Religious Studies

Religious Studies

At Le Moyne College, the academic study of religion plays a key role in the search for meaning and value. Such study encourages students to think more critically and creatively about their beliefs and practices, as well as about the beliefs and practices of others. Religious traditions influence societies and cultures just as social and cultural concerns challenge religious conventions. Responsible citizenship requires accurate knowledge of religion and religions to respond thoughtfully to the complexities of the contemporary world. Through the academic study of religion, we expect our students to become critical and compassionate thinkers and agents in that world, a world at once troubled and wondrous. Faithful to the College’s Catholic Jesuit identity, the religious studies department affords students opportunities to search for meaning and value in the study of Scripture, the history of Christianity, Catholic theology and religious ethics. Faithful to the College’s Catholic Jesuit intellectual tradition, the department invites students to discover meaning and value in human culture through the study of Islam, Judaism, Native American traditions, Asian religions and new religious movements, as well as through the study of religion in relation to science, the media, the paranormal, sexuality and gender, corporate responsibility and ethics from the perspective of the oppressed. Our courses approach the study of religion as an interdisciplinary project that draws on theology, history, anthropology and sociology, among other disciplines. Because the College’s mission charges the Le Moyne community to promote a more just society, some courses incorporate service learning: students examine their service-related experiences in critical dialogue with Catholic theology or other religious traditions.


Religious Studies Major

A student wishing to major in religious studies must complete 30 credit hours (10 courses) in religious studies: REL 200 (three credits), three REL 300-level courses taken for major credit (nine credits); four REL 300 or 400 elective courses (12 credits); a REL 400-level course (three credits); and the Religious Studies Colloquium (three credits). The student must also complete foreign language study through the intermediate level. Upon declaring a religious studies major, students will receive a copy of the departmental learning goals. Students and their advisers will use these goals as a guide in selecting courses. Students will demonstrate progress toward the goals by compiling work drawn from each semester into a portfolio for review by members of the department. During the senior year, in the context of the religious studies colloquium, students will reflect on that progress in a concluding assessment essay.


Departmental Honors in Religious Studies

In accord with 1988 guidelines approved by the academic dean, department chairs and program directors, declared religious studies majors with a 3.0 G.P.A. overall and a 3.25 G.P.A. in religious studies courses may pursue departmental honors, provided they have also demonstrated the potential to complete a research paper at least 25 – 30 pages in length.

During the fall semester of junior year, the departmental chair will invite eligible students to apply. The candidate for the departmental honors degree will determine a general area to research and choose a mentor from among the full-time members of the department with appropriate expertise. The mentor will direct the student as (s)he develops a proposal for the project. The proposal must include a well-formulated research question, description of methodology, a bibliography, a tentative outline and title, and criteria for evaluation. The mentor and two other members of the department must approve the proposal before spring registration. The student will then register for REL 490 (Departmental Honors Project). During the fall semester of senior year, the student will complete a rough draft of the project under the mentor’s guidance. On or before the last day of classes, he will submit a copy of the rough draft to his mentor and to the chairperson of the department.Under the mentor’s guidance, the student will complete a revision of the proposal during the spring semester. By April 1 (or a date agreed upon at the beginning of the process by student and mentor) the student submits a final draft of the project, along with evaluative criteria, to the examination committee. The chairperson of the department is responsible for establishing the examination committee; it typically includes the mentor and two other department members. In addition, as a matter of courtesy, (s)he formally invites the Faculty Committee for Integral Honors to participate in the defense. (S)he schedules the date, time and place and publicizes the event widely on campus. The defense date should be early enough to allow for any necessary revisions required by the examination committee. After the defense, the mentor, in consultation with the department chair and the examination committee, decides how well the student’s project has met its evaluative criteria and departmental standards.

Upon a successful defense and completion of any revisions, the student is eligible for departmental honors at graduation.


Religious Studies and Education Programs

The religious studies department in collaboration with the education department offers a major program for those who plan a career in elementary education or teaching religion. The program consists of a major in religious studies with a minor in education. A student’s program is designed after consultation with the chairs of both departments. Students who plan a career in elementary education, special education or teaching English as a second language, may receive New York state certification with a major in religious studies and a minor in education. For a typical schedule, please see below.


Religious Studies Minor

A student wishing to minor in religious studies must complete 15 credit hours in religious studies.


Catholic Studies Minor

The interdisciplinary minor in Catholic studies offers an understanding of Catholicism and the role it has played in the formation of worldviews, economic systems and social arrangements in various cultures. Participants learn how Catholicism has contributed to and been shaped by historical and cultural events, particularly in the Western hemisphere.


 More Resources

For information about major requirements and course descriptions, please see the Le Moyne College catalog.

For information about the Core Curriculum, please visit the Core webpage.

For information about the Integral Honors program, please visit the Honors Program webpage.

For information about study abroad and internship opportunities, please visit the Career Advising and Development webpage.

For information about student research opportunities at Le Moyne and the annual Student Scholars Day, please visit the Student Research webpage.

For more information about academic advising and new student orientation, please visit the Office for Academic Advising and Support webpage.

For more information about academic calendars and registration procedures, please visit the Office of the Registrar webpage.

For information about the College of Arts & Sciences, please visit the Arts and Sciences homepage.