Undergraduate Study


Daniel Vaca, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Tina Creamer, Departmental Administrator 

Concentration in Religious Studies includes course work in Religious Studies 1000 (junior seminar in methods in the study of religion) and eight other courses conforming to the following requirements:

Each student in consultation with appropriate faculty members devises a concentration program, which may include up to three courses given outside the department. The student presents (for approval by the concentration advisor) a written statement of the objectives of his or her concentration program and a list of the component courses. The program is expected to encompass the study of at least one religious tradition from each of the following groups. Ordinarily, this requirement is satisfied by two or more courses in each of these areas:

  1. Traditions that emerge from West Asia and the Mediterranean World.
  2. Traditions that emerge from South and East Asia

The plan of study must take account of more than one approach to the study of religion, e.g., philosophical and historical; contain at least two Intermediate-level courses (0200-0999), RELS 1000, and two additional advanced-level courses (above 1000). This means that no more than four courses (out of nine) can be at the introductory level.

No later than the end of spring registration in the junior year, the concentrator will determine if they wish to write an honors thesis or choose a capstone course for his or her concentration. A capstone course will be selected in consultation with the concentration advisor and other faculty as appropriate. Within the frame of this capstone course, the concentrator will address the theoretical and interpretive issues of his or her particular focus in the Religious Studies concentration.

To receive Honors in Religious Studies, a student must write an Honors Thesis. A thesis is an opportunity for students to conduct extended independent research under the guidance of faculty. To be eligible to write a thesis, a student must have earned a grade point average of greater than 3.5 (A=4, B=3, C=2) on courses that count toward the concentration. Additionally, to be eligible for honors, concentrators can elect to take no more than two of the concentration courses with the "S/NC" option, after declaring an RS concentration. (If a student is philosophically committed to taking the majority of her or his courses as Brown as "S/NC," that student may petition the Department to waive the "S/NC" limit.) Writing the thesis is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for receiving Honors. The thesis must earn an A from its readers for the student to receive Honors, and the student must have earned a grade point average of greater than 3.5 in the concentration (as well as satisfy all the other concentration requirements).