About Religious Studies

Age-old traditions. Modern questions. 

Why do human beings worship? What are the foundations of our belief? And in a changing, diverse world where your next-door neighbor might have a faith completely different from yours, can anyone really know what’s meaningful and true? 

Myths, rituals, traditions … and the Internet

Religious symbols, practices, and ideas are everywhere, once you start looking. So much so that sometimes it’s hard to say where we should draw the boundary between religion and everything else. In Religious Studies courses in Ursinus, you’ll read ancient texts and study the living legacies of the world’s great faiths — but you’ll also examine the way religious ideas seem to crop up in the most unlikely places. You might go from reading a centuries-old holy book in one class, to examining the way people express their religious identities in online communities in another. You’ll do plenty of reading, of course, but you’ll also find yourself visiting local mosques and temples. You may find yourself re-examining old questions you always thought you knew the answers to — or maybe that you never thought to ask.  

Above all, you’ll be thinking creatively and hard about some of the most enduring and fascinating questions human beings have ever asked. You’ll be exploring the ways we have coped with our most shattering losses, and how we have celebrated our greatest joys. And, using comparative methods and theoretical perspectives, you’ll find your own way of putting it all together. 

Why study religion at a secular college? 

When you tell your friends and family you’re taking Religious Studies, they may look at you a little strangely. “I didn’t know you were going to be a minister,” they might say. And yes, it’s true — majoring in Religious Studies is one of the best ways to prepare for a career in any kind of ministry. We regularly send our graduates off to Harvard Divinity School and other prestigious seminaries. 

But a Religious Studies major also prepares you for a wide range of careers. Religious Studies majors have gone on to professional and graduate schools, to public service, to business and law, and to the arts. Employers today say they want employees who can cope with a diverse workplace — and there is no better way to confront and think through diversity than through the lens of religious dialogue. 

  • Philosophy and Religion Department

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