Professor: Alles (Department Chair), Assistant Professor: Stoddard
Areas of particular teaching interest: Professor Alles: religions of South Asia and the ancient Mediterranean world, indigenous religions, methods and theories in the study of religions; Assistant Professor Stoddard: American religious history, religion and law, religion and public policy, prisons, and methods and theories in the study of religion .
The academic study of religion exposes students to a variety of nonsectarian theoretical and methodological approaches they can apply to the study of religious practices, material objects, rituals, texts, beliefs, mythologies, and ethics. The Religious Studies Department at McDaniel College offers a variety of courses designed to encourage students to think critically and analytically about the world’s diverse religious traditions. Students of religion therefore gain more than knowledge of various religions; they learn valuable analytical skills and knowledge of world history that they can apply practically after graduation. Our faculty is trained in a variety of religious traditions, which allows the student to gain a comprehensive exposure to religions small and large, present and past, near and far.
A student who completes a major in religious studies will be able to: identify an intellectual problem pertaining to religion as a human phenomenon; bring knowledge of religions and academic traditions in the study of religions to bear upon the problem; and propose, communicate, and defend a solution. In keeping with these objectives, the major in religious studies includes (a) a required core of courses to develop critical thinking skills with respect to religion and general knowledge of religions and (b) elective courses in which students may pursue their own interests. Most students will take the Senior Seminar in Religious Studies as their capstone experience. Selected students may complete this requirement with Collaborative Research in Religious Studies. Students who wish to graduate with honors in Religious Studies must write a Senior Thesis.
Students often find courses in Religious Studies helpful in broadening their perspectives not only on religion but also on the world. A major or minor in Religious Studies is often a good way to broaden or globalize a primary major.
The Baltimore-Washington area is home to a particularly wide variety of religions. In addition to sponsoring films, speakers, and other cultural events on campus, the Department regularly supplements course work with visits to religious institutions in the area.
Other Educational Options in Religious Studies: Special programs combining Religious Studies with other disciplines.
Please see the Education section under Curriculum in this catalog for teacher certification requirements in Religious Studies.
Students who have a 3.50 GPA in courses in the major, a 3.20 GPA overall and write a Senior Thesis with a grade of A– or higher receive departmental honors.