Jun 16, 2024  
2021-2022 Catalog 
2021-2022 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Religion and Culture, BA

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Department of Global Humanities and Religions, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

60-66 credits


The BA in Religion and Culture provides scholarly, critical, nonsectarian study of religions. Students study religious beliefs, practices, identities and organizations, and how they have influenced and been influenced by other aspects of society and culture. The degree program includes a broad survey of several world civilizations as a basis for understanding their religious traditions, both as they developed historically and with their modern interactions and transformations. Students study the origin, history, and methods of the academic study of religion. They are introduced to methodological issues in the study of religion, and learn to use methods appropriate to different kinds of problems. The department’s curriculum includes some courses called “Humanities” (HUMA) and others called “Religion” (REL).

The small size of classes and seminars in the Religion and Culture BA program encourages close relationships between students and faculty. Working closely with faculty, students learn to formulate problems clearly, to consider and evaluate different methods and concepts, to do efficient and thorough research, and to write clearly, concisely and effectively, culminating in work in rigorous senior seminars, with the option of writing an individually advised senior thesis.

For information or advising, contact the Program Advisor or the Global Humanities and Religions Department Office.

Why Consider a Religion and Culture Major?

Students in this major acquire skills broadly applicable to professional careers. These include problem solving, critical thinking, research skills, integrative skills, and written and oral communication skills. While preparing students for knowledgeable participation in civic life, these also provide a solid foundation for careers in both public and private settings. Graduates have gone on to a variety of professional graduate schools and fields of work, including teaching, law, library science, archive administration, and research and administrative positions with business and non-profit organizations. The major has also proved to be excellent preparation for graduate academic programs in the study of religion, as well as literature and history.

Students who plan a career in secondary education should contact the department for advising as soon as possible.

 Contact Information

Program Advisor
Holly Folk
Bond Hall 158

Academic Department Manager
Maureen Christman
Bond Hall 152

 Sample Careers

Attorney | Teacher | Professor | Librarian | Writer | Business Administrator | Historian | Non-Profit Organization Administrator | Congressional Aide | Research Assistant | Editor | Lobbyist

 Major/Career Resources


How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

Students interested in the Religion and Culture degree should contact Program Advisor Holly Folk at 360-650-6875 or Holly.Folk@wwu.edu as soon as possible. There are no prerequisites for declaring the major.

Grade Requirements

A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major or minor courses, and supporting courses for majors and minors.

Additional Advising Information:

At a minimum, students should have successfully completed at least two lower division (100 or 200 level) HUMA (Humanities) or REL (Religion) courses by the middle of their junior year, and before taking HUMA 302, which is ordinarily offered only in spring quarter. REL 231 should be taken as soon as possible. And REL 303 should ideally be taken before the end of the junior year, and is, generally offered in winter quarter only. HUMA 302 is prerequisite to the department’s senior seminars (HUMA 421, HUMA 422, HUMA 423, REL 424, HUMA 425, REL 428, HUMA 490, and REL 490). It is also recommended that students undertake study of a language other than English concurrently with the major.


Thesis or Non-Thesis Options

There are two options (thesis or non-thesis) for completing the Religion and Culture BA. Students should choose which option they will pursue by the end of their junior year.

Departmental Honors

Students must choose the Thesis Option to be considered for departmental honors. BA students who have completed REL 498 and REL 499, have a cumulative GPA of 3.3 in their major courses and receive a grade of ‘B’ or higher for their Senior Thesis (in REL 499) will graduate with departmental honors.

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