The Religious Studies Major
The best advice when choosing a major is: “Follow your calling.” By selecting a major that draws you in, you will be more likely to work hard and learn all that you can: that is the best education you could get anywhere. We hope that you will choose to get that education in the Department of Religious Studies at Westmont College.
At Westmont every RS major takes a core of seven upper-division courses in the department, beyond the introductory GE courses that all Westmont students are required to take. This core of upper-division
courses include the following:
RS-119: Early and Medieval Christianity
RS-120: Reformation and Modern Christianity
RS-142: World Religions
One Old Testament course (RS-101, 102, 106, 108, 124, 154)
One New Testament course (RS-110, 111, 113, 114, 116)
RS-180: Senior Seminar (senior year; earlier only by petition)
Majors then choose five elective courses, one of which may be from another department if the course has substantial religious studies content.
We encourage students to concentrate these five elective courses in one of three areas of emphasis:
Biblical Interpretation (including Hebrew and Greek and upper-division Old and New Testament courses), where you study biblical contexts and writings in depth, perhaps in their original languages.
Theology and History (including various eras and topics in church history, apologetics, spiritual formation, interdisciplinary theology, philosophical theology), where you learn what followers of Jesus Christ have believed and how they have lived throughout history and today.
World Religions and Christian Mission (including other religious traditions, history of mission, mission and globalization, and philosophy of religion), where you specifically prepare to witness the gospel in a global context and study other religions in the context of our increasingly global culture.
The major is flexible enough to allow internships and practica, as well as study in an off-campus program offered either by Westmont faculty or another institution. Some RS majors add a minor or second major such as philosophy, history, English, biology, chemistry, sociology or mathematics.
Come join us as we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.
Westmont’s on-line catalog has more detailed information on the specific course requirements for the different areas of emphasis within the Religious Studies major. The RS Major Checklist also summarizes these requirements.
The Religious Studies Minor
Majors in other disciplines may wish to continue in religious studies beyond the Common Contexts courses. Through a Religious Studies or Biblical Languages minor, a student can pursue deeper exposure to biblical studies, theology, church history, mission, or world religions. This can “continue the conversation” between religious studies and other fields within the Christian liberal arts, especially the student’s major field. A minor can also prepare students for graduate theological education, for teaching and other kinds of service in Christian ministries, and simply for a better understanding of the gospel and the abundant life iit grants.
For an RS minor, students take RS-151 (History of World Christianity) and sixteen other units in upper-division religious studies. The minor’s flexibility allows students to tailor it to complement their majors, reflect their gifts and callings, or work around other activities such as off-campus programs.
The Biblical Languages minor offers twenty units in biblical Hebrew and Greek. At least eight units in each llanguage are recommended. Four units can count toward a major in Religious Studies.