The study of religion in the liberal arts tradition is an inherently interdisciplinary mode of inquiry that helps students develop skills that are transferable to a multitude of scholarly and professional pursuits. Courses in Religious Studies are: a) intercultural and comparative, through exploring multiple religious traditions across and within cultures; b) multi-disciplinary, through applying multiple methodological approaches to religious phenomena; c) critical, through examining religious phenomena, including issues of ethical and social responsibility, from a perspective of critical inquiry, with freedom to inquire as a core objective; d) integrative, through applying theories of religion to lived contexts, both historical and current, with an empathetic imagination; and e) creative and constructive, through employing knowledge of religious phenomena and religious-studies skills in asking "big questions" and considering complex domestic and international problems.
The emphasis in the Religious Studies program at Eckerd College is on the study of religion from an academic perspective, rather than from a particular traditional religious perspective. Students of religion need not be affiliated with any particular religious tradition. Diversity of background and experience is respected and valued.
Students majoring in Religious Studies will develop the following competencies by the time they graduate from Eckerd College:
- familiarity with the principal concerns and methods of the field of Religious Studies.
- knowledge of a chosen focal area that allows the student to converse with ease on subjects related to the area and make appropriate judgments based on critical study.
- capacity to make effective use of appropriate historical, literary, and critical tools for the study of religious texts and traditions.
- evidence of integrative self-reflection, showing that the student is engaged in a serious effort to synthesize new information and insight into a personally meaningful world view.
Students majoring in Religious Studies must complete a total of 11 courses in the discipline, distributed as follows:
Tools and Methods
- RE201H: Understanding Religion
- RE308H: Religion in Culture & Society
- RE221H: American Religious Diversity
- RE240G: Religion, Power, and Difference
- RE242H: Scriptures Across Traditions
Major Topics and Issues
In consultation with their Mentor and/or the Discipline Coordinator, students will complete three courses in Major Topics and Issues in Religious Studies, one with each faculty member in the discipline. At least one course in Major Topics and Issues should be at the 300 level or above.
Making the Connections
- One elective at the 300 level or above consonant with student's area of interest
- RE372: Internship: Religion & Culture
- RE498: Senior Comprehensive Project in Religious Studies
For a minor in Religious Studies a student must complete RE201H, three additional courses in the discipline (one of which must be at the 300 level or above), and one 400-level course (preferably RE 498), for a total of five courses.