Major Exploration: Religion

Welcome to the Religion Department

An overview of the learning opportunities available to students through the Religion Department at Amherst College.

Welcome to the Religion Department

Exterior of Chapin Hall, a red brick, two-storied building
Religion courses are fascinating liberal arts courses that take a nimble interdisciplinary approach to the most fundamental and enduring questions and concerns in the history of humanity and across the globe. Our courses are open to everyone and tend not to have prerequisites or enrollment caps, and while 100-level courses are a good place to start, students should also consider 200 and 300 level courses even if they have never taken a Religion class before. All of our courses are open to first-year students.

We recommend that students interested in the academic study of religion take RELI 111, Introduction to Religion, early in their college career (note that this course is offered in the Fall only, and is typically required for the Religion major). But it is not a matter of department policy that this course is a student’s first course in Religion, and we urge beginning students to take any course that appeals to them. 

We also recommend that students who major in Religion and who plan to write an Honors thesis take RELI 210, What is Religion, Anyway? Theories and Methods in Religious Studies (offered in the Spring only, and also required for the Religion major) prior to their Senior year. This course is an excellent choice for nonmajors as well, and anyone interested in big theories about what religion is.

Learn more about the major