Religious Studies Department

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The Religious Studies Department examines the impact of religion on local, national and global communities. In true liberal-arts form, our approaches include the theological, comparative, philosophical, historical, ethical, literary, scriptural, psychological, socioeconomic and anthropological. We teach religious studies not as an isolated, esoteric field of study, but rather as a deeply integrated field requiring an invaluable tool set that merges elegantly with other academic disciplines, from the humanities and social sciences to the arts and hard sciences.

Religious Studies fits beautifully within the College’s mission and Core Values. The program’s curriculum opens hearts and minds to new ideas while preparing students for a variety of careers by nurturing a range of skills. These skills include critical and creative thinking, competency in oral communication, confidence reading a range of texts, analytical writing and leadership and role modeling within communities. In studying religion, students engage critically, compassionately and cross-culturally with the major issues facing individuals, cultures and the world.

Courses are offered on Christianity, Bible, Judaism, Islam, Native American religion, Tibetan and Himalayan religions and Chinese religions. Our global focus includes the West, the Middle East, the Far East, Latin America and indigenous peoples. Students in our courses learn through seminar discussions, lectures, role-playing, film analysis, individual reading, writing and student collaboration and internships focused on social service and action.

Religious Studies graduates have pursued careers in law, medicine, education, social justice work, counseling, art, business and government. The department also offers preparation that may lead to a career in ministry or religious education, and our courses can prepare students to enter seminary or divinity school directly upon graduation.


Majors and Minors

Religious Studies Major and Minor: Religious Studies explores the mystery and meaning of our existence in the many aspects of the social and natural world. The major requires 33 credit hours, and the minor requires 16. Students work with the department chair or minor adviser to determine a specific focus.

Quaker Studies Minor: The Quaker Studies minor explores Quaker spirituality in relation to the world. It requires 16 semester hours.

Awards and Scholarships

The Religious Studies Department offers the Frederic and Margaret Crownfield Religious Studies Prize, awarded every academic year to the Religious Studies student who writes an outstanding thesis or seminar paper.

Contact Us

Wess Daniels

Wess Daniels

William R Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies

Mark Justad

Mark Justad

Director of the Center for Principled Problem Solving

Frank Massey

Frank Massey

Part-Time Lecturer for Religious Studies

Eric Mortensen

Eric Mortensen

Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Jill Peterfeso

Jill Peterfeso

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies