Have you ever wondered...?

...what the Dalai Lama believes or why Joan of Arc was burned at the stake? Have you ever wanted to be an archaeologist and dig up 2000-year old artifacts in Israel? Have you ever noticed that even though Christians use the same Bible they find in it different answers to questions such as evolution, or gay rights?…

Religious Studies

About the Department

For students seeking a socially engaged liberal arts education, the Department of Religious Studies explores questions of power, knowledge, and identity as they relate to religious traditions. While developing a deeper understanding of oneself as a situated knower, students also explore individual religious traditions in depth, or broad themes such as the following: myth, ritual, and symbol; mysticism, magic, and medicine; beginning and end times; ethics, law, and moral philosophy; oppression and liberation; pacifism and violence; animals, bodies, and emotions. Courses are conducted with attention to structures and institutions of class, gender, sexuality, and race in their cultural and historical contexts.

For the major and minor in Religious Studies, the faculty provides an introduction to the academic discipline of Religious Studies followed by careful probing of two or more important traditions and a consideration of the methods useful to their study. A major or minor provides opportunities to develop excellent skills in writing, analysis, and argumentation and serves as an exceptional stepping stone to graduate or professional school. Past majors have gone on to excel in the non-profit sector, law school, medical school, doctoral programs, social work, creative writing, marketing and business, among other vocations.

Learning Objectives in the Religious Studies Major

  • To develop an understanding of a range of religious traditions, including Asian and Abrahamic
  • To develop an understanding of the roles religions play in political, economic, social, cultural, and moral areas of people's lives
  • To gain familiarity with a variety of theories, methods, and issues involved in the academic study of religions.