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Religious Studies Major

Program Description

The Department of Religious Studies is dedicated to the study of religions as historical and cultural phenomena. It examines the history, texts, artifacts, beliefs, values, and rituals of a variety of religious traditions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Inherently interdisciplinary in its approach, religious studies explores religions in light of related fields in the humanities and social sciences such as anthropology, classics, archaeology, sociology, philosophy, and history.

Because religious pluralism plays an important role in teaching the value of diversity, our department is committed to bringing a broad range of perspectives into the study of religion.

We offer a wide variety of undergraduate courses ranging from large introductory classes to advanced seminars, as well as independent studies and an honors thesis program for qualified students.

Requirements For The Major

Students must complete nine courses in religious studies. Six of those courses must be completed with a grade of C or better. The courses students select must meet the following parameters:

  • All majors must take RELI 697, the capstone course on themes and methodologies in religious studies.
  • At least two courses must be numbered above 400.
  • Students must take at least one course in each of three of the department’s subfields:
    • Ancient Mediterranean Religions
    • Islamic Studies/Religions of Asia
    • Medieval and Early Modern/Historical Studies
    • Religion and Culture
    • Religion in the Americas

For further information on each Religious Studies subfield, including courses offered, please refer to the undergraduate catalog.

Religious Studies Major – Jewish Studies Concentration

Program Description

The B.A. in Religious Studies (Jewish Studies Concentration) allows students at Carolina the opportunity to make the study of Jewish history and culture the centerpiece of their undergraduate experience. This is the first official undergraduate degree program in Jewish Studies to be offered by a public institution in the state of North Carolina.

Requirements for the Major (Jewish Studies)

Core Requirements (please see the Undergraduate Catalog for information on the specific course categories listed below):

  • JWST 100/RELI 123, Introduction to Jewish Studies
  • JWST 697, Capstone Course: Themes and Methodologies in Jewish Studies
  • One course on the ancient period
  • One course on the medieval or early modern period
  • One course on the period from 1750 to the present
  • At least three courses taught outside the Department of Religious Studies

Additional Requirements

  • Students must take two courses at or above the 400 level, exclusive of the capstone seminar (JWST 697)
  • Two courses on Hebrew language (Biblical or Modern)

For a detailed description of the program requirements, including a master list of courses, see the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies website.

Religious Studies Double Major


Religious Studies is a field that complements other disciplines, and many students therefore choose to pursue it as their second major. The Department of Religious Studies welcomes second majors, and students often combine Religious Studies with the following fields:

  • Anthropology
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Classics
  • Drama
  • English
  • Exercise and Sport Science
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Psychology

Students interested in a double major may discuss these options with the Director of Undergraduate Studies.