The study of religion provides insight into the fascinating variety of ways in which
people live their lives in light of the sacred. How do they understand the existence
of God or gods? Where do they seek answers to questions of fundamental concern? How
do they find meaning and purpose in life?
With an emphasis on critical and careful thinking, honest analysis, and an openness
to learning about new ideas, Religious Studies is a dynamic and necessarily multidisciplinary
field involving ideas and methods drawn from philosophy, anthropology, history, art,
literature, sociology and theology, among other fields.
It is also of critical importance in understanding a range of complex social issues
spanning nearly every aspect of life, including politics, ethnicity, economics, public
policy and family life.
We offer students the opportunity to
major or minor in religious studies. We also offer an intensive major for those students who wish
to add a research component to the major and complete a senior thesis.
We offer two
annual lecture series as well as numerous talks by distinguished and compelling speakers. We hope these
lectures inspire dialogue among our students and faculty, students and faculty from
other departments and colleges on campus, and in the community.
The Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Lectureship in Moral, Ethical, and Religions Studies
brings noted speakers to the Columbia campus each fall.