses within an area of concentration: Each major is expected to fashion a coherent major program focused around work in one of three designated areas of concentration:
    1. Religious Traditions in Cultural Context. The study of religious traditions and the textual, historical, sociological and cultural contexts in which they develop. Critical analysis of formative texts and issues that advance our notions of religious identities, origins, and ideas.
    2. Religion, Literature, and Representation. The study of religion in relation to literary expressions and other forms of representation, such as performance, music, film, and the plastic arts.
    3. Religion, Ethics, and Society. The exploration of larger social issues such as race, gender, and identity as they relate to religion and religious traditions. Examines how moral principles, cultural values, and ethical conduct help to shape human societies.

    The five courses within the area of concentration must include at least one department seminar at the 300 level. Where appropriate and relevant to the major's program, up to two courses for the major may be drawn from outside the field of religion, subject to departmental approval.
  2. Religion 299, Theoretical Perspectives in the Study of Religion.
  3. Religion 398a and 399b, a two-semester senior seminar and thesis program.
  4. Three additional half-year courses drawn from outside the major's area of concentration.
  5. Junior Colloquium: An informal required gathering of the Junior majors once each semester. Students should complete a worksheet in advance in consultation with their major advisor and bring copies of the completed worksheet to the meeting.
  6. At least six of each major's 11 courses must be taken in the Haverford Religion department. Students planning to study abroad should construct their programs in advance with the department. Students seeking religion credit for study abroad courses should write a formal petition to the department upon their return and submit all relevant course materials. Petitioned courses should be included within the student's designated area of concentration.
  7. In some rare cases, students may petition the department for exceptions to the major requirements. Such petitions must be presented to the department for approval in advance.
  8. Final evaluation of the major program will consist of written work, including a thesis, and an oral examination completed in the context of the Senior Seminar, Religion 398a and 399b.

Advising for the major takes place in individual meetings between majors and faculty advisors and in a departmental colloquium held once each semester. At this colloquium, majors will present their proposed programs of study with particular attention to their work in the area of concentration. All majors should fill out and bring the Religion Major Worksheet to the colloquium.

PDF Religion Major Worksheet