Majoring in Religious Studies

Religious Studies Certificate

Overview

Religious studies is a traditional component of the liberal arts, but there's little that’s traditional about the program at Connecticut College. You explore many faith traditions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism and Daoism, and delve into relatively new movements, from Mormonism to Rastafarianism. We look at complex issues from different intellectual, ethical and intercultural perspectives. Your work helps you hone your analytical and problem-solving skills. With this preparation, you can succeed in law, government, business, education and many other fields.

Personalized learning

Many religious studies students double major. You might bring an international aspect to your studies by applying to the certificate program of the Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts. Or you can explore the connections between religion, public policy and community engagement through the certificate program of the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy. The religious studies department also works closely with the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity.

Special opportunities

You work closely with professors at every step of your studies, from coursework to internships to research. You can intern with groups like the Pluralism Project at Harvard University and accompany professors on trips to Israel and other locations. You can also help direct the religious studies program by joining our student advisory board.

What can you do with a majorcertificate in Religious Studies?

Here are some of the positions our graduates have gone on to hold:

  • Elementary School Teacher, Greater Hartford Jewish Community
  • Associate Producer, CBS Broadcasting Inc.
  • Associate Director of Major Gifts, Yale University
  • Associate Minister, First Congregational Church of Old Lyme
  • Reference Librarian, Princeton Theological Seminary
  • Director of College Counseling, Concord Academy
  • Program Associate, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
  • Graduate Student, London School of Economics
  • Teacher, Chariho Regional High School
  • Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, University of Missouri
  • Director of Development, American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem
  • Vice President and Dean of Admission, Harvey Mudd College
  • Policy Adviser, New York State Attorney General
  • National Accounts Manager, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill
  • Attorney
  • Senior Communications Associate, Catholics for Choice
  • Senior Editor, DC Comics
  • Store Manager, Bank Square Books
  • Youth Activities Counselor, Disney Cruise Lines
  • Chaplain, U.S. Naval Reserves

Faculty

Roger Brooks, Elie Wiesel Professor of Judaic Studies Roger Brooks, Elie Wiesel Professor of Judaic Studies

Roger Brooks, Elie Wiesel Professor of Judaic Studies  (On sabbatical 2014-2015)
Judaic studies • Rabbinic law and theology • Liberal arts and higher education

Eugene V.  Gallagher, Rosemary Park Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Founding director, 1996, the Joy Schechtman Mankoff Center for Teaching & Learning
Eugene V.  Gallagher, Rosemary Park Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Founding director, 1996, the Joy Schechtman Mankoff Center for Teaching & Learning

Eugene V.  Gallagher, Rosemary Park Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Founding director, 1996, the Joy Schechtman Mankoff Center for Teaching & Learning
History of religion • New religious movements • New Testament and early Christianity • Western scriptures and traditions

Garrett Green, Class of '43 Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies Garrett Green, Class of '43 Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies

Garrett Green, Class of '43 Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies
History of Christian thought • Modern religious thought • The religious imagination • Theological aesthetics • Philosophy of religion

Lindsey B. Harlan, Professor of Religious Studies Lindsey B. Harlan, Professor of Religious Studies

Lindsey B. Harlan, Professor of Religious Studies  (On sabbatical 2014-2015 academic year)
History of religions • Hinduism • Religion and gender • Heroic traditions • Religion in Trinidad

David K. Kim, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Associate Professor in American Studies David K. Kim, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Associate Professor in American Studies

David K. Kim, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Associate Professor in American Studies
Philosophy of religion • Religion and critical theory • Religion and political theory • Modern and contemporary religious thought • Human agency, moral philosophy, and ethics • Religious theory • Asian American studies

Sharon J. Portnoff, Associate Professor of Religious Studies Sharon J. Portnoff, Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Sharon J. Portnoff, Associate Professor of Religious Studies  (On sabbatical 2014-2015 academic year)
Modern Jewish thought • Holocaust theology • Dante • Primo Levi • Israel

Sufia Uddin, Associate Professor of Religious Studies Sufia Uddin, Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Sufia Uddin, Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Islamic studies • Religion in South Asia • Women and religion

Student profile


Nora Britton Nora Britton

Religious studies


Q: What led you to religious studies?
A: I stumbled upon it freshman year when I took "Religion and the Spirit of Politics." It was one of my most challenging, engaging courses. I’ve been able to study a wide range of subject matter, from Dante's Inferno to the Sunni awakening. My professors have a genuine interest in my success, and I've enjoyed their mentorship both inside and outside the classroom.


Q: What type of independent research have you done?
A: Another student and I pursued an independent study with Professor Kim. We examined the ways in which trauma destroys and stimulates world views. I concluded the project with a paper, "On Hearing Trauma" and submitted it to the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest. I am a finalist.


Q: What role has CELS, the College's career and internship program, played for you?
A: My CELS counselor helped me identify internship options, edit cover letters and conduct a mock interview. I interned with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and had a terrific summer in New York City.

Selected courses


  • Holy Books: The Western Scriptural Tradition
  • Religion in the United States
  • Women, Religion and Modernity
  • Christ and Christ Figures
  • Religion and the Discontents of Modernity
  • Islam and the United States
  • Fundamentalisms
  • Muslim Women's Voices
  • Jewish Ethics
  • Religion and the Spirit of Politics
  • Cults and Conversion in Modern America
  • Pilgrimage
  • The Holocaust and Theology
  • Religion, Trauma, Commemoration and Celebration
  • Religious Stories and Practices in Everyday Life

More...


Student research


On Hearing Trauma
By: Nora Britton '14
Advising Faculty: David Kyuman Kim

The Neurological Production of Experiences Deemed Spiritual or Religious
By: Benjamin Allar '13
Advising Faculty: Eugene Gallagher

Incidental Matters
By: Alex Zareki '12
Advising Faculty: Ozgur Izmirli

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