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Classical, Middle Eastern, and Asian Languages and Cultures

Religious Studies

Contact: Miryam Segal

Religious Studies is an interdisciplinary program housed in the Department of Classical, Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures (as of January 2014). This academic field attempts to treat religion—religious text, experience, practice, theology—from a nonpartisan and scholarly standpoint.

The Religious Studies Program draws its faculty and courses from both Arts and Humanities and the division of Social Sciences, and from the disciplines of anthropology, art history, history, philosophy, sociology, and from the language and literature departments, especially CMAL.

In addition to offering different disciplinary perspectives, the program encourages students to explore a variety of religious traditions, and offers courses in Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Roman religion as well as comparative courses. Our program also provides students the opportunity to study ancient and medieval works relevant to Religious Studies in the original languages (Classical Chinese, Classical Arabic, Biblical Hebrew and Latin).

In the next few years there will be many additional offerings in the Religious Studies Program, as well as some changes in requirements. Students considering a religious studies major or minor are urged to consult with the director.


Major in Religious Studies

The major consists of 36 credits.

Core Curriculum (18 credits)
RLGST 101, 102, and 390, and ENGL 381; either SOC 221 or PHIL 116, and either HIST 211, MES 160, or RLGST 103.

Of the remaining 18 credits, students must select 12 from one of the following four distribution groups (a list of approved courses in each group is available in the program office).

Comparative Religion

Students must select courses in at least two but no more than three religious traditions. Traditions include Christian, East Asian, Islamic, Jewish, and polytheistic.

Religion, Literature, and the Arts

Students must select 6 credits in literature and 6 credits in the Art Department and Music School. Courses in this group will study religious and cultural history through art, literature, and music with religious content.

Religion and Culture

This group of courses in the social sciences will study the relationships between culture, ethnicity, religion, and society.

Religion and Philosophy

This group of courses will study the relationship between religion and philosophy using individual and collective philosophical viewpoints.

The remaining 6 credits may be selected from any of the approved courses. At least 12 credits must be at the intermediate or advanced level (numbered 200 or above). Courses in religious studies (RLGST 211, 212, 213, and 260) may be used to fulfill requirements for any of the four distribution groups.


Minor in Religious Studies

The minor consists of 21 credits.

All minors must take RLGST 101 and 102, and either SOC 221 or PHIL 116. Out of the four distribution groups listed above, students must take 6 credits from one and 6 from another for a total of 12 credits, 9 of which should be at the intermediate or advanced level (courses numbered 200 or above).


 Office Information

Miryam Segal
Department Chair
Location: King Hall, Room 203
Phone: 718-997-5570
Fax: 718-997-5577

Faculty and Staff Information


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