A course should meet any of the following criteria to qualify for inclusion in the Religious Studies program:
- The course has as its focus texts, traditions, and practices that are devoted to the sacred, the transcendent, the spiritual, and the eternal, as opposed to the temporal and the immanent.
- The majority of the readings in the course are dedicated to religious experience, or the materials are analyzed according to the categories of the sacred, the transcendent, the spiritual, and the eternal.
- The majority of the course undertakes the rational analysis of religious concepts, doctrines, practices, or experience.
- The majority of the course examines the history of religions, traditions, institutions, cultural practices, texts, and ideas, focusing on the role of religion in shaping culture in the past as well as the present.
- The majority of the course reflects upon the ethical and philosophical issues central to religious life, such as the nature of the divine or the problem of evil and suffering.
NOTE: All courses in the program must accord scholarly attention to religious forms of life and subject them to rigorous analysis, i.e. the lectures should not be sermons, nor should the observance or practice of a technique, such as meditation, serve as the content of the course. Also, courses that make objective truth claims about the nature of the divine, good and evil, salvation, enlightenment, etc., or those that provide instruction in specific religious practices are not eligible for inclusion in the Religious Studies program.
The process of approving courses for the program will be handled by the Director in consultation with the Steering Committee.