Undergraduate Program

Director of Undergraduate Studies:

Travis Zadeh


Religious Studies at Yale offers a curriculum of challenging course work that explores and critically analyzes religious traditions and systems of value.  It probes the history and meaning of rituals, canonical texts, and theological categories and how they have been shaped by and construct institutions, habits, hierarchies, and collectives.  The study of religion opens up onto the organization of society , gender roles, global affairs, war, violence, and terrorism.  Its subject matter is studied through multiple disciplinary lenses such as anthropology, history, philosophy, and philology.  Undergraduates are offered courses on Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, and Judaism as well as more general courses addressing competing value systems that circulate in pop culture and politics across the globe.  They include: Fundamentalism, Spirituality, Secularism, Atheism, and Consumerism.

The Department of Religious Studies at Yale is particularly known for its promotion of scholarly research by undergraduates.  Undergraduate majors are expected to acquire the linguistic, philosophical, and historical acumen necessary for an in-depth research project during their senior year.  Religious Studies course offerings, other than freshman seminars, are arranged in four categories.  Group A features general and comparative courses that engage more than one tradition, concept, or text.  Group B includes survey courses that provide a broad introduction to a particular religious tradition or scripture in historical context.  Group C includes courses on specialized topics in religious studies, both introductory and intermediate.  Group D offers advanced courses on specialized topics.  Normally, courses in Groups A to C have no prerequisites while courses in Group D often require the permission of the instructor.  The multidisciplinary nature of Religious Studies makes it an attractive double major.

All students who major in Religious Studies will be required to author a Senior Essay. Students can find this year’s Senior Essay Guide here.

Course Groupings

  • 001 - 099
    Freshman Seminars
  • 100 - 119
    Group A - General, Comparative, and Thematic Courses
  • 120 - 174
    Group B - Surveys of Religious Traditions
  • 175 - 399
    Group C - Topics in Religious Studies
  • 400 - 499
    Group D - Advanced Topics in Religious Studies