Why Study Religion at New College?

As a student studying Religion at New College, you will work closely with your faculty advisor to devise a plan of study that matches your interests and goals. You will also learn to be self aware as you explore questions that engage both religious faith and practice. Our students tell us this freedom to drive their own education energizes their studies. As one New College Religion professor said, “I love teaching religion because we help our students engage this complex, important and often neglected area of academic thought.”

Religion area of concentration

“One of the most interesting challenges we face in global diplomacy today is the need to fully understand and engage the great impact that a wide range of religious traditions have on foreign affairs. I often say that if I headed back to college today, I would major in comparative religions rather than political science. That is because religious actors and institutions are playing an influential role in every region of the world and on nearly every issue central to U.S. foreign policy.” — John Kerry, Secretary of State (2013-17)

The main goals of the religion program at New College are as follows: to encourage critical thinking about religious traditions, ideals, rituals, and practices; to develop empathetic insight into the fundamental ideas and values of other peoples, times, and places, which are key to any effective communication with those outside one’s own culture and time; and to foster critical self-consciousness about the values and commitments of one’s own age and society and thus learn about the historically developed content of one’s own culture as well as that of others.

In light of the pivotal role religion has played in shaping selves, societies, and cultures from ancient times to the present, the program provides the beginning student with an understanding of the complexity of religious phenomena and offers the advanced student a variety of methods appropriate to such study.

What Can I Do with a Religion AOC?

Assistant Professor of Religion Manuel Lopez Zafra discusses the Religion area of concentration.


Independent Study Opportunities

Students work on independent study projects (ISP) during the January Interterm. Drs. Neggaz and Lopez also offer calligraphy and mindfulness ISPs, respectively, which students can join.


The Jane Bancroft Cook Library at New College is home to a broad assortment of books, scholarly journals, national and international databases, and other print and electronic media related to the study of religion and is available to students throughout the year. A full list of the Religion databases found at the library can be accessed here.

Also available at the library is the Dr. Helen N. Fagin Holocaust Collection. Named in honor of Holocaust survivor and New College benefactress Dr. Helen Fagin, the collection holds materials related to the Holocaust, genocide and humanitarian studies. The Fagin room can be reserved for occasional small meetings connected with the collection.

You might also be interested in…

The annual Klingenstein Lecture features a guest lecturer in Judaic Studies.

New College hosts the Biennial New College Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Studies, which draws top scholars in history, literature, art history, philosophy and other fields. Students have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with the scholars and attend the conference presentations.

New Topics New College is a public lecture series that runs from October through March. Free to students, the series features guest speakers discussing a wide range of current topics and issues — local, national and international.

Recent Research

Calligraphy ISP

A student assignment from Dr. Neggaz’s Arabic and Calligraphy Independent Study Project.


Associate Professor of Religion
Florida State University

Law partner in public finance
Orrick, New York City

Tidewell Hospice & Palliative Care.

Staff Attorney, community legal service
Community Law Center, Baltimore, Maryland

Studying Religion at New College

ISP students learning to beat stress, boost focus

A group of New College students are learning how to better cope with the stress of college life by spending several hours a week in meditation and practicing other stress reduction techniques. They’re even getting credit for it.

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More Information

Religion Curriculum

View the requirements for an AOC in Religion and see sample pathways to graduation.

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Undergraduate Program

New College of Florida offers more than 40 different majors in humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, as well as a number of interdisciplinary concentrations.

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