BA.REL - Religion
Kristin Swanson (department head)
Studying religion at Luther College equips students to be global citizens in a diverse and changing world. The academic study of religion helps students become competent in religious literacy and provides analytical tools for understanding how religion creates, maintains, and challenges social, political, and economic structures and institutions. By taking religion courses, students wrestle with some of life’s biggest questions and examine religion’s complex role in society throughout history.
The study of religion at Luther is not limited to the classroom. Study abroad courses and field trips provide a variety of experiences, such as having tea with a Zen master in a mountain temple in Japan, joining Muslims for Friday prayer in Copenhagen, meeting survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, talking to liberation theologians in Latin America, and participating in interreligious engagement in South Africa. Internships provide further opportunities to learn in specific contexts and explore possible careers.
The requirements for the religion major and minor are listed below. Students planning to major or minor in religion should consult with faculty in the department.
Required for a major: Eight 4-credit courses, distributed as follows: One core course from each of the following four categories: Texts (courses numbered 101-114); Traditions (courses numbered 215-229); Issues (courses numbered 230-249, excluding 239); and Interactions (courses numbered 250-265); one course numbered 300 or higher (excluding 380 and 381); one seminar (REL 485); and two electives from departmental offerings in religion. One of the electives may consist of a 4-credit REL 395. A senior project is also required.
Reflection and Synthesis: A junior year eportfolio requirement where students reflect on their work in the major; make connections between their work in the major and other curricular and co curricular learning, as well as possible vocational/avocational aspirations; and prepare for the senior project.
Core: The core of the religion major is divided into the following four categories:
Texts: Courses in the category explore the nature, development and ongoing interpretation of foundational religious texts. Attention is given to how such texts continue to shape, while also being shaped by, the religious communities that use them.
Traditions: Courses in this category explore the history and formation of particular religious traditions or sub-traditions. Attention is given to the communal, political, and legal structures of these traditions, as well as the contemporary challenges and controversies within them.
Issues: Courses in this category explore the engagement of religious communities and worldviews with contemporary issues of public concern. Attention is given to ethics and to the intersections between the study of religion and other fields of knowledge.
Interactions: Courses in this category explore cross-cultural or interfaith issues. Attention is given to how religious communities, worldviews, and practices are impacted by encounters with other communities, worldviews, and practices.
Required for a minor: Five 4-credit courses, distributed as follows: core course from each of the following four categories: Texts (courses numbered 101-114); Traditions (courses numbered 215-229); Issues (courses numbered 230-249, excluding 239); and Interactions (courses numbered 250-265); one course numbered 300 or higher (excluding 380 and 381).