Religion Program Requirements

Students of religion at Bard College have, in the last few years, engaged in all the major global traditions by means of critical study and reflection. Choices of tradition are a matter of their personal interest and inclination, but the critical pursuit of understanding connects the work of faculty and students alike. Students may pursue their interests through the offerings of many programs within the College, while honing their skills in the analysis of their own preferred topics, and developing a self-aware perspective of what is involved in studying religions. Faculty offer courses within the traditions of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, as well as comparative and interdisciplinary seminars.  Interpretation, historical investigation, and theoretical evaluation all feature within courses at every level. While the Senior Project represents the culmination of work for majors, those interested in a concentration (or minor) in religion take up the same basic approach, but with a reduced number of requirements.

Course Requirements

The Major in Religion
Prior to Moderation, a student should have pursued three elective courses in Religion, and three after that. Among those electives, at least three traditions among the five that are regularly represented must be addressed. After Moderation, the theoretical course entitled “Sacred Pursuits” is required of Juniors, while Seniors are to take the Colloquium both semesters, as well as the Senior Project.
The Minor in Religion
Any two courses in Religion prior to Moderation, and two elective courses in Religion thereafter. Among those electives, at least two traditions must be addressed. After Moderation, "Sacred Pursuits" is required of Juniors, while Seniors are encouraged to enroll in the Colloquium.

Religion Colloquium

The Religion Colloquium is a two-credit course open to all students, but required for seniors in Religion. The purpose of the Colloquium is to foster a community of scholarship among faculty and students concerned with the critical study of religion, and to prepare public presentations of independent research. Public sessions of the Colloquium will be scheduled three or four times each semester, and students enrolled for credit may take responsibility for preparing papers to present in those sessions.

Language Requirement

Students are encouraged to study a language relevant to the particular religion that provides the focus for their Senior Project. Relevant languages taught at Bard and supported by Faculty in Religion include Arabic, Aramaic, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Latin, and Sanskrit.

Senior Project

Each Senior Project in Religion represents the student's sustained investigation. Both “Sacred Pursuits,” the Junior seminar that develops the critical theory deployed in analysis, and the Colloquium are organized to aid each major in formulating an area for more concentrated study. The Senior Project should reflect a sustained analysis of a carefully defined topic in the critical study of religion.