Religious Studies

Majors

Our religious studies programs make our students into true global citizens through their encounter with different beliefs and practices. The department of Religious Studies offers degrees in

Religious Studies - An Overview
In the Department of Religious Studies, students study the religious systems of the world (large and small, past and present) 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. We study all forms of expression of the religious life-myth, art, meditation, ritual, ideas, festivals, mysticism, etc. Whether the expression be found in individual experience, in world religions like Buddhism and Judaism, or in small-scale societies like the Lakota of North America or the Semai of Malaysia. We do not consider religious beliefs or practices to be right or wrong, but instead seek to understand the ways that religion provides people with meaning in their lives and serves important social functions.

The Religious Studies major 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 and problem-solving, effective oral and written communication, etc. In addition, by studying world religions, students 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.

Religious Studies majors develop these abilities through the completion of courses that teach (a) broad knowledge of the history, beliefs, practices, and contemporary dynamics of the world's religious systems, (b) in-depth knowledge of at least two specific religious systems in their socio-historical contexts, (c) comparative knowledge of classical and contemporary theories about the origins and functions of religious beliefs and practices in human life and society, and (d) practical knowledge of the impact religion has on international affairs and personal lives.