Religious Studies

Major in Religious Studies

Without a knowledge of religion, it is difficult to understand daily newspapers, modern history, and many of our own behavior patterns. Familiarity with a wide range of religious traditions and the ways in which religions shape society, culture, and world affairs provides scholarly tools for coming to terms with the wide variety of sometimes strange, always interesting phenomena that occur in modern society. Many students take religion courses to learn more about their own religious traditions, the traditions of others, or to clarify their own thinking in the process.

About The Program

The religious studies program at Virginia Wesleyan is a field of inquiry located within the humanities that provides students with a basic understanding of historical religious tradition, exposure to religious traditions other than their own, and familiarity with more than one approach to the study of religion. The methods and interests of the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences converge in this program as students examine the role of religion in history, literature, and science; in human experience and diversity; and in culture, politics, and society. The religious studies curriculum introduces students to major fields of scholarship including biblical studies, ethics, theology, and world religions.

Major: Religious Studies (BA)
Religious Studies

Department Chair: Dr. Craig Wansink
College: Susan S. Goode School of Arts And Humanities

The religious studies major is designed to intro­ duce students to the diversity of religious beliefs and values. Students will develop “cultural literacy” in the major religions of the world and be able to understand concrete ethical/social issues from different faith perspectives. The courses in this major involve analysis, comparison, and interpretation and require sensitivity to the perspectives and practices of others.

All students at VWU complete a capstone course called the Senior Integrative Experience (SIE). The goal is to produce a major project that characterizes and integrates knowledge from multiple disciplines and responds to complex issues, problems, and questions within the student’s major area of study. Students majoring in religious studies can fulfill the SIE requirements by completing a course in Topics in Religion or Sports and Religion. Many students also take an intern­ ship course on Servant Leadership that allows them to both work in a particular ministry setting and then, with others, reflect academically on that experience.

The study of religion prepares students well for careers in ministry, education, social services, politics, journal­ ism, public health, and administration. Some students will go on to seminary, law school, or graduate school.