As with any liberal arts major, the study of religion can prove to have an intrinsic value for our students. The questions pursued in our classes are both stimulating and rewarding. Students are challenged to approach important and diverse material with imagination, sensitivity, and intelligence. The inter-disciplinary nature of religious studies provides the opportunity to focus and integrate the perspectives of such diverse fields as philosophy, psychology, sociology, literature, history, anthropology and the classics. Indeed, students in the religious studies program are encouraged to design their major in conjunction with a minor or even a second major in a related department.
Religious studies majors have pursued a variety of careers upon graduation. Some have entered the field of journalism; others are teaching at the secondary level. Several graduates have obtained advanced degrees in the field and are themselves teaching at universities around the country. Some majors have chosen ministerial and church-related work; others have pursued careers in law and related fields. The major in religious studies has thus proven to provide a solid and focused liberal arts major for Santa Clara students.
Majors in religious studies work with a diverse, scholarly, and active faculty. Students are assigned an advisor to direct and encourage them in course and career planning. Select courses on key topics in religious studies are offered exclusively for majors and minors each quarter. Students are encouraged to undertake independent, one-on-one research with a faculty member. And on a more informal level, regular department colloquia and department-sponsored lectures provide the opportunity for further interaction with the faculty.
Students earning a GPA of 3.5 in religious studies become eligible for nomination to Theta Alpha Kappa, the national honor society in religious studies and theology. Each year graduating majors are eligible for the religious studies prize awarded at the University Honors Convocation.
The major program is designed to combine flexibility with a solid foundation. To that end students are required to:
- Select three lower-division courses, one from each of the distribution areas:
- Scripture and Tradition (SCTR);
- Theology, Ethics and Spirituality (TESP);
- Religion and Society (RSOC);
- Plus Theories and Methods RTC 2 Course
- Select, at the upper-division level, in conjunction with their academic advisor, eight upper division courses. Of these eight:
- three must be specifically designated religious studies seminars (RSS)
- one in each of the three areas
- A yearlong capstone seminar is also required for the Religious Studies Major