WHAT IS RELIGIOUS STUDIES?
Religious Studies is an academic, non-confessional discipline that examines the world's religious cultures and expressions, both historical and contemporary. It involves the study of religious institutions, rituals, forms of social organization, theology, philosophy, mythology and artistic expression.
WHAT DO RELIGIOUS STUDIES SCHOLARS DO?
Scholars of Religious Studies try to understand human religious culture by various means: conducting fieldwork and interviews with living religious societies, mastering ancient and modern languages and examining textual sources, and studying archaeological, art-historical and other non-textual evidence. As such it intersects with other arts, humanities and social science disciplines.
SOUNDS GOOD, BUT WHAT USE ARE THESE INSIGHTS?
Without a deep, nuanced and properly contextualized understanding of the roles, forms and expressions of religion, we simply cannot understand human society of the past or present. Religious Studies provides a fundamental basis for a responsible and informed cultural fluency that combats racial and cultural misrepresentation, hatred and ignorance.
WHAT KINDS OF JOBS DO RELIGIOUS STUDIES SCHOLARS HAVE?
As an academic discipline much like History, Philosophy, or Classics, those taking advanced degrees in Religious Studies often pursue careers within universities and post-secondary educational environments. However, the cultural fluency provided by Religious Studies is highly valued in many career environments where effective interaction with the public is necessary.
WHERE TO START?
Register for our gateway first-year courses: RELS 1001 Religions of the East and/or RELS 1002 Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: The Abrahamic Religions, or for one of our basic (no-prerequisite) second year courses: RELS 2001 Judaism, RELS 2002 Christianity, RELS 2003 Islam, 2011 Hinduism, RELS 2012 (CHIN 2060) Chinese and Japanese Religions, RELS 2013 (CHIN 2070) Buddhism, RELS 2509 (HIST 2509) Hindu, Muslim, Sikh: Identity, Culture and State in Pre-Colonial South Asia, or RELS 2510 (HIST 2510) Hindu, Muslim, Sikh: Colonial Trauma and Nationalism in Modern South Asia.
Have a question? Please feel free to get in touch with the RELS Undergraduate Coordinator.