MAJOR IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES
Students who major in Religious Studies gain expertise in the history and practices of religious traditions, encountered from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, and in theoretical discussions across multiple domains: from literature and the arts, to ethics and philosophy, to politics and global affairs. Students also learn how to engage with sources critically and sensitively and to communicate their ideas and arguments clearly.
If you declared your major prior to August 1, 2023, your degree requirements are under our previous model and can be found here.
Completing a major in Religious Studies requires thirty credits (generally completed over 10 courses). The degree requirements for the major consist of four parts:
First, over the course of your major you’ll take three required courses:
- RELG 1000* Questions in the Study of Religion
- RELG 3730 Introduction to Theories and Methods in Religious Studies
- RELG 4500 Majors Seminar
Second, you will choose at least three courses that will provide you with a concentration.
Third, you will take two additional courses outside your chosen concentration to provide breadth.
Fourth, by completing the three requirements above, you will have taken eight three-credit courses. Therefore, you'll need to take at least two more courses on any topic in Religious Studies ("electives") to meet the thirty-credit requirement for the major.
Please note that three of your ten courses must be at the 3000 level or above. RELG 3730 counts towards this requirement, but RELG 4500 does not. At least one of your 3000+ level courses must be in your concentration.
We will consider up to two courses from outside the UVA Religious Studies Department (study abroad, courses from other departments at UVA, etc.) to count towards the major. Courses taught by UVA Religious Studies faculty in other departments generally can be integrated without counting towards this total. Each outside course must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Programs.
Here’s a worksheet to help you plan your major:
The University Registrar's official description of the Religious Studies major can be found here.
Instructions on how to declare Religious Studies as your major are here.
*Note that you can take two courses designated as introductory courses instead of RELG 1000; these courses cannot then be used to fulfill other requirements. Currently, the only courses pre-approved for this exception are RELG 1010 and RELG 1040. We may add other courses to this designation in the coming months. Please check in with the DUP if you have any questions regarding this requirement.
Students with any questions about the major are encouraged to reach out to the Director of Undergraduate Programs for the department, Prof. Noah Salomon, or to one our department's Undergraduate Peer Advisors.