Wesleyan’s cross-cultural, interdisciplinary religion program seeks to understand religions and the ways they’ve been studied. The program focuses on the history of major religious traditions and seeks to understand religious practices, narratives, and sensibilities in diverse social, political, and economic contexts, and across differences of class, gender, sex, sexuality, race, and ethnicity. A minor is also offered.

With an understanding of other cultures and religions, students who major in religion often pursue careers in business, law, education, journalism, medicine, and other professions.

What You'll Study

As a religion major at Wesleyan, you'll take a minimum of 10 full-credit courses, including What is Religion?; four courses in three areas of historical traditions; two courses in thematic approaches; two courses in method and theory, including the majors colloquium in religious studies; and a tenth course taken in any of the four categories (or in Hebrew or another fourth-semester language course with substantial religion content). Finally, you will take a 0.25-credit capstone symposium tutorial.

The department offers four categories through which students organize their curriculum:

  • What is Religion?, a required course introducing students to the academic study of religion, in which they must earn a grade of B- or better;

  • Historical Traditions courses dealing with historical content of major religious traditions including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, as well as shamanic, Afro-Caribbean, and classical and modern Chinese traditions;

  • Thematic Approach courses examining specific problems, questions or themes that intersect with the study of religion, including gender, race, politics, sex, law, science, and colonialism; and

  • Method and Theory courses reviewing and critically analyzing methods, theories, and strategies employed by scholars of religion.

Minor Requirements

To complete a minor in religion, students are required to take What is Religion?, in which they must earn a grade of B- or better, and a minimum of four additional courses in or cross-listed with religion: two courses in at least two areas of Historical Traditions, as listed in the description of programs in religion, as well as two additional courses of the student’s choice.