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Why Religious Studies

Religious institutions, beliefs, ideas, and practices are central to the workings of human societies across the globe. But what makes something “religious”? How does the concept of religion differ between cultures? How have religious traditions developed over time? What possibilities for and challenges to human flourishing does religion present in the contemporary world?

Our department offers a global perspective, with courses offered on major religious traditions and on more local religious phenomena throughout the world. We also study religion from a variety of perspectives drawn from across the humanities and social sciences. Our our department is home to anthropologists, ethicists, historians, literary theorists, philosophers, philologists, theologians, and poets.

Students who have questions or wish to learn more about the Department of Religious Studies’ undergraduate offerings are encouraged to reach out to the Director of Undergraduate Programs for the department, Noah Salomon, or to one our department's Undergraduate Peer Advisors.

Read the Cavalier Daily article from Religious Studies graduate Matt Arakaky (2015) on how a religious studies course ultimately changed his career path.