The Curriculum in
The curriculum is the essence of any university. It consists in what students formally study in all stages from the undergraduate to the research professor. It determines the character of the university far more than any structure of government, methods of teaching, or social organization. Indeed, these latter are largely shaped by what is studied and whyitisstudied.
— George P. Grant
Religious studies is best understood by its existence as a department within the contemporary university. It represents, as do all academic departments and programs, the range of subjects accredited for advanced study by the Senate of the various universities. The unique local characteristics of the universities in the Atlantic region have played a major role in the setting of priorities for the design of departments and their degree programs. Now, bearing in mind George Grant's assertion that the curriculum defines what a university is, we shall look at religious studies in the Atlantic region from the perspective ofthe content of each department'scurriculum.
The religious studies curriculum has been a perennial topic of discussion among university teachers in the field. It has been the subject of periodic panels and frequent formal and informal discussions at the meetings of the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion/Société canadienne pour l'étude de la religion. The American Academy of Religion has for years dedicated a section of its annual conference to curriculum, course themes and pedagogical techniques appropriate to the field.
Several factors combine in the construction of a department's curriculum. The faculty in each department must determine what can be taught out of the whole field at the introductory and advanced levels in their curriculum. That