About Religious Studies

We are a vibrant community of scholars and students exploring the deepest questions about human life through the lens of religion. One of the first religious studies programs established in the country, we continue to be an interdisciplinary center for the study of religion in the twenty-first century. Religious studies, as a discipline, brings together researchers from fields as diverse as anthropology, literary studies, history, political science, and archaeology. Our program gives students an opportunity to learn about the wide variety of religions while studying past and current events with a critical, but open, mind.

What do our majors and minors study?

Undergraduate students study a wide range topics through Religious Studies. Students explore religious movements and traditions in all their interdisciplinary complexity--often comparatively, sometimes thematically, and almost always in specific historical and cultural contexts. The curriculum covers diverse subjects including U.S. politics, the Middle East, atheism, the FBI, health, eastern philosophies, and more. The diversity of topics that can be studied through Religious Studies is among the most diverse on campus.

Whether you are interested in a specific religion like Islam, an aspect of religion like ritual, or want to understand how religion has shaped past and current events, religious studies is for you.

Why Study Religion?

Whether you consider yourself religious or irreligious, whether you consider religion to have played a positive or negative role throughout history, it is an incontrovertible fact that humans have engaged in wosrship, prayer, and ritualistic activities, that we now call religion, since the beginning of time.

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What can you study in Religious Studies?

Memorializing the slave trade

Memorials to the Atlantic slave trade offer communities the opportunity to reflect on the local legacies of a complex, international trauma. Laurie Maffly-Kipp, the Archer Alexander Distinguished Professor of Religion and Politics and director of religious studies, has begun a new project that analyzes slavery memorialization through the lens of religious belief and practice.

How Muslims, Like the Rest of Us, Adapt to New Worlds

Watch Prof. John Bowen talk about how fear of races, religions and other differences fosters divisiveness, and the role a university can play in bridging the divides. Presented at the faculty symposium for the inauguration of Andrew D. Martin.

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Former US Secretary of State John Kerry Meets With Religious Leaders in Sokoto Nigeria

I often say that if I headed back to college today, I would major in comparative religions rather than political science. That is because religious actors and institutions are playing an influential role in every region of the world and on nearly every issue central to U.S. foreign policy.

―John KerryFormer US Secretary of State

From Coffee Hours to Study Breaks and Trivia Night, we invite you to get to know the community of students and scholars working on religion.

A Vibrant Community

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