Developing an understanding of the complex nature and role of religion in human societies enables you to understand better perspectives and values that may differ considerably from your own.

As a religious studies major, you will address questions such as: How do people use religion to organize communities and to inform meaning-making about worldly and transcendent spheres? How does religion interact with material, social, economic and political conditions? How is religion expressed within and across time and place and how does it travel?

Oxy’s religious studies courses introduce you to major world religious traditions by delving into core issues such as life/death, race, sex/gender, politics, law and the environment. You will develop the ability to read sources critically and to write effectively, to approach the study of a topic from multiple disciplinary frames, and to develop well-reasoned judgments. You’ll gain appreciation for the interdisciplinary nature of the field as you conduct in-depth research, perhaps drawing on local archives, museums and cultural organizations, culminating in your Senior Comprehensive project.

Religion plays an important role in the ways people make meaning of the world, in turn guiding their views and practices and shaping the paths their lives take. When you major in religious studies, you’ll emerge an informed, compassionate, critically thinking community member who is able to contribute to respectful public discourse in our increasingly global world.

The major in religious studies provides firm grounding in the liberal arts. While the rigorous curriculum prepares students who intend to pursue graduate work in religious studies, majors and minors also go on to have careers in law, medicine, business, government and NGO work, social services and religious vocations, as well as graduate work in disciplines across the liberal arts.

Why Religious Studies?

RELS logo by Alex Smith ’22