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Harvard drops proposed mandatory religion course


BOSTON (RNS) — Harvard College students don’t need a religion requirement after all, following a recommendation of a key faculty panel which had proposed in October making coursework in “reason and faith” mandatory for all undergraduates.

Now, after soliciting professors’ feedback, the Task Force on General Education is calling instead for required coursework in the area of “what it means to be a human being.”

“Courses dealing with religion ... can readily be accommodated in other areas,” the nine-member panel wrote in a Dec. 7 letter to members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

To satisfy the newly suggested requirement, students could take courses in such areas as evolutionary biology, cognitive sciences, social sciences, religious thought, art, literature, or philosophy.