Courses in religious studies are designed to contribute to a liberal education, one that emphasizes the ability to think independently and critically, to express oneself effectively in writing and speaking, to make careful judgments on the basis of explicit goals and values, and to understand Western traditions and their relation to other traditions.
The interdisciplinary minor in religious studies offers courses that explore some of the major western and non-western religious traditions in terms of their major historical movements and figures, dominant conceptual concerns, and central ethical and social implications. The complexity of religious belief is approached comparatively, from sociological, historical, literary and philosophical perspectives, in terms of traditional and contemporary perspectives.
A minor in religious studies is selected by students who see the study of religion as a doorway to understanding human nature and history, and hence an appropriate focus for a liberal education. Other students choose the minor as a background and preparation for a career, generally in fields such as social work, education, youth work, law, or seminary.