The department encourages its majors to study off-campus as a way to get a feel for religion "on the ground" in various parts of the world, and the majority of Religion majors do in fact participate in off-campus programs. Although the department does not offer a regular off-campus studies program, it does on occasion, most recently the winter break program Faith and Fiction: "Exploring Israeli National Identity." Students also have the opportunity to participate in consortia and other non-Carleton programs. Off campus studies experiences have had a significant impact on understanding religion and have also directly contributed to comps projects.
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A sampling of programs Religion majors have participated in:
- The ISLE program in Sri Lanka
- The Carleton literature program in Ireland
- The SIT Tibetan Studies program in India Nepal, and Tibet
- A University of Iowa program in Mysore, India
- The Antioch Buddhist Studies program in Bodh Gaya, India
- A Nanzan University program in Nagoya, Japan
- The SIT program in Nicaragua
- An SIT program in Oaxaca, Mexico
Other programs that are popular are the ACM Chicago Program: Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Urban Studies, the SIT environmental studies program in Ecuador, and the ACM India: Culture, Traditions, & Globaliation.
When to Study Abroad
Majors most often study off-campus during the fall of their junior year, but other arrangements are possible. If a student wishes to study off campus during the fall of senior year (or the summer before senior year, with the following fall term taken off), he or she must petition the department, and must be prepared to have made substantial headway in planning for comps by the end of the spring term of the junior year.
While no two off-campus programs are exactly alike, a typical semester-length program will yield 27 Carleton credits. Of these, a certain number may be applied toward the Religion major, depending upon the content of the courses and the nature of the work done. Students are urged to plan their off-campus study vis à vis the major in close consultation with their academic advisor. They are encouraged in particular to orient independent study projects toward religion, but regular courses may count for department credit, too. Credit is awarded after one's return, upon submission to the department chair of course syllabi and work done on the program. Typically, credits awarded toward the major have ranged from 3 to 12.