MAJOR: A total of 40 units in the department of Religious Studies is required for the major. The major in Religious Studies is structured to accommodate the wide variety of interests among students of religion. Students will design a personalized program, working collaboratively with an advisor in the department, to match interests and objectives. Some majors may opt for a program that is broadly conceived, seeking exposure to a variety of religions through a variety of methods and in comparative perspective. Others may choose to specialize in one religious tradition, or in one approach to the study of religion such as the historical, sociological, philosophical, or psychological. All program designs must provide for diversity of content and methods in accordance with the department's curriculum. After working closely with a departmental advisor, each student will present his or her program design to the department for discussion. In keeping with the goals of a liberal arts education, students are encouraged to take courses in other disciplines that have a profound bearing on the study of religion, such as languages, history, and area studies, among others. Seniors enroll in RS 490: Senior Seminar for work on their comprehensive projects.
MAJOR WITH INTERDISCIPLINARY CONCENTRATION: Interdisciplinary work in Religious Studies allows a student to pursue the study of religion through the methods and approaches of one particular academic discipline. For example, students may choose to study the presence of religion in literature, drawing upon the resources of faculty at Occidental who teach literature, or some may opt to study religion within the context of philosophy, psychology, or sociology. Students may also choose Occidental's area study programs as their focus, studying religion within the contexts of American Studies, Asian Studies, or Women's Studies, etc. The interdisciplinary major is designed by consultation between the student and his or her advisor, in some cases calling upon faculty in other departments for assistance. 48 units are required for this major, 32 of which are to be taken within the department of Religious Studies and 16 in another department.
MINOR: 20 units in Religious Studies which provide for diversity of content and methodology. Courses should be chosen in consultation with the chair of the department and must be submitted in writing for departmental approval.
WRITING REQUIREMENT: Students majoring in Religious Studies will satisfy the final component of Occidental College's college-wide writing requirement by successfully completing the Senior Seminar and the comprehensive requirement. Students should familiarize themselves with the departmental requirement at the time of declaring the major. See the Writing Program and consult the department chair for additional information.
SENIOR COMPREHENSIVE REQUIREMENT: In their senior year, majors in Religious Studies are required to complete a comprehensive research/writing project that studies some dimension of religion in depth. Students participate in a Senior Seminar in the fall semester and are guided individually by faculty in both the formulation and completion of this project which represents the culmination of students' work.
HONORS: Department majors may qualify for College Honors. Interested students should see the Honors Program and consult the department chair for details.