Religious Studies Major & Minor

Are you curious about people, societies, and cultures? Are you interested in the ideas and values that inspire and motivate people? Are you concerned about ideologies that inhibit progress or even spur people to violence?

Religious studies majors and minors explore all of these questions using academic tools of data gathering and analysis. As a religious studies student you will gain knowledge about diverse people around the globe, develop skills in thinking about the relationships between religion and society, and hone your capacity for and confidence in engaging with topics related to religion in on-the-ground political, civic, or personal situations.

Religious studies majors and minors bring these capacities to the job market and their careers. Their unique skills in cross-cultural communication prove vital in many career fields, from education to law, non-profit and NGO work, business, governmental and diplomatic service, journalism and publishing, and many others.

“If I went back to college today, I think I would probably major in comparative religion, because that’s how integrated it is in everything that we are working on and deciding and thinking about in life today.”  US Secretary of State, John Kerry, August 7, 2013.

Our major allows you to bring together perspectives, approaches, questions, and expertise from many disciplines and trains you to critically analyze and understand religions as historical, social, discursive, and cultural phenomena. We provide you with a range of analytical tools to understand texts, traditions, and the ways that religion shapes everyday life. As an interdepartmental major drawing from several academic disciplines, our program offers in-depth knowledge of particular traditions and time periods and gives you maximum flexibility to design a program that addresses your interests.

You will study the range of religious phenomena by: 

  • Interpreting religious texts
  • Tracing the development of institutions and practices
  • Examining the experiences and histories of specific communities
  • Exploring the intersections between religious ideas and practices and their social and cultural contexts

The minor in religious studies provides students in other majors to acquire some expertise in the critical study of religion and a broader understanding of the role of religion in personal, social, cultural contexts.  The Religious Studies minor is an ideal pairing with many majors, including (but not limited to) Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, History, Political Science, Mortuary Science, Education, Journalism, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Art History, and Classical and Near Eastern Religion and Culture.  

The religious studies minor is a 15-credit sampling of the diverse set of religious traditions of the world. You must take classes pertaining to at least two different faith traditions to ensure your experience as a religious studies minor student is a broader one.