Major in Religious Studies
The major in Religious Studies requires a minimum of 30 units in Religious Studies. Of these, 24 units must be in courses numbered 300 or above. There are three components to the major: required foundational courses; electives; and the capstone experience.
Required Foundational Courses (6 units):
All majors are required to take the following two courses:
- L23 102 Thinking About Religion: Offered every fall.
- L23 368 Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion: Offered every spring and normally taken in either the junior or senior year.
Electives (21 units; 18 units must be 300 level or above):
All majors must take at least seven additional courses for the major. These courses should be chosen in consultation with your major advisor and should fulfill the following:
- Broad coverage of religious traditions: Majors explore various religions by taking at least one course in four different traditions (such as: Judaism; History of Christianity; Islam; Buddhism; East Asian religions; South Asian religions; and religion in the Americas).
- Course concentrations: Majors focus their interests on a single religious tradition or theme by creating two course concentrations: a 3 course series and a 2 course series.
Capstone Experience (3 units):
- In their senior year, Religious Studies majors are required to take L23 479 Religious Studies Senior Seminar.
- Alternatively, majors can fulfill the capstone requirement by writing an honors thesis during their last two semesters at WashU. Applications for Senior Honors are due no later than the spring semester of the student's junior year.
- Independent Studies: No more than 6 units of Independent Studies may be applied to the major. Normally, Independent Studies courses are designed for seniors who have already taken all of the available courses regularly offered or who have a very specific topic they wish to pursue at an advanced level (schedule conflicts do not constitute a valid rationale for taking an Independent Studies). Permission of the program director, the academic advisor, and the supervising faculty is required.
- Transfer Credits: Students may transfer a maximum of 6 units from another institution (including Study Abroad) to count toward their Religious Studies major with the approval of the advisor and the program director.
- "Double Counting" Courses: If a student has two majors or a major and a minor, only introductory (100- and 200-level) courses may be counted, when relevant, toward the requirements of both majors. All advanced (300- and 400-level) courses must be unique to each major; i.e., no advanced course may "double-count" for the course work needed to fulfill the minimal requirements for either major. Should both major programs require the same course, a departmentally-sanctioned elective must be chosen to replace the course in one of the programs.