Academics: Majors and Programs

Religious Studies Major

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The religious studies program at Spelman College offers students the opportunity to engage in the academic, interdisciplinary study of religion. Courses explore the nature of religion as a significant phenomenon of human life. Religion is studied by analyzing sacred texts, by examining the histories of distinct religious traditions, and by exploring the general interaction of religion with social and cultural life in diverse settings. Focus is also placed on the roles of women in religions and on the meanings of religion in the African Diaspora.


A major in religious studies consists of 44 hours.

Required Core Courses
• REL 111 Introduction to the Study of Religion (4)
• PHI 220 Introduction to Philosophy (4)
• REL 380 Theory and Methods in Religious Studies (4)
• REL 480 Senior Project (4)

In addition to the core courses, each major must complete at least two courses in two different religious traditions – two historical introductions to two different traditions from Area II and two corresponding electives from either Area I, II, or III. Each major must complete at least one course in each of the three curricular areas. 

• Area I: Sacred Texts: at least one courses in this area is required (4)
• Area II: History of Religions: at least two courses in this area are required (8)
• Area III: Religion and Culture: at least one course in this area is required (4)

The remaining courses shall be electives.

• Corresponding Electives (4-8)
• Open Electives (4-8)


Upon completion of a major in religion, a student should be able to
1. demonstrate understanding of the academic study of religion,
2. identify and analyze various methods in the study of religions,
3. understand historical developments of a variety of religious traditions, including the roles and statuses of women within the traditions,
4. demonstrate knowledge of the critical developments of a variety of religious traditions in the African Diaspora,
5. demonstrate critical writing and reasoning skills, especially in regard to roles of religion in social life,
6. identify and critically assess her participation in religious traditions and institutions as a Black woman.

Religious Studies Honor Society

Theta Alpha Kappa is the only national honor society that serves those involved in the study of religion and/or theology at both the baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate levels. It honors students who have shown promise for continued growth in the study of religion. The society aims to further the study of Religion by encouraging research, good teaching, publication and intellectual and social exchange among students, teachers, and writers in the field as well as with persons in other scholarly disciplines.