Our faculty expects Religion Majors, as well as other students in Religion classes, to learn about the vast diversity of faith traditions of the past and present. Students also become experts in interdisciplinary methods for studying religions--textual, archaeological, gender-based, visual, philosophical, anthropological, historical--among others.
Our typically small classes allow faculty to work closely with students and get to know them as scholarly colleagues in the study of the world's religions, especially in the two courses required of every Major:
REL 301 - Introduction to the Study of Religion, which teaches students key concepts in Religious Studies (such as “comparison” or “experience”).
REL 401, the capstone seminar required in the final year of studies. In this seminar, students draws on the skills, methods, and insights that accumulated throughout their undergraduate years. Each Seminar student develops and writes an original research paper on a topic of his/her choice related to the seminar theme. Each year, REL 401 is taught by a different professor on a selected broad theme (such as religion and the body; visual religion; comparative religion; etc.) The seminar format promotes the close collaboration of graduating majors and faculty members in lively class discussions as well as the research and re-writing process.
Student success in their elective courses indicates that Religion Majors have learned how to investigate, discuss, and interpret (through writing and other media) religious phenomena in a cross-cultural, historical, and interdisciplinary perspective.
No matter what our Majors decide to do with their education and what careers they choose, we prepare Religion Majors to leave USC with all the skills that creative, capable, thinking citizens need to negotiate our fast-changing world.