Why Study Religion?

​A major or a minor in Religion may not seem like the most practical thing you could undertake in this life, but appearances are often deceptive.

In a world of constant change, the best way to prepare for the future may be to develop the skills you will need to understand, interpret, and respond to changes. And in a world where the entire globe has become our neighborhood, the best way to prepare for work may be to get to know your neighbors.

The study of religion, as a liberal arts discipline, is ideally suited to these purposes. Religion is one of the most important forces shaping history, culture, and personal experience. To understand religion is to understand--and develop a stance towards--the most pressing concerns in life. Our approach to this study stresses critical reading and writing skills, a broad base of global understanding, and reflection on ethical issues.

Given the importance of moral, social, aesthetic, and other value questions in our lives, religion will expand your educational horizons. It will give you insight into the human condition as well as an international understanding of this and other cultures.​

Careers in Religion​

The study of religion educates you in skills of analysis, interpretation, and comparison, and gives you a solid grounding in global cultures and social issues. This makes it relevant to any of the fields in which religion plays a role, as well as those that require similar skills of analysis and understanding. These include:

  • Law
  • Journalism
  • International Business
  • Psychology
  • Social Work
  • Counseling
  • Medicine
  • Allied Health Professions
  • Religious Professions
  • Education​

Advice for choosing courses

For the 2023-2024 academic year, please note that there is only one course that will fulfill the requirements for each of the following: Area Studies (REL 221: Traditions of Japan in Spring 2024); Traditions (REL 320: The Buddhist Tradition in Fall 2023); Bible or Christianity (REL 260: From Gospel to Apocalypse: Introduction to The New Testament in Spring 2024). 

There are electives at all levels that can satisfy your major, including REL 101: World Religions (Fall 2023 and Spring 2024); REL 102: The Meaning of Life (Fall 2023 and Spring 2024); REL 140: Religion, Race, and Discrimination in America; REL 207: Women in Religion (Fall 2023); REL 302: Witchcraft, Magic, and Occult Phenomenon (Fall 2023 and Spring 2024); REL 303WI: Goddesses (Spring 2024); and REL 334: Death and Dying (Fall 2023 and Spring 2024). 

Seniors: If your graduation date is coming up before May 2023 or May 2024, you need to complete REL 501WI: Research Seminar in Religion during the Fall of 2023 and then REL 505WI: Research Seminar in Spring 2023 or Spring 2024. Email Dr. Kelly Murphy, the Religion Area Coordinator, for more information.

We highly recommend making an appointment with a religion faculty advisor as you are making plans for next year. Discussions with a faculty advisor can help to identify flexible options and keep you on track to complete your requirements on schedule.

Program advisors

Religion advisors are happy to talk with you about any of your courses. Are you currently in a class with a religion professor? Feel free to ask them about courses that interest you! And the program coordinator, Dr. Kelly Murphy, is also available to help you.