Majors and Minors

Requirements for the Major
Requirements for the Minor
Combined Majors
Sample Majors

Requirements for the Major

The department's strengths in comparative study, textual and social analysis, philosophy, theory, and cultural history allow students to balance close study in one area with a broad investigation of the field we name "religion." Working closely with an advisor in the department, majors construct a cluster of five courses that relate to one another in a coherent fashion (#1, below) and support the senior thesis. To complement this depth, they select four courses that lend breadth to their studies in religion (#2). Students considering Religion as a major should contact the chair or a member of the department in their sophomore year to begin planning their programs.

The Religion major requires twelve courses, as follows:

1) Major cluster: five intermediate or advanced courses, including one seminar. As many as two of these courses may come from other departments, and individually supervised research (V 3901-2: Guided Readings) may also be included. This cluster of courses may be organized around a particular tradition or geographic area: Hinduism, Islam, Religion in America, etc. Alternatively, students may design clusters that focus on a set of related subjects and concerns, such as: Religion in New York; Religion in theory and practice; Religion and culture; Religious texts and histories; Religion, women, gender; and Religion, race, nation, ethnicity.

Yet these are only exemplary. Students are urged to design their own clusters, supplementing departmental listings with religion-related courses posted on the Barnard Religion Department's website as Religion Related Courses. Courses taken outside of the religion department must be approved by the student's advisor or department chair. Several sample majors are posted on the Barnard Religion Department's website.

2) Breadth: four Religion courses - either lecture or seminar - that lend geographical, historical, and/or disciplinary range to a student's program.

3) One semester of the Juniors' Colloquium (V3798, V3799), engaging major theoretical issues in the field.

4) The two-semester Senior Research Seminar (BC 3997-8), which must be taken in sequence, beginning in autumn and continuing through the spring, and which structures the experience of preparing a senior thesis. Students work together in this seminar to develop, critique, and accomplish their research projects, submitting a formal proposal and partial draft in the fall, and completing the research and writing in the spring.

The department encourages study abroad, particularly in summers or in one semester of the junior year, and is eager to help facilitate internships and funded research. These possibilities often contribute very meaningfully to the senior essay project.

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Requirements for the Minor

A Religion minor comprises five Religion courses at any level, one of which must be Religion V3799, Juniors' Colloquium. In addition, students are encouraged to include among the remaining four courses at least one seminar. Students intending to minor in Religion should contact the department chair.

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Combined Majors

Combined majors are offered with the programs in Human Rights and in Jewish Studies.

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Sample Majors

I. Religion in Theory and Practice (East Asian Religion)

1. Major Cluster

RELI W4010 Chan/Zen Buddhism
ASRL W4840 Pilgrimage in Asian Religious Practice

RELI V3410 Daoism
* or *
HSEA W4881 Gods, Ghosts, and Ancestors: Social History of Chinese Religion

RELI V2405 Chinese Religious Traditions
* or *
RELI V2415 Japanese Religious Traditions

ANTH W4114 Anthropology of Religious Beliefs & Practices
* or *
ANTH V3035 Religion in Chinese Society

2. Breadth

RELI BC1801 Introduction to Western Religions
RELI BC1802 Self & Society in Asian Religions
ASRL V3974 Hindu Goddesses
TIBT W4550 Understanding Modern Tibet

3. Juniors' Colloquium

RELI V 3798 or 3799

4. Senior Research Seminar

RELI BC 3997 - 3998

II. Religion, Women and Gender

1. Major Cluster

RELI V4340 Religion, Gender, and Literature: Muslim Women Write Islam
RELI V4824 Gender and Religion
RELI V4120 Gender in Ancient & Medieval Christianity
CLEN W3910 Women, Religion, Human Rights
ASRL V3974 Hindu Goddesses
* or *
SOCI V3350 Religion and Social Change

2. Breadth

RELI V3120 Introduction to the New Testament
RELI BC1802 Self & Society in Asian Religions
RELI V3602 or V3603 Religion and American Culture I and II
RELI V2305 Islam

3. Juniors' Colloquium

RELI V 3798 or 3799

4. Senior Research Seminar

RELI BC 3997 - 3998

III. Religion in New York

1. Major Cluster

RELI W4660 Religious History of New York
RELI W4620 Religious Worlds of New York City
RELI W4215 Hinduism Here
RELI W4640 Religion in the American Public Sphere
ANTH BC3868 Ehtnographic Field Research in NYC
* or *
RELI V3860 Sociology of Religion

2. Breadth

RELI BC1801 Introduction to Western Religions
RELI BC1802 Self & Society in Asian Religions
RELI V3603 Religion & American Culture II
RELI [several possibilities]: A course on a religious tradition that particularly interests the student but in a non-local setting

3. Juniors' Colloquium

RELI V 3798 or 3799

4. Senior Research Seminar

RELI BC 3997 - 3998

IV. Judaism

1. Major Cluster

RELI V2505 Judaism
RELI V3501 Hebrew Bible
RELI V3502 Judaism in the Time of Jesus
RELI V3850 Life after Death
* or *
RELI W4505 The Beginning of Jewish Mysticism
ENRE BC3810 Literary Approaches to the Study of the Bible*

*Courses in Jewish History, Sociology, or Literature at Columbia or at JTS may be substituted with advisor's approval.

2. Breadth [a wide variety of course may be substituted]

RELI V2105 Christianity
RELI BC1802 Self & Society in Asian Religions
RELI V2305 Islam
RELI [several possibilities] A course in any religious tradition or theme of interest outside of Judaism

3. Juniors' Colloquium**

RELI V 3798 or 3799

4. Senior Research Seminar

RELI BC 3997 - 3998

** 4 credit seminar course.

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