Religion is an essential part of the humanistic studies in a liberal arts education. The study of religion is one way to establish a view of reality, and more specifically a view of the meaning of human existence as individuals and as social beings in relation to ultimate reality, however that reality is understood. Historically, human beings have articulated our greatest moral ambitions and our most sublime understandings of what may be possible for us to achieve--in relation to one another and to the rest of the cosmos--within the myths, hymns, rituals, and institutions of varied religious traditions.
The goals of the department are to help students:
- Understand the nature of religion
- Understand both Abrahimic and Asian religious traditions
- Develop critical and analytical skills for examining the various religious systems offered in a pluralistic society
- Examine their own religious perceptions
Many religion majors and minors conduct year-long senior research projects, the majority of which are converted into theses for recognition.
The question of what one can do with a major or minor in religion is answered by the careers of recent graduates.
Some have sought advanced degrees in the study of religion, either with an academic focus or aimed at a career in a religious profession.
However, the majority of our graduates have sought careers in other fields. Some have gone to law school, business school or medical school. Some work for local social service agencies, with environmental organizations or as teachers. Some work for banks, advertising agencies or stock brokerage firms.
The one constant is that all of them report that the skills in critical thinking, writing and research that they developed as a religion major or minor have been a distinct asset in their careers.
The following are just a few examples of what Religion majors and minors are doing now: Professor of Religion, Goucher College, policy analyst for a NGO in Mumbai, social worker, associate professor of Religion at Austin Community College, Episcopal priest, Coordinator of student programs, University of West Georgia.