Division of Social Studies


Updated August 23, 2019



Advising Faculty


1.     Shai Secunda (director)

2.     Bruce Chilton

3.     Richard H. Davis

4.     Nora Jacobson Ben Hammed

5.     Matthew Lynch

6.     David Nelson

7.     Dominique Townsend





At Bard, the study of religion is undertaken as an interdisciplinary examination of various ways in which religion operates in and affects life. Courses in the program approach religion through multiple questions and perspectives, including the study of scripture, the performance of religion in everyday life, intersections of religion and politics, religion and material culture, and the evolution of concepts like tradition, modernity, and secularism. Moderation in religion equips students in the key methods and approaches in the humanities and social sciences while also familiarizing them with central doctrines, practices, and narratives of major religious traditions.



Program Requirements


Students are required to take three courses in religion prior to Moderation, and three elective courses in religion thereafter. In total, courses must be taken in at least three of the religious traditions offered in the Bard curriculum: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. After Moderation, enrollment in Sacred Pursuits is ideally required of juniors, while seniors must enroll in the Religion Colloquium in addition to the Senior Project.


Students are encouraged to take courses relevant to the study of religion offered by other programs, such as anthropology, sociology, psychology, theology, literature, historical studies, philosophy, and gender and sexuality studies. Courses outside the program that centrally involve religious issues or texts may, in consultation with the adviser, be counted as religion courses. Students are also expected to study a language relevant to the particular religion or area of study upon which they intend to focus for their Senior Project. Relevant languages taught at Bard include Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Latin, and Sanskrit.


Moderation Guidelines:


1.     REL elective course

2.     REL elective course

3.     REL elective course


Graduation Guidelines:


4.     REL elective course

5.     REL elective course

6.     REL elective course

7.     Language relevant to the religion or area of study that Senior Project will be focused on

8.     REL 317 Sacred Pursuits: Seminar in the Study of Religion

9.     REL Colloquium concurrent with Senior Project

10.   Senior Project I

11.   Senior Project II



The Senior Project in the Religion Program will ideally be the culmination of the studentís investigation of religion at Bard and should reflect a sustained analysis of a carefully defined topic in the critical study of religion.


Requirements for concentration in the program include any two courses in religion prior to Moderation, and two elective courses in religion thereafter. In total, courses must be taken in at least two different religious traditions.