Religion Studies Department


Religion Studies Mission Statement:
The work of the department of Religion Studies at Muhlenberg College is the academic investigation of religious traditions in their thought and practice.  Faculty and students study cultural and intellectual responses to basic questions of life and meaning.  Our discipline, exploring essential aspects of human experience, is inherently cross-cultural, multidisciplinary, and analytical.  Its geography is global; its chronology extends from antiquity to the present.  We analyze texts, beliefs, rituals, arts, communities, cultures, and their integration into coherent worldviews.  Our methodologies as well as our content interact with disciplines spanning the liberal arts curriculum from the humanities to the social sciences to the sciences.

Students majoring in Religion Studies will be expected to develop broad expertise, reflecting the geographical and typological diversity that characterizes the religions of the world. The advising process will direct students to distribute courses among the department’s offerings to include at least three areas of study from the following:

      - Judaism
      - Christianity
      - Islam
      - Buddhism
      - India/South Asia
      - China
      - Japan

Religion Studies Major Requirements:

          Nine (9) REL courses total*
          One (1) 100-level course may be counted toward the major.
          REL 201: Theory & Method in the Study of Religion
          At least two (2) 200-level courses in addition  to REL 201
          At least two (2) 300-level courses
          At least one (1) 400-level course

Religion Studies Minor Requirements:

          Six (6) REL courses total*
          At least two (2) 200-level courses
          At least two (2) 300/400-level courses

* Courses with other prefixes (including but not limited to JST) can count towards the major with prior approval.

Religion Studies Course Offerings

100-199: Themes and Motifs in the Study of Religion
These are 100-level courses that introduce students to the academic study of religion by tracing patterns and themes across religious traditions.

REL 201: Theory & Method in the Study of Religion
Offered annually in the fall, this course is required of all Religion Studies majors and strongly recommended for minors. Students will explore a variety of approaches to the academic study of religion.

202-299: Religions of the World
These courses are religion-specific, concentrating on a particular religious tradition or clusters of religions.

300-349: Religious Expressions (Texts, Rituals/Practices, Fine and Performing Arts)
These courses provide opportunities for students to explore diverse forms of religious expression. Each course offers an in-depth look at a phenomenon from a particular religious tradition.

350-399: Religion, Person, and Society
This is a series of thematic courses that examine specific theoretical, historical, geographical, political, and philosophical contexts for specific religious beliefs and practices. Courses may focus on a particular religious tradition or may emphasize theoretical approaches that apply across traditions.

400-499: Advanced Seminars in the Study of Religion

An advanced seminar is offered each spring as a “special topics” course. This culminating Undergraduate Experience (CUE) offers students the opportunity to explore a research topic in depth with other students and faculty.