For students entering IWU in fall 2021 and beyond, Religious Studies is no longer
available as a major or minor.
The major and minor programs in religion invite students to consider the nature and
definition of religion; to assess and apply critical theories and methods; and to
practice comparative, constructive, and empathetic analysis of texts, rituals, and
The religion major prepares students for the graduate study of religion leading to
careers in college teaching and research, as well as the ministry. Because of its
flexibility, the religion major is suitable as a second major. Both the major and
the minor effectively complement majors in history, sociology, English, or philosophy.
Required classes are grouped in four categories:
: Courses that examine religious texts from historical-critical perspectives in order
to help students gain knowledge of the historical circumstances of particular religious
texts, apply analytical and evaluative reading skills to them, and understand the
major academic interpretive paradigms for their study.
History of Religions
: Courses that focus on the describable elements of religious traditions, particularly
within their social, cultural and historical contexts, with the goal of discerning
the categories of religious phenomena and the values embedded in them by the participants.
Through these courses, students may begin to understand the complexity of individual
religious traditions and the religious communities supporting them, as well as the
comparability of religions across cultures.
: Courses that deal with issues in religious thought from both a critical and a constructive
standpoint in order to help the student gain knowledge of the fundamental issues in
religious thought (ethical, philosophical, and theoretical), understand competing
approaches to the study of these issues, and evaluate and analyze these the issues
from varying perspectives.
: Courses that examine theories regarding the nature, meaning, and function of religion
as well as a variety of critical methods for its study. Themes for study may include
theories of the sacred; the relationship between religion and society; and the tension
between explanatory and descriptive modes of study.
Major Sequence: A minimum of nine course units in religion to include:
- one course unit from 130, 323, 325, 334, 335
- one course unit from 104, 132, 204, 231, 304, 330, 331, 332, 333, 342
- one course unit from 106, 241, 242, 324, 341
- one course unit from 290, 291, 292, 294 (expected completion by junior year)
- four additional course units chosen in consultation with an advisor
- senior project (one course unit): 490
Every religion major is required to complete a supervised research project during
their senior year under the supervision of a faculty member in Religion. Topics are
determined by the student in consultation with his/her advisor. In addition to focused
research into a selected topic, projects include a component on methodologies in the
study of religion, with instruction from members of the department faculty. All projects
culminate in the creation of a final research essay.
- No more than two of the nine course units may be taken at the 100 level; at least
four must be at the 300 level or above.
- Optional tenth course: 491 (does not count toward major)
Minor Sequence: Six course units as follows:
- two course units from two of the following categories:
- 130, 323, 325, 334, 335
- 104, 132, 204, 231, 304, 330, 331, 332, 333, 342
- 106, 241, 242, 324, 341
- one course unit from 290, 291, 292, 294
- three additional course units
- At least two of the six course units must be taken at the 300 level or above.
- No more than two 100-level courses can be counted toward the minor.
Minor in Religious Diversity