Guide for New Students

Religion (RELG)

Chair: Professor Lori Pearson

The study of religion in all its facets is central to the goals of a liberal education: fostering a deeper understanding of what it means to be human by examining how people in diverse times and places have developed ideas and practices related to what is most real and valuable in human life. At Carleton, the study of religion is pursued as a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary field of inquiry within the humanities and social sciences.

Can I major in it? Yes, a major is offered.  Please view this link to see more regarding the Religion major at Carleton.

Topics explored: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Native American religions, the religions of East Asia, and the relation between religion and, e.g., culture, politics, gender, philosophy, and ethics.

How to get started: Recommended courses for first-year students include:

  • RELG 110: Understanding Religion
  • RELG 120: Introduction to Judaism
  • RELG 121: Introduction to Christianity
  • RELG 122: Introduction to Islam
  • RELG 150: Religions of South Asia
  • RELG 151: Religion in Chinese Culture
  • RELG 152: Japanese Religion and Culture
  • RELG 153:  Introduction to Buddhism
  • RELG 160:  Hebrew Bible
  • RELG 165:  Jesus, Paul, and Christian Origins.

Why Study Religion?

Click here to log onto the web site sponsored and developed by the American Academy of Religion and funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc.  It contains possible answers to the "why study religion" question and much more.


Judaic Studies (JSTD)

Contact: Professor Stacy Beckwith, Director of Judaic Studies

What is it? What topics are explored?

Judaic Studies at Carleton invites students to explore historical and contemporary manifestations of Jewish Civilization in diverse cultural contexts from the perspectives of many different modern academic disciplines. These include the study of Jewish history, thought, religion, literature, and socio-cultural experience.

Can I major in it?

No major or concentration is offered in Judaic Studies alone, however students may petition for a special major in Judaic Studies or take a concentrated program within a major in Religion. Some Judaic Studies courses are offered on a regular basis by the Religion Department. Other courses with a focus on Israel and its global Jewish heritage and connections are offered on a regular basis in English translation through the Hebrew program.  For other courses, please look at the Middle Eastern Languages (MELA) Department

How to get started:

Look for Judaic focused courses in the Religion Department and through the Hebrew program, talk with Professor Stacy Beckwith about literature and culture courses.

Off Campus Study

Every year the Jonathan Paradise Israel Experience Fund provides up to three scholarships that can help students study in university or learning institute programs in Israel for an academic term or during the summer.

In 2011-2012 we offered our second two-week winter break program in Israel, “Religion and Literature in Israel."  Professor Newman and Professor Beckwith taught linked Judaic Studies courses in the fall: “The State of Judaism in the State of Israel” and “Discovering Literary Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.” Students from these courses participated in a two week winter break program in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and back at Carleton they completed research projects culminating in a symposium on Israeli national identity during Winter term.