2020-21 Pomona College Catalog 
    Jun 24, 2024  
2020-21 Pomona College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG] Use the dropdown above to select the current 2023-24 catalog.

Religious Studies

Professor Zayn Kassam, department chair
Intercollegiate Coordinating Committee: Professors Dyson (HM), Espinosa (CM), Salés (SC), Johnson (PZ), Kassam

Professors Alwishah (PZ), Eisenstadt, Espinosa (CM), Humes (CM), Johnson (PZ), Kassam, Ng, Runions
Associate Professors Chung-Kim (CM), Dyson (HM), Gilbert (CM), Michon (CM), Smith, Velji (CM)
Assistant Professor Salés (SC)
Stauffacher Fellow Reznik
Lecturers Irish, Martinez (CM), Rose
Visiting Stauffacher Fellow Reznik
Laurie Johnson, academic coordinator


The Religious Studies Major is a cooperative program offered jointly by Pomona, Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer and Scripps Colleges. The program of study is designed to serve both as one focus of a liberal arts education and as a foundation for students planning to pursue the study of religion beyond the baccalaureate degree. Students may enroll in religious studies courses offered at any of the undergraduate colleges and advanced students may, with permission, enroll in master’s-level courses in their area of specialization at Claremont Graduate University.

All students who decide to major/minor in religious studies should obtain a member of the religious studies department as advisor and plan their courses of study in consultation with their advisor.

While offering a broadly based and inclusive program in the study of religion for all liberal arts students, the Religious Studies major affords the opportunity for more specialized work at the intermediate and advanced levels in, for example, particular historic religious traditions, geographical areas, philosophical and critical approaches and thematic and comparative studies. Students may choose such concentrations in consultation with their religious studies advisor.

The Department of Religious Studies recognizes the importance and legitimacy of personal involvement in the study of religion, but it does not represent or advocate any particular religion as normative. Rather, the aim is to make possible an informed knowledge and awareness of the fundamental importance of the religious dimension in all human societies—globally and historically. In addition to preparing students for graduate study in religion, the multidisciplinary nature of the major affords students intellectual training to enter a variety of fields and careers. Recent graduates are, for example, in schools of law, medicine and business. Others have careers in management, journalism and the media, college administration, primary and secondary education, government and health and social services.

The Religious Studies major consists of nine courses plus senior thesis, including two required courses, four courses that will form a concentration, and three courses that give breadth (see details below).

Concentrations. Students should work out concentrations in consultation with their advisor. Examples of concentrations include but are not limited to: religious traditions (e.g. Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Indigenous Traditions); philosophy of religion, theology, and ethics; gender and sexuality studies; historical period; or geographical area (e.g. Asian Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, religion in the Americas), etc. These are examples only; students are encouraged to design their own concentrations.

An interdisciplinary major in gender & women’s studies (GWS) and religious studies is also offered (see the GWS  section of this catalog).

Language study appropriate to the specialized field and a period of study abroad when possible are strongly encouraged.



1On leave fall 2020 2On leave spring 2021 3On leave 2020-21

Theta Alpha Kappa

Pomona College is a member of The Claremont Colleges’ chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa, a national honorary religious studies society. Students are elected to membership on the basis of academic standing and regulations for eligibility established by the chapter and the national society. For further information, contact Professor Kassam.



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