Department of Religion
Minakshi Temple goddess from Madurai
Need more information?
The UVM Catalogue is the official source for information and requirements for the B.A. in Religion. Visit the Catalogue.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Religion
The religion major is structured around introductory courses that survey multiple religious traditions, intermediate-level courses focused on specific traditions or on broader comparative themes, and upper-level seminars that explore specific aspects of religion in considerable depth:
- An introductory course [from the 20-27 range]
- Interpretation of Religion 
- Two courses examining different religious traditions from the following list:
REL 114 or REL 116; REL 124 or REL 125; REL 128; REL 130; REL 131; REL 132; REL 141; REL 145; REL 163 or REL 167
- A course on a comparative topic from the REL 101-REL 109 range
- The Senior Seminar (REL 201)
- An additional seminar at the REL 200 level
- Three hours in related non-departmental courses may count toward the thirty-three hour requirement. A list of approved courses is available from the Religion Department.
Representing our global orientation, we ask for intermediate-level work in at least two historical traditions associated with different regions of the world.
The comparative level gives students the chance to address systematically factors that are common to many religious worlds, but vary according to culture. These cross-cultural themes include the representational, experiential, and communal forms of religion, such as myth, ritual, mystical experience, and the role played by different types of social organization in the formation of religious cultures.
A required course on The Interpretation of Religion gives students a background in the history of influential theories and figures in the study of religion, and a foundation for addressing issues of theory and method that will come up in subsequent course work.
All our majors complete a senior seminar, a senior capstone course in which they research a topic of their choice developed in close consultation with the seminar instructor.
Three of the thirty-three required hours for the major may be taken outside the department, from the following list of pre-approved courses:
- Anthropology 155, Anthropology of Islam
- Classics 145, Comparative Epic (also taught as World Lit 145)
- English 131, Topics in Bible and Literature
- Environmental Studies 182, Religion and Ecology
- Holocaust Studies 180, Moral and Religious Perspectives on the Holocaust
- History 45, History of Islam and the Middle East to 1258
- History 46, History of Islam and the Middle East Since 1258
- History 116, Medieval Mystics and Heretics
- History 126, The Reformation
- Philosophy 121, Chinese Philosophy I
- Philosophy 122, Chinese Philosophy II
- Philosophy 135, Philosophy of Religion
- Philosophy 235, Topics in the Philosophy of Religion
- Political Science 149, when offered as Religion & Liberal Democracies
- Sociology 151, Sociology of Religion and Ideology
Other relevant courses may be presented to the Religion Department for possible approval.
Learning Goals for Majors
- ability to analyze religious phenomena using appropriate interpretive approach(es), e.g., historical, cultural, sociological, psychological, phenomenological, etc.
- ability to formulate a research question in the study of religion that draws upon one of more theoretical approaches, to effectively collect and analyze evidence relevant to that question, to write a substantial research paper that articulates a clear argument or position on the question based on that evidence, and to present these research results orally
- ability to apply knowledge of religion to an understanding of contemporary issues
Last modified October 30 2012 09:26 AM