The Religion Studies concentration is founded on the study of the ancient multicultural traditions of the Mediterranean peoples, whose multiple worldviews gave rise to religious traditions that, together with the Classical heritage shaped successive Western civilizations.
Students begin with a core of Classics courses, in order to understand the cultural context within which the traditions of Second-Temple Judaism, Rabbinic Judaism, and early Christianities arose. The required courses REL 21020 and 20121 form an introduction to the content of classical world religions, including major Eastern traditions and Islam, and to the study of religion as an academic discipline. Upper division courses examine the Classical and Western traditions in greater depth, explore the reception of and discourse about Western traditions within Medieval and modern societies, or take a comparative approach to the examination of non-Western traditions. The program emphasizes critical thinking skills and provides a liberal arts education especially well-suited for those planning on careers as religious professionals.