- To instruct students in the academic study of the phenomena of religion and the world’s major religious traditions and engage them in the foundational questions of human existence;
- To cultivate critical thinking and effective communication;
- To promote awareness of and respect for diverse perspectives on religious and non-religious questions in order to develop responsible citizenship in a pluralistic society;
- To advance the discipline of religious studies by fostering critical inquiry into the relationships between religion and other aspects of society, including education, health care, science, and public policy; and
- To provide cultural enrichment of our community in order to promote life-long learning.
These skills are transferable to many career fields. In our ever more culturally diverse world, this training will serve students well in the 21st century. The program has many graduates who have gone on to successful work in various professions.
Portrait of a Religious Studies Major
Know the basic facts of a diverse array of religious traditions, including the circumstances of their founding, their history, and their fundamental doctrines and practices.
Conversant with the history, theories, and methodologies of the discipline of Religious Studies. Capable of thinking critically within the discipline so that they can analyze sacred texts, situate them in the contexts that make them meaningful, articulate the assumptions embedded in disparate ways of analyzing religious beliefs and practices, and ask intelligent questions about religious questions that reflect rigorous thought, analysis, and inquisitiveness over dogmatism.
Able to communicate their understandings of religious issues through speech and writing. Able to formulate clear theses and utilize reliable sources and legitimate research to develop coherent arguments that effectively persuade their audience.
Capable of employing these insights to react to the world in a meaningful way. Able to deploy their understandings of the human condition in a way that permits them to appreciate the diverse nature of the human experience, to act as responsible citizens within a pluralistic society, and to make mature decisions in a global context. Have developed a love of learning that fosters a lifetime of curious inquiry. Have learned how the discipline of Religious Studies connects to other disciplines and fields of inquiry.
Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes
- Possess essential knowledge of diverse religions of the world, including their founding, oral and written texts, traditions, history, fundamental doctrines, practices, and contemporary expressions.
- Students can identify such information about the world’s major religious traditions: the primary sacred texts, founders, major prophets, various branches, teachings, and practices.
- Students can identify some of the major contemporary issues of the world’s religions.
- Understand how religion informs and is informed by other dimensions of human experience and knowledge, such as gender and sexuality, health care and health disparities, social organization, education and public policy, and scientific inquiry.
- Students can explain how religion and other cultural systems influence each other.
- Cultivate the ability to read, listen, and think critically in ways that foster conversation and enrich civil and academic discourse about religion.
- Students can engage in reasoned dialogue about religion.
- Students can articulate how various religions respond to the human condition.
- Comprehend and utilize standard research skills and methods in the discipline of religious studies and communicate effectively in speech and writing.
- Students can make clear, well-organized, and substantive written presentations.
- Students can make clear, well-organized, and substantive oral presentations.
- Integrate the study of religion with personal and public life, thereby participating meaningfully both as global citizens and as engaged members of a pluralistic, democratic society.
- Students can compose a summary of the key issues of a public lecture and form a reasoned response to the religious implications of that lecture.
- Students can utilize the insights gained in religious studies to address global problems.