Course Requirements

Course Requirements

The Religion Major consists of 30 credit hours in approved Religion courses.

Specific requirements include:

1.  [3 credits] Religion 101: Introduction to World Religions

2.  [3 credits] One course from among the following list:

Religion 103: The Abrahamic Religions

Religion 117: Introduction to Christian Theology

Religion 201: Judaism

Religion 206: Christian Beginnings

3.  [3 credits] One course from among the following list:

Religion 210: Islam

Religion 283: Hinduism

Religion 284: Buddhism

4.  [3 credit] Religion 401: Guided Research – the senior capstone course

5.  [9 credits] Three additional 300 or 400 level Religion courses.  Two of these must be Religion courses (excluding Religion 499).  The third may be  another 300 – 400 level Religion course, Religion 499 (Internship), Philosophy 301 (Medieval Philosophy) or Anthropology 318 (Anthropology of Religion) in this category.

6.  [9 credits] Three additional courses in Religion at any level.  You may also count here Philosophy 301, Anthropology 318, and Classics-Philosophy-                               Religion 299 (Mysterium Humanum).

Undergraduate Research

The Program in Religion values undergraduate research and has designed its curriculum towards that end.  Most upper level Religion courses involve individual research topics chosen by the student.  Research abilities developed in these courses lead into the program’s senior capstone course, Religion 401 – Guided Research (see below).  Religion 401 offers senior Religion majors the opportunity to use the skills acquired in their studies in the research and writing of a thesis on a topic of their choice under the guidance of an individual faculty member.

In addition, individual research efforts can be arranged either through Individual Study in Religion (RELG 491/492) or the undergraduate research course option URES 197.   In the former students conduct s research on topics of their choosing in consultation with individual faculty members.  In the second option, the student works on a faculty member’s research project and completes research tasks connected with that project as determined by the faculty member.  These courses are set up individually with faculty members.

Guided Research in Religion: Religion 401

The Religion Program’s capstone course, required of all majors, may be taken in the Fall or Spring semester of the senior year.  Students select topics in religion that they wish to explore and the professor with whom they wish to work.  Students are encouraged to choose topics on which they have already worked in other courses so as to facilitate their research efforts.  Research proceeds in consultation with the student’s chosen adviser.  In addition, those taking the course will meet regularly together during a semester as a group with the professor of record to discuss their progress and questions that arise.

The research culminates in the production of a 25-30 page research paper.  After turning in the paper, course participants gather with friends and their invited guests for a Senior Thesis Evening in which they present their research to their fellow students. 


Religions emerge and develop within a language-specific culture.  As a result, in-depth study of a particular religion requires the acquisition of the language(s) in which the religion’s traditions appear.  While there is no language requirement specific to the Religion major, students interested in preparing for graduate study in certain areas are encouraged to begin acquiring the necessary languages.  Because all students at the University of Mary Washington must meet a language requirement as part of their General Education requirements, many students complete this requirement by studying languages that are also important to the study of religions. Greek and Latin are available within the department through its Classics Program.  In addition, various Religion faculty have expertise in Farsi, Quranic Arabic, and Sanskrit, all of which have been taught in the past.