Religious Studies

What is Religious Studies?

The overarching purpose of the religious studies department is to introduce students to the academic study of religion using a variety of methodological and theoretical approaches. The department educates students to be responsible global citizens by emphasizing the key role religion plays in history, politics, culture, and the human search for ultimate meaning and values. On occasion or by arrangement, the department also offers Greek and Hebrew to interested students, but these are not part of the major or minor.

The department’s specific aims are:

  • to encourage an interdisciplinary perspective to analyze religion’s complexity;
  • to train students in the application of the key interpretive approaches in religious studies;
  • to provide a broad understanding of religion as a human phenomenon;
  • to comprehend the interaction of religion with society and culture;
  • to promote independent study and research to prepare students who are interested in continuing in the field of religion.

To accomplish these goals, the department offers introductory courses in the study of religion as well as several upper-division courses that cover a wide range of religious traditions. These include courses that use a variety of analytical tools. In addition, majors are required to take a Senior- Year Experience that allows them to apply their methodological tools to the traditions they have learned. Majors are also encouraged to spend at least one semester abroad, gaining personal experience in one or more religious traditions under study. Most students who major in religious studies do so out of a desire for a broad liberal arts education. A concentration in religious studies is an ideal way to develop an inquiring mind, an open-minded perspective, and an appreciation for cultural diversityand human spirituality.

Working in Religious Studies
Characteristics and Skills Necessary for Success

  • Interest in reading and literature
  • Curiosity about different cultures (past and present)
  • Above average oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to think critically
  • Interest in understanding human issues such as birth, growth, love, forgiveness, faith, and death

Click HERE for a table on Career Areas, Employers, and Strategies for Employment

Sample Job Titles

Anthropologist
Archeologist
Chaplain
Church Administrator
Lawyer
Minister
Pastor
Priest
Rabbi
Rehabilitation Counselor
Reverend
Social Worker
Student Activities Director
Theological Professor

 

Learning More About Religious Studies

  • Visit the Career Services office and check out our Career Resource Library
  • Visit the SLU Religious Studies Department website
  • Check out Religious Studies course descriptions in the Catalog
  • Talk with a professor in Religious Studies about the major. Click here for a list of possible questions to ask.
  • Perform an informational interview with a professional in the field. Click here for information on how to find a professional, contacting them, and a list of possible questions.
  • Get connected with SLU alum in the field through SAINTSLink, participate in Shadow-a-Saint or complete an Internship.

Additional Resources

Related Majors and Minors at SLU
Anthropology
History
Philosophy
Sociology