The Philosophy, Religion, and Literature minor will require students to complete 15 credit hours of approved course work. These 15 credit hours will normally comprise at least one three-credit Gateway seminar, three three-credit electives, and a three-credit capstone project. Learn more about the current course listings.

Gateway seminar

Students are required to take a three-credit Gateway seminar, either in philosophy and literature or in religion and literature. The minor is thus organized around two parallel but intersecting tracks. A Gateway seminar in each track is offered each academic year, one in the fall, the other in the spring. The purpose of the Gateway seminars, whatever their specific topics may be, is to provide a rigorous introduction to the study of philosophy and literature or religion and literature. Students wishing to register for one of the Gateway seminars should contact the PRL director, Susannah Monta at


In addition to the Gateway seminar, students are required to take three other courses that have been approved for the minor. The minor’s advisor will help students identify courses relevant to the minor and to their own individual interests and needs. 

Integrating the tracks

Students working primarily in one track are required to take one course in the other. Thus, a student focusing on religion and literature is required to take one course in philosophy and literature. That course may be either the Gateway seminar or another course.  If students choose to fulfill this requirement by taking Gateway seminars in both tracks, both seminars will count toward the 15 credit hours needed for the minor. 

The capstone project

For the capstone project, each student, working directly with a professor associated with the minor, will write a research essay of approximately 20 pages on a topic that embraces philosophy and literature or religion and literature, or both. Students are encouraged to consult with a professor who is working in a different subject area from the one on which the advisor has expertise. Thus, if a student’s advisor is in Theology, that student will be encouraged to consult with a literature professor who has some interest in the student’s topic. We recognize that some seniors in the College of Arts and Letters are writing senior theses for their majors. In many cases it is unrealistic to expect such students to write an additional capstone essay. Students in the Philosophy, Religion, and Literature minor who are already writing a senior thesis are allowed to complete the minor by taking a fifth elective course instead of the capstone project, provided that the senior thesis topic in some way resonates with the overall themes of the minor.