Religious Studies

Students studying in a libraryThe phenomenon of religion is a universal dimension of human life and culture. Religious beliefs have inspired drama, dance, painting, poetry, and the rituals involved in birth, marriage, and death. Humankind's history, culture, hopes, and fears would be incomprehensible without an understanding of the religious systems and symbols underlying them.

Through the academic discipline of religious studies, the student confronts religion in all its complexity and diversity. As a result, the student develops incisive critical and analytical skills. However, the study of religion also nourishes the uniquely human resources of creativity and imagination, enabling students to synthesize what they learn with who they are. The study of religion is, therefore, an integral part of the liberal arts curriculum.

Courses in the department of religious studies seek to inquire into the many forms of religious tradition throughout the world and to understand their crucial role in shaping human experience. A major in religious studies is not limited to those students who are planning church-related careers. Many students elect a major in religious studies because it offers them a unique opportunity to examine, both personally and critically, the crucial questions of human experience. Moreover, it enables them to explain the ways in which the individual is related to (and responsible to) the larger human community and to the natural environment.

See the department's faculty webpage for contact information, scheduled office hours, and office locations.