Religions affect more than beliefs – they influence politics, shape culture, and create conflict and unity. At UMW, you will delve into the languages and beliefs that surround Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions to better understand how religious beliefs affect our lives.
Students majoring in Religious Studies who complete all requirements earn the degree of Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Philosophy and Religious Studies.
Areas of Study
Study traditions, texts, and people to learn the historical and cultural impact of the world’s major religions. This program doesn’t ascribe to any particular belief system. Students work work one-on-one with faculty on research and a senior thesis and are encouraged to explore other disciplines – such as philosophy and anthropology – to help identify their special interests.
As a religious studies major, you will leave UMW with skills in critical thinking, persuasive writing, oral communication, and research. While some religious studies graduates pursue advanced degrees for careers in teaching and research, most develop careers in such diverse fields as public relations, journalism, business, teaching, service organizations, and the arts. The major is excellent preparation for studies in library science, law, social work, and the ministry.
Supervised off-campus internships are available to qualified students and are developed in consultation with religious studies faculty.
To receive honors in religious studies, you will need at least a 3.5 grade-point average in the major and a grade of A in the capstone course required of all religious studies majors. In that course, you’ll choose a topic for research, then write a 20- to 25-page thesis and present it to your fellow students.
The religious studies requires 30 credits in approved core and elective courses. All religious studies majors must complete a capstone course, in which they’ll write and present a thesis. Some classics or philosophy courses may count toward the major.
In addition to general scholarships awarded by the university, religious studies faculty award two scholarships specific to the religious studies major.