Undergraduate Major


Students who major in Religious Studies gain expertise in the history and practices of particular religious traditions, encountered from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, and in theoretical discussions of religion. They also learn how to engage with texts and other kinds of sources critically and sensitively, and to communicate their ideas and arguments clearly. Students specialize in two religious traditions, but they are encouraged to take a diverse range of courses that will expose them to the many methodologies and approaches that are used within Religious Studies, from environmental ethics to religions of the African diaspora to Buddhist meditation to spirituality in America.

Read the Cavalier Daily article from Religious Studies graduate Matt Arakaky (2015) on how a religious studies course ultimately changed his career path.

I. Degree Requirements

A. Complete a minimum of ten graded courses (30 credits) within the Department of Religious Studies, meeting the following requirements:

1. Primary Concentration (referred to as “sub-plan” in SIS )

Take at least three courses (9 credits) in one of the world's major religious traditions as a primary concentration: African religions (RELA), Buddhism (RELB), Christianity (RELC), Hinduism (RELH), Islam (RELI) or Judaism (RELJ).

  • At least one of these courses (3 credits) must be at the 3000-level or above.
  • RELG 1010 and RELG 1040 cannot be used to fulfill this requirement.
  • Your sub-plan MUST be indicated on your declaration form.

2. Secondary Concentration

Take at least two courses (6 credits) in another of the world's religious traditions as a second concentration. (Both courses must be in the same religion.)

  • RELG 1010 and RELG 1040 cannot be used to fulfill this requirement.
  • Cross-listed courses may count toward either concentration with the exception of RELC/J 1210 which must count toward the primary concentration if the primary concentration is in Christianity or Judaism.

3. Diversity Requirement

  • If the first and second concentrations are in Buddhism and Hinduism, or Buddhism and African religions, or African Religions and Hinduism, then one course must be taken in Christianity, Islam, or Judaism.
    • RELG 1010 can be used to fulfill this requirement.
  • If the first and second concentrations are in Christianity and Islam, or Christianity and Judaism, or Islam and Judaism, then one course must be taken in African religions, Buddhism, or Hinduism.
    • RELG 1040 can be used to fulfill this requirement.

4. Take three courses (9 credits) of the ten required at the 3000 level or above.

Courses taken to fulfill requirements #1 and #2 may be used to fulfill this requirement.

5. Take RELG 4500 (Majors' Seminar).   Students take the Majors' Seminar in addition to three courses (9 credits) at the 3000 level or above.

B. A grade of C (2.0) or above must be achieved in each course offered for the completion of the religious studies major.

Students interested in declaring a major may find the electronic major declaration form hereBefore filling out the form please consult the online guide “Declaring Your Major” so that you do so correctly. Students with any questions about the major are encouraged to reach out to the Director of Undergraduate Programs for the department, Prof. Noah Salomon, or to one our department's Undergraduate Peer Advisors.