Welcome to Undergraduate Studies in Religion!
As an intellectual inquiry into an important dimension of human experience, the study of religion enables students to grasp an essential aspect of the cultures of the world and the interactions among them. We look at the development of religious beliefs, practices, and doctrines as they intersect with the history of peoples and cultures right up to the contemporary world. The study of religion also prepares students for a wide range of careers, such as social work, law, politics from the local to the international level, teaching, medicine, or leadership in religious organizations. Combined with appropriate language preparation, it can also open out into graduate work leading to the M.A. and Ph.D. in the growing number of universities offering advanced graduate degrees in the field, and in our University's own Graduate programs.
Historically, the academic study of religion has taken a variety of forms, each with its own rationale. The Department identifies itself with a model in which the major religious traditions (e.g., Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism) are studied within a comparative frame. We employ and encourage a variety of approaches (e.g., historical, textual, social scientific) without sacrificing specialized skills and training. The diversity which characterizes this model is reflected in the variety of courses offered or cross-listed by the Department, and by the wide range of training and expertise of our faculty.