The major in religious studies is a cooperative program offered jointly by Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, Pomona, and Scripps Colleges. The program of study is designed to serve both as a focus of a liberal arts education and as a foundation for students planning to pursue the study of religion beyond the baccalaureate degree. Students may enroll in religious studies courses offered at any of the undergraduate colleges, and advanced students may, with permission, enroll in master’s-level courses in their concentration at Claremont Graduate University. All students who decide to major in religious studies should obtain a member of the religious studies department as advisor and plan their courses in consultation with their advisor.
While offering a broadly based and inclusive program in the study of religion for all liberal arts students, the religious studies major affords the opportunity for more specialized work at the intermediate and advanced levels in, for example, particular historic religious traditions, geographical areas, philosophical and critical approaches, and thematic and comparative studies. Students may choose such concentrations in consultation with their religious studies advisor. Language study appropriate to the concentration and a period of study abroad are strongly encouraged.
The Department of Religious Studies recognizes the importance and legitimacy of personal involvement in the study of religion, but it does not represent or advocate any particular religion as normative. Rather, the aim is to make possible an informed knowledge and awareness of the fundamental importance of the religious dimension in all human societies—globally and historically. In addition to preparing students for graduate study in religion, the multidisciplinary nature of the major affords students intellectual training to enter a variety of fields and careers. Recent graduates are, for example, in schools of law, medicine, and business. Others have careers in management, journalism and the media, college administration, primary and secondary education, government, and health and social services.
Primary Contacts: Professor Gary Gilbert, Department Chair