2014-2015 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Sep 27, 2021  
2014-2015 Undergraduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Religion, BA

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James W. Watts
501 Hall of Languages

Director of Undergraduate Studies:

Gareth J. Fisher
505 Hall of Languages


Ahmed E. Abdel-Meguid, Philip P. Arnold, Zachary J. Braiterman, Virginia Burrus, Gareth J. Fisher, Ken Frieden, Ann Grodzins Gold, M. Gail Hamner, Tazim R. Kassam, Vincent W. Lloyd, R. Gustav Niebuhr, William A. Robert, Marcia C. Robinson, Joanne P. Waghorne, Ernest E. Wallwork, James W. Watts

Knowledge of religion is critical in today’s world. The academic study of religion at Syracuse University offers students the opportunity to explore religion in a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary context. Students who take courses in religion learn to interpret the dynamics of religious convictions, actions, and expressions.

Religious traditions and practices engage such questions as: What kind of life is most worth living? How do we understand the nature of the world? How do we relate to ourselves and to others?

Students study religious life and thought from the perspectives of arts, ethics, gender, history, literature, mythology, philosophy, political theory, psychology, scriptural studies, social sciences, and theology.

The academic study of religion is a critical undertaking and an often transforming experience introducing students to unfamiliar aspects of their own world, and to the religious realities of our global situation.

The Department of Religion has articulated three goals that shape its teaching and its expectations of what students in its courses and programs may expect to gain from this study:

  1. to understand better the nature and diversity of religious expressions in the contemporary world and in history, and their power in peoples’ personal and collective lives;
  2. to think more deeply and critically about religious experience and its modes of expression and forms of interpretation;
  3. to recognize and appreciate the difficulties and possibilities in a disciplined study of religion; and to become aware of a diversity of approaches and methods within that study.

Major Requirements

The major requires 30 credits of appropriate work, approved in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Because of the interdisciplinary character of religion courses, it is crucial that the following clusters (in depth and breadth/diversity) be delineated and approved in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, in keeping with the following conditions:

  1. at least four courses that ensure depth by clustering around one of the following:
    1. a particular tradition (e.g., Buddhism, Judaism)
    2. a particular geographical area or historical period (e.g., America, South Asia)
    3. a particular thematic (e.g., philosophy, popular culture)
  2. at least three courses that ensure breadth and/or diversity of study, as decided in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
  3. REL 391 
  4. of the 10 courses, 6 must be at the 300 level or above.
  5. up to 6 credits may be earned in individualized work within the Department of Religion (e.g., independent study, honors thesis).
  6. up to 6 credits may be earned in advisor-approved courses outside the Department of Religion.

Advanced Courses

Additional Information

Qualified undergraduates may take 500-level courses after consulting with the Department of Religion advisor and obtaining, before registration, the instructor’s written approval.

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