Skip to main content

Course Major and Minor

Students in a classroom

To study religion is to open a portal onto the best and the worst that we humans are capable of creating. Contrary to predictions, religion has not "gone away" because it taps into one of the most basic truths about being human: man does not live on bread alone.

General major requirements are 8 credits in religion, including the Senior Symposium (Religion Cafe). In addition to completing (at least) eight religion credits, students who major in religion are free to take a variety of courses of their own choice, in consultation with the department and their departmental adviser; however, students are required to take one introductory course.  Majors are also required to enroll in the Senior Symposium: Religion Café, in the fall of the student's senior year. Successful completion of the Religion Cafe will be the culminating requirement for the course major. For all religion majors the Religion Cafe will be a one-credit seminar style course and will include a term essay assignment.

Recommended introductory courses include:

Students may choose to write a thesis. Those seniors who desire to complete a one-credit thesis or a two-credit thesis as part of the major will need to obtain permission from a faculty adviser in consultation with the department. For majors, this exercise will not substitute for the Senior Symposium.

With department approval, up to three courses cross-listed but not housed within the Religion Department may count toward the major. Only one such cross-listed course will count toward the minor. Up to two non-Swarthmore courses (i.e., courses taken abroad or domestically) may count toward the major; only one such course is permissible for the minor. 

Admission to the Course Major
The Religion Department considers two areas when evaluating applications: overall GPA and quality of prior work in religion courses. Applicants are sometimes deferred for a term so the department can better evaluate an application for the major (generally it is expected that students will have taken two courses in religion before being accepted into the major/minor). A student's demonstrated ability to do at least B/B- work in religion is required for admission to the major in course.