The School of Religion at Trinity tackles the big questions facing humanity by seeking to understand the roles of religion, peace-making and theology in their historical settings as well as in contemporary life. Students on the Religion track can study the world’s religions, explore biblical studies and religions in antiquity, discover theologies for today’s world, and debate the big ethical and political issues of the day.

In your first year of study, ten modules help to immerse you in this field of scholarship. Classical religious texts – the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and the Qur’an – are introduced in their historical contexts. You will study Judaism, the religions of the ancient Mediterranean world, and the Dharmic religions of India. You will be introduced to ethics, philosophy and the study of religion, as well as theology through an engagement with some of their major thinkers, texts and methods.

In your second year, modules offer an increasingly focused and state-of-the art engagement in your chosen field. Different genres of literature and historical reconstruction are addressed in biblical studies. Theology looks both to the emergence and reception of classical doctrines, as well as to topical issues of religion and science, and theology and social justice. The field of ethics is explored through issues of sport and media ethics, religion, gender and human rights, and concerns around bioethics, technology and sexuality. There is an opportunity to study Islamic philosophy, mysticism and education. During these years it is also possible for you to study Hebrew or Greek.

At Columbia, students will have the option to complete their major in Religion or Philosophy while simultaneously adding breadth to their education through the Core Curriculum. The Department of Religion's curriculum is designed to engage students in critical, comparative, and interdisciplinary exploration of religious life. The faculty's research and teaching build upon the shared understandings that religion continues to be a central and influential component of human life, society, and politics—and that, furthermore, religious transmission and authority are constantly being shaped in dynamic interactions with other religious traditions, societies, and cultures. Courses and seminars in religion teach students how to analyze and investigate religious texts, histories, beliefs, bodies, and communities using a variety of disciplinary and methodological approaches.

Students are encouraged to conduct their studies by exploring one or more zones of inquiry. These are focus areas integrated in the departmental curriculum that complement the tradition-based approaches. They provide broad and alternative frames that aim to identify problems, chart trajectories cutting across different field specialties, and set parameters for theoretical and methodological questions. The zones are: Time (History, Modernity), Transmission (Tradition, Memory, Institutions), Space (Place, Geography, Virtual Space), Body (Materiality, Mind, Bio-ethics), and Media (Transportation, Information, Communication).

Majors in religion gain a foundation in the study of religious traditions in both historical contexts and zones of inquiry, all grounded in theoretical and methodological debates that shape academic and public discussions about religion. Lecture courses, seminars, and colloquia are designed to balance students’ growing understanding of particular religious topics, dynamics, and traditions with intensive engagement with critical theoretical, political, and philosophical debates. Students are encouraged to pursue a course of study in which they develop breadth and depth, as well as the tools and expertise to pose (and even answer) necessary questions about religious phenomena of the past or present.

As part of the Trinity degree, students participate in an intensive summer school at Trinity where they study the intersection of human rights and religious traditions. In the final year, a research project is undertaken for Trinity that allows students to explore in-depth an area of interest.