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Majors and Minors in Religion

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.

Course Majors:

  • Religion (RELG)
  • Religion and Critical Theory (RLCT)
  • Religion and Healing (RLHE)
  • Religion and Nature (RLNA)
  • Religion and Performance (RLPE)
  • Religion and Politics (RLPO)


  • For all majors, students are required to take 8 credits total in Religion, including the Religion Café Senior Symposium in the fall of the student's senior year. The Religion Café will be a one-credit seminar style course and will include a term essay assignment. Successful completion of the Religion Café will be the culminating requirement for the course majors. 
  • In principle, every course prefix potentially counts toward fulfilling one of the Department's six majors. For example, a course marked RLHE can still fulfill requirements for the Religion and Nature major when deemed appropriate.
  • To minor in Religion, students are required to complete five Religion credits. It is also strongly recommended (but not required) that minors enroll in the Religion Café Senior Symposium.
  • For requirements for Honors in Religion, see

It is recommended that majors and minors take one introductory course:

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 advisor 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.