Majoring in Religious Studies
As a religious studies major, you will undertake a rigorous course of study centered on critical approaches to the study of religions across traditions, sects and practices. Religious Studies will teach you to understand religion from historical, social, cultural and applied perspectives, in courses such as religion and public life, religious responses to the environment, Islam in the U.S., and religion and popular culture. Religious Studies is thoroughly interdisciplinary. This means you will develop analytic and critical skills as you study religion, forms of secularism, and religious phenomena through the key human conditions of race, gender, sexuality and class.
Student and faculty engagement
You have abundant opportunities to work closely with faculty in Religious Studies. Students learn about research in the field through paid research opportunities with faculty. Many of our students study away during their third year to further develop research skills. Religious Studies students have the opportunity to undertake independent studies with our faculty. Topics for independent studies have included: Islam and Secularism, religion and contemporary media; indigenous responses to Christian missions; religion and popular culture, and; memory and trauma. Advanced students in the major can serve as teaching interns in courses such as “Islam and the U.S.” and “Religion and Public Life.” Additionally, the Religious Studies Student Advisory Board plans public events throughout the year on pressing issues such as global expressions of Islam, and religion and food.
Religion in the world
The study of religion moves fluidly between the classroom and the world at large. You can pursue the study of religion in conjunction with international relations, economics, the arts, law and politics. Some students have focused on social justice action, environmental issues, and the role of religion in secular societies. Our department regularly partners with the College’s interdisciplinary centers, including the Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts (CISLA), the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy and the Center for the Critical Study of Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE).