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RELS MAJOR


The Religious Studies Major

In today's world convulsed by religiously-inspired violence and the politics of religious values, the USU Religious Studies Program is already playing a critical role in providing a neutral place from which to study religion and its role in society, thus creating a cultural literacy about religion, and preparing students for careers in fields that work with and for religious groups and organizations, Religious Studies focuses on issues that involve values, ethics, and morality, as well as their institutional expression in all cultures.

Religious Studies graduates are trained to grapple with the problems of colliding belief systems, and are aware of ways in which conflict and good intentions can serve the interests of powerful institutions. In particular, Religious Studies teaches the critical evaluation of competing claims and methods of resolving these.

Teaching about religion, not proselytizing for any religion, not denigrating any religion, Religious Studies asks a set of critically significant questions, some of which include:

How do religious ideals create behavioral logic among believers?

How do value systems affect political structures and choices?

How does a new religion make its way into the world, bringing with it new understandings of truth and a new understanding of reality?

What happens as an innovative religious movement either turns into or fails to develop into a new religious tradition?

What part of a tradition's literature becomes sanctified as scripture, and by what process does this happen?

How critical to the preservation of a faith tradition are its founders, early leaders, and those who first believe?

To what extend to new religions flourish because of the particular time and place in which they are introduced to the world?

How do traditions escape the culture in which their formation occurred in order to become world religions?

When and how do economic, social, or scientific changes alter religions, and how do traditional religions shape and adapt to the alterations?


What to do with a Religious Studies Degree?

In a rapidly globalizing and interconnected world, a degree in Religious Studies is a stepping stone to potential ordination in many religious groups, preparing students for careers as clergy. It is a road to employment in charitable organizations that perform social and mission work, whether or not affiliated with a particular religious group. It is often used as an avenue into the world of human resources work in business and other organizations. The religious education, broadcasting, and publishing industries also employ religious studies majors in many contexts. Many people who do degrees in religious studies continue with their education. Some go to Law School, some go on to a career in the health care professions, some to seminaries for ordination, and some earn doctorates and continue working in educational settings at all levels.


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Diane Buist and Mark Damen designed this website. Diane Buist is the current webmaster.
For questions regarding the website email diane.buist@usu.edu