Courses and Requirements
The Department of Religion offers students a broad range of course options in recognition of the variety of academic approaches to the study of religion, including courses that engage the category of religion through textual analysis, sociology, historical studies, ethnography, material and popular culture studies, and philosophy, among others. In addition, department faculty participate in many of the college's multidisciplinary programs, including Africana Studies, American Studies, Asian Studies, Environmental Studies, Jewish Studies, and Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and students are encouraged to take advantage of the resources available in these and other programs.
The Religion Department’s goals for all students enrolled in religion courses include:
- Developing tools for understanding and interpreting religions in varied historical, cultural, and social contexts and for identifying and interpreting patterns across religious histories and cultures.
- Engaging critically the various ways in which scholars of religion have attempted to understand and evaluate the nature and functions of religion as a vital force in human society, behavior, and global politics, both in the past and present.
The department encourages all students to apply for Junior Year Abroad. Majors are expected to develop breadth and depth in their studies, both in terms of methodology and traditions.
- Download the Majors Handbook (PDF)
- Download the Thesis Handbook (PDF)
What do students say about the department?
Junior Year Abroad (JYA) Options
The Religion Department encourages study abroad during the junior year. Students must start planning their year abroad in the first semester of sophomore year, but it is never too early to begin researching interesting programs. To help with your search for a program that suits your academic interests, below is a partial list of programs that our majors and correlates have gone on in recent years.
Students must apply to Vassar as well as to the specific abroad program to receive permission to take a semester or year of academic leave. This requires dealing with applications, transcript records, and recommendations, so best not to leave any of this until the last minute.
- Antioch University: Buddhist Studies in India
- Vassar College: Bologna, Italy
- Trinity College: Ireland Study Abroad Program
- South India Term Abroad
- Antioch Education Abroad-Buddhist Studies in Japan
- University of London: School of Oriental and African Studies
- Queen's University of Belfast: Ireland Study Abroad Program
- Antioch University: Buddhist Studies in Bodha Gaya, India
- CIEE Global Institutes: Study Abroad Program
- Carleton College: IFE-Brussels Field Study and Internship Program
- Emory University: Tibetan Buddhist Studies
- School for International Training: Czech Republic-Post Communism and the Arts
- Vassar Wesleyan Wellesley Consortium in Bologna
- Bogazici University: IES Abroad Instanbul
- University of Edinburgh: Study Abroad