Temple University’s Department of Religion provides its undergraduate majors and minors with sound disciplinary knowledge of the content of the world’s leading religious traditions, and with the understanding and ability to apply important theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of religion. The Department designs its curriculum and instruction to concomitantly ensure the development of three fundamental student skills, which may be employed both in and beyond the study of religion: 1) critical analysis and reflection; 2) research methodologies; 3) communications. Instruments to measure the delivery of these are programmed in our required entry-level course and capstone seminar.

Disciplinary Knowledge


  • Understand the cultural and political contexts in which at least three religions (one “Western”, one “Eastern”; and one “Indigenous”) emerge;
  • Understand the fundamental belief systems of at least three religions (one “Western”, one “Eastern”; and one “Indigenous”);
  • Identify four (Creed, Cult, Code, Community) to seven (Doctrinal, Mythological, Ethical, Ritual, Experiential, Institutional, Material) features of at least three religions (one “Western”, one “Eastern”; and one “Indigenous”) and explain their interrelationships and functions;
  • Understand the relationship between religion and society in at least one contemporary nation state.

Theory and Method

  • Knowledgably define “religion” and critically assess the value of at least six leading definitions of religion in academic literature;
  • Demonstrate sound familiarity with the key notions to three important theories of religion (e.g., Marxist, Durkheimian, Eliadean, Geertzian) and critically assess the value of each;
  • Understand the implications of contemporary theoretical perspectives in the social sciences and humanities (e.g., feminist; postcolonial; postmodern, critical race, queer) for the study and understanding of religion;
  • Demonstrate the ability to employ at least two theoretical approaches to the interpretation of religion with effect.

Student Skills

Critical Analysis and Reflection

  • Comprehend the relationship between (ethnographic, archaeological, visual, linguistic, and/or textual) data and theory;
  • Identify the central argument(s) of a scholarly text and its key premises, and assess said argument(s) in terms of truth, validity, and soundness.

Research Methodologies

  • Demonstrate the ability to formulate research problems, collect and analyze data, and soundly interpret results;
  • Demonstrate effective competence in evaluating bibliographic resources and assessing the scholarly worth of textual sources, and competence in accessing such resources and sources through key research avenues.


  • Write an essay effectively arguing as to the nature of religion and logically support one’s position with at least three clearly articulated premises and references to substantive examples;
  • Deliver an effective public presentation of one’s own research on a subject in religious studies.