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 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 as well as to study past and current events with a critical but open mind.

What do our majors and minors study?

Undergraduate students can 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 subjects as diverse as 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 a religious person or not, or whether you think religion has played a positive or negative role in history, it is an incontrovertible fact that from the beginning of time, humans have engaged in activities that we now call religion, such as worship, prayer, and rituals marking important life passages.

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What can you study in Religious Studies?

Reading revelation

Is there a difference between divine justice and divine retribution? Religious studies scholars Elaine Pagels and Laurie Maffly-Kipp discuss the Book of Revelation and how it has been interpreted across time, as well as the personal side of their writing and research.

Three Things You Should Know About Islam and Muslims

Aria Nakissa, Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and Anthropology, addresses common misconceptions about Islam and Muslims in his teaching and research. This often involves drawing attention to three particular points.

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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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