Goals and Objectives

Our Four Major Goals

  1. Introducing students to the diversity of religious beliefs and values (especially those which are a powerful presence in today's world)
  2. Integrating religious perspectives with various academic disciplines
  3. Encouraging personal clarification of religious beliefs, values, and orientations
  4. Preparing students for religious vocations

The fourth goal is of primary significance to the majors in the department. The first three goals serve the general student body.


Courses in the Department of Religious Studies are designed to meet the needs of students enrolled in all of the subject areas of a four-year liberal arts curriculum. Many students take religion courses to learn more about their own religious traditions, to learn about the traditions of others, or to clarify their own thinking in the process. Department courses introduce students to major fields of scholarship including Biblical studies, ethics, theology, and world religions.

Our Objectives

  1. Students, introduced to the diversity of religious beliefs and values, should
    • develop "cultural literacy" in the major religions of the world,
    • be able to understand concrete ethical/social issues from different faith perspectives, and
    • know how to examine a religion's relation to other cultural forms (analyze beliefs, institutions, and ethical expressions so as to find answers to questions about cultural life).
  2. By examining religious perspectives through various academic disciplines (e.g., history, sociology, psychology, art, literature, anthropology, political science), students should
    • have a knowledge of how religions function and how shape society (particularly, its art and literature),
    • have a knowledge of how religions developed and continue to develop (as social and cultural institutions),
    • have the ability to approach ethical issues from a variety of perspectives,
    • know the basic history of Christianity,
    • show an ability to discuss Christianity from a philosophical perspective, and
    • have a familiarity with Christian scripture and its interpretation (biblical studies/literature).
  3. In the process of clarifying their own religious beliefs, values, and orientations, students should
    • begin to understand their own tradition and how it has shaped them,
    • be able to see and place one's own religious life within a universal perspective, and
    • show an empathy for the goals and mission of key religious figures.