Department of Religion
- Judith Weisenfeld
Director of Undergraduate Studies
- Seth A. Perry
Director of Graduate Studies
- Andrew Chignell
- Leora F. Batnitzky
- Wallace D. Best
- Andrew Chignell
- Eric S. Gregory
- Martha Himmelfarb
- AnneMarie Luijendijk
- Elaine H. Pagels
- Stephen F. Teiser
- Judith Weisenfeld
- Muhammad Q. Zaman
- Jonathan C. Gold
- Shaun E. Marmon
- Seth A. Perry
- Moulie Vidas
- Gabriel M. Citron
- Bryan D. Lowe
- Tehseen Thaver
Visiting Associate Professor
- Hiroki Kikuchi
- Denys A. Turner
Information and Departmental Plan of Study
Any course offered by the department.
A sophomore may apply for early concentration through consultation with the departmental representative.
Program of Study
For the Classes of 2021 and beyond, the requirements are as follows (Class of 2020 and prior should consult the appropriate archived version of the Undergraduate Announcement):
Concentrators are required to complete at least nine religion courses taught by department faculty (including visitors to the department of religion) by the end of their senior year. Courses taken prior to declaring a Religion major count toward this total. In addition, students are encouraged, but not required, to take two approved cognate courses in other departments. The cognate courses will be calculated into departmental honors. The departmental representative must approve cognate courses.
Normally, each term juniors and seniors will take two courses offered by the department.
During the fall of their junior year, majors will enroll in REL 399, the Junior Colloquium. REL 399 is a for-credit course which counts toward a student’s nine religion courses for the major and their total number of courses for graduation.
Students will select at least one course from each of the following five subfields of the faculty:
- Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean: Judaism and Christianity from Antiquity to the Middle Ages: 230, 251, 252, 350, 352, 353, and occasional courses
- Religions in the Americas: 258, 319, 357, 358, 360, 367, and occasional courses
- Religion and Critical Thought: 242, 261, 311, 312, 317, 346, 347, 363, 364, and occasional courses
- Islam: 235, 236, 240, 328, 334, 335, 336, 338, and occasional courses
- Religions of Asia: 225, 226, 228, 229, 322, 326, and occasional courses
Students will take three additional courses taught by department faculty. At least one of these courses must be a course designated “Critical Approaches to the Study of Religion.” At least one such course will be offered every academic year. Please note: Critical Approaches courses do not double-count for subfield distributions.
Critical Approaches and subfield designations appear in the list of undergraduate courses posted on the department web site in advance of each term: https://religion.princeton.edu/courses/.
Not all courses satisfy area requirements. A course may be counted toward one area requirement only. In any year it is offered, 373 Studies in Religion will be assigned to the appropriate area.
Religion concentrators are required to take Religion courses for a letter grade. However, once senior religion majors have satisfied all departmental and area requirements, they are allowed to P/D/F departmental courses with permission from the departmental representative. Majors must obtain the written approval of the department representative prior to choosing this grading option.
When registering for the first term of senior year, each student will decide upon a focus of study in consultation with the departmental representative. Possible focuses of study include Japanese religions, Chinese religions, Buddhism, Islam, philosophy of religion, modern Jewish thought, religious and philosophical ethics, social criticism, African American religious movements, gender, sexuality, and religion in the Americas, global pentecostalism, new religious movements, religion and American politics, visual, material, and popular culture in American religions, race and religion in the Americas, Biblical studies, ancient Judaism and Christianity, Rabbinic Judaism, and Gnosticism. Senior independent work will be in the student's focus of study, and two courses must be completed in the focus of study by the end of the first term of the senior year. All changes to the focus of study must be approved by the departmental representative.
In conjunction with REL 399, the Junior Colloquium, during the fall term juniors will produce a five to seven-page JP proposal. During the spring term, juniors will continue this independent research and write a 30-40 page junior paper under supervision of a faculty adviser. The departmental representative, in consultation with the director of the colloquium, will assign advisers. At the end of junior year, students will review their work in the department and discuss with a faculty committee their plans for senior independent work.
Every senior will prepare a 70-90 page thesis under the supervision of a faculty adviser.
Senior Departmental Examination
At the end of the senior year, students will take an oral examination concerning their senior independent work, focus of study, and work in the department generally.
The Department of Religion welcomes study abroad for departmental majors in their junior year. Those juniors who have compelling reasons to study abroad in their fall semester should meet with the departmental representative about their plans, including plans for satisfying REL 399 and their preparation of their Junior Paper proposal. Juniors who study abroad in the spring term will write the required spring junior paper under the supervision of a religion department faculty member. Students are expected to have junior year independent work completed before the start of the senior year. Students must consult with the departmental representative before leaving for their study abroad program.
Preparation for Graduate Study
Those students considering graduate work in religion are strongly advised to develop a reading knowledge of languages most appropriate to their focus of study, for example, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, German, and French.
Religion and Special Programs. Students who wish to combine the study of religion with work in programs should consult the departmental representative. In recent years, religion majors have received certificates in African American studies, African studies, American studies, dance, East Asian studies, European cultural studies, Hellenic studies, Judaic studies, Near Eastern studies, theater, visual arts, and gender and sexuality studies.