Brandeis has a variety of academic programs and departments that address religious and spiritual issues. Some Departments and Programs focus on one religion while others are more comparative.
NEJS is the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies Department. Courses focus on Judaism as well as Arabic, Islamic, and Christian civilizations. Many courses also cover the politics, history, and literature of the Ancient Near East. This department was established in 1953 to offer courses about cultures in the Ancient Near East. At the time of its founding, the focus was on Judaism. This focus has expanded since that time and today offers the largest number of religion-focused courses at Brandeis.
Department Website: http://www.brandeis.edu/departments/nejs/index.html
Major Requirements: http://www.brandeis.edu/departments/nejs/undergraduate/majors/index.html
Minor Requirements: http://www.brandeis.edu/departments/nejs/undergraduate/minors/index.html
IMES is an acronym for the Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Program. The program focuses on providing students with a specialized curriculum on Islam while also providing courses about different institutions in the Middle East. Students are expected to learn about both the classical and modern eras of the Middle East and also a Middle Eastern language. IMES was first listed as a program in the 1981-82 academic year and at first was just a mixture of Arabic courses and NEJS courses. As time passed, the IMES department created its own courses and started to create a more organized and concrete program that focused on Islam. Now the IMES program mixes language courses, NEJS courses, and its own courses to offer a broader curriculum.
Department Website: http://www.brandeis.edu/programs/imes/index.html
Major Requirements: http://www.brandeis.edu/programs/imes/undergrad/index.html
Minor Requirements: http://www.brandeis.edu/programs/imes/undergrad/minor.html
The Religious Studies Program offers a minor for undergraduates at Brandeis. Unlike the NEJS Department and IMES Program, the Religious Studies Program offers few of its own courses. Instead, it allows students to take courses on religion related topics in departments including NEJS, IMES, Sociology, and Anthropology. The Religious Studies Program is the youngest religion-focused program at Brandeis.
Department Website: http://www.brandeis.edu/programs/religious/index.html
Major Requirements: http://www.brandeis.edu/programs/religious/major.html
Minor Requirements: http://www.brandeis.edu/programs/religious/minor.html
The Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program is a graduate program at Brandeis. It provides courses and training interested in becoming Jewish leaders. Courses focus both on the history of Judaism and contemporary Jewish affairs to prepare students for careers in Jewish leadership. Students also meet and interact with current Jewish leaders. This program was opened in 1969 and named after donor Benjamin S. Hornstein. First intended to train Jewish students who wanted to join the field of Jewish communal service, the program has expanded since that time.
Department Website: http://www.brandeis.edu/hornstein/index.html
Graduate Programs: http://www.brandeis.edu/hornstein/graduate-programs/index.html
Although these departments are not specifically focused on religion, they offer courses on related topics of interest to students interested in the academic study of religion. Some of these courses can be taken to fulfill major and minor requirements for religion-focused programs. In the case of the Religious Studies minor, students can find various courses in religion in these other departments to build a curriculum with their advisors.
In order to find these courses, look through the online course catalogue by searching these departments/programs:
Comparative Literature and Culture
East Asian Studies
European Cultural Studies
History of Ideas
The Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program
International and Global Studies
Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Near Eastern and Judaic Studies
Peace, Conflict, and Coexistence Studies
South Asian Studies