Religious Studies Major

Study the religious dimension of cultures historically and globally.

As a Religious Studies major or minor, take an academic journey of acquiring awareness and understanding of religious dimensions, traditions and their significance across cultures and historical periods.

You’ll examine religion through various vantage points by taking both a broad range of interdisciplinary courses and making focused, critical inquiries into particular historic religious traditions, geographical areas, philosophical and critical approaches, and thematic and comparative studies.

Courses at any of the 5Cs are open to you and advanced students may, with permission, enroll in master’s level courses in their area of specialization at Claremont Graduate University.

In class with Professor Oona Eisenstadt
In class with Professor Oona Eisenstadt
In class with Professor Erin Runions
In class with Professor Erin Runions
In class with Professor Zhiru Ng
In class with Professor Zhiru Ng

What You’ll Study

    • Four courses in a concentration
    • Three courses outside your concentration
    • A senior seminar and senior thesis
    • Language study appropriate to your concentration recommended
You can choose from 126 interdisciplinary courses for your religious studies major or minor.

Learning at Pomona

Rachel Marandett

Studying the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Rachel Marandett '20 constructed a method to apply Holocaust discourse to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by visiting the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., traveling to Czech Republic and Morocco, and working with the NGO Genocide Watch.

Talia Ivry

Studying Abroad in Israel

Talia Ivry '21 spent her summer in Israel learning about Abrahamic religions, and participated in an archaeological dig in Akko.

Renee Susanto

Religion in Politics

Renee Susanto '21 spent the summer in Indonesia, where she studied the role of religion in Indonesian politics and the connection between ethnic and religious minorities.

Talia Ivry ’21

In an academic context like Pomona, religious studies is not about indoctrination or theology, but about exploring the effects of religion on people, institutions, and thoughts, both historically and at the present moment. In other words, in religious studies classes, you’ll never ponder the question ‘Does God exist?’ but rather, ‘If God exists, why do people suffer?’ (in Professor Darryl Smith’s Problem of Evil class), or ‘How has belief in God shaped our world?

Faculty & Teaching

Among our Religious Studies faculty members are professors awarded for their excellence in teaching. We have experts on a range of topics, including gender and sexuality studies and the Bible, corporate polytheism, modern Jewish philosophy, women and Islam, and Chinese Buddhist art. 

Professor Erin Runions

Religious Studies enlarges students’ perspectives through examination of religious and secular world views, rituals, ethics and philosophies. It is an interdisciplinary field that looks as much at culture, politics and materiality as it does at religious doctrine. Our courses trouble inherited notions of self and other, even as they ask students to engage diverse traditions, practices, histories and power relations.