Religious Studies

In the Department of Religious Studies, students study the religious systems of the world in their socio-historical contexts and critically examine the phenomenon of religion as it relates to issues of personal meaning and international affairs.

Religious Studies courses are cross-cultural in scope and multi-disciplinary in nature. Students study all forms of expression of the religious life -- myth, art, meditation, ritual, ideas, festivals, mysticism, etc. -- from individual experience to world religions like Buddhism and Judaism and in small-scale societies like the Lakota of North America or the Semai of Malaysia. The Department of Religious Studies does not consider religious beliefs or practices to be right or wrong, but seeks to understand the ways that religion provides people with meaning in their lives and serves important social functions. 

The Religious Studies program is designed to prepare students for a wide range of career paths by developing abilities that are highly sought after in all professions, such as critical thinking, problem solving and effective oral and written communication. In addition, Religious Studies majors and minors learn information that is highly valuable to the contemporary world such as how to deal with differences in beliefs, cultural practices and contrasting points of view by studying world religions.

Students who have earned a bachelor's degree in Religious Studies pursue a range of careers and graduate studies including ministry, social work, education, social action and business.

Religious Studies students develop the following:

  • Broad knowledge of the history, beliefs, practices, and contemporary dynamics of the world's religious systems
  • In-depth knowledge of at least two specific religious systems in their socio-historical contexts
  • Comparative knowledge of classical and contemporary theories about the origins and functions of religious beliefs and practices in human life and society
  • Practical knowledge of the impact religion has on international affairs and personal lives

Areas of Emphasis

Religious Studies majors may choose to earn their bachelor's degree with an emphasis in the following:

  • Religious Traditions
  • Religion and the Arts & Humanities
  • Religion and the Social Sciences

Points of Distinction

  • As an international university, Webster University students have roots in many of the major religious traditions of the world, which helps students develop a respect for the views of others.
  • Religious Studies classes are typically diverse, giving students the chance to learn from classmates from other majors ranging from fine arts to the humanities to teacher education and finance.
  • Opportunities for international study at our campuses in Geneva, Switzerland; Vienna, Austria; Leiden, the Netherlands; and Thailand and China

Religious Studies Academic Programs

Additional Information