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Martha G. Newman, Chair BUR 529, Mailcode A3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-7737

Why Study Religion?

Religion is a major force in human experience.  It has shaped the world's history, literature, art, culture, politics, ethics, and economics.  Religious Studies explores the ways in which religions influence human identity and culture, developments within religious traditions, and the nature of religion as a system of human thought and practice.  Religious Studies seeks neither to make students religious nor to discourage religious beliefs and practice; rather, it focuses on understanding religion as a dimension of human identity and culture.

The major in Religious Studies is multidisciplinary and flexible.  Students draw on the expertise of the core Religious Studies faculty as well as our more than 50 affiliated faculty from departments across the University.

Students majoring in Religious Studies develop:

  • A broad knowledge of different world religions and their geographical and historical contexts
  • An in-depth knowledge of religion within a particular cultural setting or geographical area
  • Methodological and theoretical tools for the study of religion
  • Skills in textual analysis, direct observation, critical thinking, and cross-cultural understanding
A Religious Studies major and Religious Studies courses prepare students for careers in government, law, medicine, social services, journalism, the ministry, academics, and other occupations in which the knowledge and skills needed to operate in complex religious environments are essential to success.
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