Religious Studies

Religious Studies explores the roles religions play in contemporary society and around the world. It examines how the spiritual, ethical, and legal perspectives of religions shape politics, the arts, social movements, sexualities, the environment, and questions about the purpose of life.  


Religious Studies at STU 

We offer courses that are multi-religious and comparative in scope related to a particular theme or issue, as well as courses that focus on a specific religious tradition. We approach religious studies through the humanities and social sciences and study their influence on a wide range of current social processes and challenges.

Dr. Derek Simon teaching a class with a projector in background


“I like how Religious Studies helps me understand and experience the diversities and contradictions not just between religions, but within any one single religion.


– Dr. Derek Simon, Associate Professor

What sets STU’s Religious Studies Program Apart? 

  • Small, engaging classes that emphasize personal interaction, discussion, and debate.   
  • Religious Studies is a multi-disciplinary field of study. It exposes students to a variety of approaches, as well as serious reflections on the nature of methodology and scholarly inquiry. 
  • Lectures and seminars are always taught by professors—not teaching assistants—which means students learn from experts in the field.  
  • There are multiple streams in Religious Studies, including: ritual studies, ethics, interpreting texts, and social actor analysis. 


Where the Study of Religious Studies can Take You 

Religious Studies provides you with skills in communication, research, writing, and critical thinking. It helps you develop the capacity for self-reflection, challenges your worldview, and allows for the examination of—and appreciation for—different beliefs and perspectives. 

This prepares graduates for meaningful careers in fields like: 

  • Government 
  • Education 
  • Social Services 
  • Religious Institutions 
  • Journalism 
  • Non-governmental Organizations 
  • Law 

You might be interested in studying Religious Studies if… 

  • You want to examine how the different aspects of religion shape politics, the arts, social movements, sexualities, and the environment 
  • You want to learn more about world religions and their similarities and differences 



Featured Courses 

Contemporary Perspectives on Science and Religion 

Death and Dying 

Religion and Social Ethics 

Moral Development 

Fields that Enhance Your Learning in Religious Studies 

Religious Studies, because of its multi-disciplinary approach, relates to every area of the liberal arts as basic issues of human meaning, values, and organization all fall within the scope of the study of religion. It would be difficult to imagine a course or program at St. Thomas that could not be related in some direct fashion.