Why Religious Studies?

Why Religious Studies?

Taking a Religious Studies course in college may not be what you think it is. The academic study of religion rests on the distinction between learning about religion as a field of scholarly inquiry (e.g., its history, literature, culture, etc.) and being religious. That is, you do not have to be religious to take religious studies courses!

The academic study of religion emerged out of the Enlightenment when all manner of ideas came to be questioned for the first time. The academic study of religion offers students an opportunity to delve into larger sociological, anthropological, historical, and literary questions like:

  • the origins of religious movements,
  • the controversies between and within religious movements,
  • the ways religious literature reflects and constructs belief,
  • the intersections of religions with politics, economics, ethics, language, and gender/sex,
  • how religious belief affects views and practices of medicine

Here is a short summary of the field of religious studies, and here is a quick answer to what you can do with a religious studies major/minor, and how our classes prepare you for the job market—in whatever field you choose. 


The Department of Religious Studies at the University of Richmond invites you to explore your world and/or past worlds through the lens of religion. We’re excited to meet you!

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