Religious Studies

Religious Studies is a cooperative program offered jointly by Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, Pomona and Scripps Colleges. The program of study is designed to serve both as one focus of a liberal arts education and as a foundation for students planning to pursue the study of religion beyond the baccalaureate degree. Students may enroll in Religious Studies courses offered at any of the undergraduate colleges and advanced students may with permission, enroll in master’s-level courses in their area of specialization at Claremont Graduate University.

While offering a broadly based and inclusive program in the study of religion for all liberal arts students, the Religious Studies major affords the opportunity for more specialized work at the intermediate and advanced levels in particular historic religious traditions, geographical areas, philosophical and critical approaches and thematic and comparative studies.

The Religious Studies field group recognizes the importance and legitimacy of personal involvement in the study of religion, but it does not represent or advocate any particular religion as normative. Rather, the aim is to make possible an informed knowledge and awareness of the fundamental importance of the religious dimension in all human societies-globally and historically. In addition to preparing students for graduate study in religion, the multidisciplinary nature of the major affords students intellectual training to enter a variety of fields and careers. Recent graduates are, for example, in schools of law, medicine and business. Others have careers in management, journalism and the media, college administration, primary and secondary education, government, and health and social services.

The Religious Studies major consists of 10 courses, including four courses in a specialized field (chosen in consultation with your advisor), two integrative courses, three elective courses outside the specialized field, and a senior thesis.

Language study appropriate to the specialized field and a period of study abroad when possible are strongly encouraged.

Students may petition the chair of the department to take a specific major or minor course on a P/NC grading option. Students may also petition the chair to receive credit for Religious Studies coursework or project work completed during study abroad programs.

Pitzer Advisers: C. Johnson, J. Parker.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students majoring in Religious Studies will:

  1. Gain familiarity with at least two religious traditions and be able to engage in informed discussion of its beliefs, history, and practice.
  2. Show proficiency in a variety of approaches to the study of religion (e.g. philosophical, anthropological, historical, feminist, postcolonial), understand their strengths and weaknesses, and critique their application to various phenomena.
  3. Carry out sustained research on a topic that integrates classroom exposure with original investigation.
  4. Analyze the interaction of religion with political, economic, social, and cultural institutions, groups, and individuals.
  5. Recognize the diversity, historically and geographically, of religious traditions and demonstrate sensitivity to the varieties of religious expression.
Page last updated on September 27, 2016