University of Minnesota

Department Name: 
Religious Studies
Approximate Enrollment (entire institution): 
Number of Religion Majors: 
Number of Full-Time Departmental Faculty: 
Public Institution?: 
Related to a religious denomination or body?: 
Which best describes the institution?: 
Grants bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees
Department offers undergraduate coursework in ministerial preparation (either a track, a minor, or a major)?: 
Department or institution offers masters programs in religious studies or theological studies?: 
Department or institution offers doctoral programs in religious studies or theological studies?: 
Description of Undergraduate Major: 

Religious ideas and practices shape behavior throughout the world.  Those who have a deep understanding of religion—how its features interact with and depend upon social and cultural contexts—are in a better position to grasp the salient aspects of religiously-based communication and interactions.
The religious studies major provides a knowledge base that is essential to understanding contemporary society. It exposes you to the diversity of the human experience, with respect to not only ideas and beliefs but also ritual and community practices and institutional arrangements. The field of religious studies draws from a number of academic disciplines. CLA's relgious studies major was designed as an interdepartmental major to reflect this characteristic of the field.

The Religious Studies Major:
•Allows you to bring together perspectives, approaches, questions, and expertise from many disciplines
•Trains you to critically analyze and understand religions as historical, social, discursive, and cultural phenomena
•Provides you with a range of analytical tools to understand texts, traditions, and the ways that religion shapes everyday life
•Offers in-depth knowledge of particular traditions and time periods
•Gives you maximum flexibility to design a program that addresses your interests

You will study the range of religious phenomena by:
 •Interpreting religious texts
•Tracing the development of institutions and practices
•Examining the experiences and histories of specific communities
•Exploring the intersections between religious ideas and practices and their social and cultural contexts

The religious studies major offers two tracks. Track I (Religion, Culture, and Society) offers opportunities to focus thematically on the social or cultural contexts and ramifications of religion. Track II (Text and Traditions) allows in-depth, text-based focus on a specific religious tradition.

Both tracks require:
•1 preparatory course
•2 upper division courses taken regardless of track
•1 four-course area of concentration