For those interested in the academic study of religion, our recommendation is that students spend their first year at Linfield exploring topics of interest in a wide variety of disciplines, particularly in the humanities and social sciences; anthropology, philosophy, history, political science, etc. Specific courses in Religious Studies include the following:
Also, INQS seminars being taught by Bill Millar (Muhammad & the Origin of Islam) and David Fiordalis (Meditation: From Monks to Modern Times) are good courses for students to learn about the interdisciplinary nature of Religious Studies.
In addition to gaining a general breadth of knowledge about religion and its academic study, a student who majors in Religious Studies goes into more depth in either one religious tradition (at least) or the religions of one geographically, culturally or historically circumscribed area. Within the department of Religious Studies, we have specific expertise in Biblical studies, Asian religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.) and American religions. For those interested in focusing in Biblical studies, study in New Testament Greek and Biblical Hebrew is recommended early on in order to make use of the languages in their study. For those interested in Asian religions, study of primary languages (Chinese, Japanese, Sanskrit, etc.) is also highly recommended. Please talk to us about how to integrate language study early into your program. A year of study in Greek or Hebrew, for instance, will also satisfy the Linfield language requirement. We also encourage our majors to spend time abroad. Independent studies are also available for interested students.
Our majors write a senior thesis, which allows our students to pursue a particular topic of interest with regular feedback from members of the department.
A number of students choose to minor in Religious Studies, which allows them to link an interest in Religion with some other discipline. The Religious Studies minor requirement is 20 credits, usually five courses. All minors must take RELS 110 (Approaches to Religion) and at least one course from three instructors in the department (Fiordalis, Millar, Snyder, Massey, Bemis).