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Religious studies

An illuminated, bound book

Undergraduate degrees: BA or BS
Undergraduate minor

About the major

How has Islam played a role in the political climate in the Middle East? What can archaeology tell us about early Christianity? How has ancient Shintoism and Buddhism shaped Japan’s culture today? In Religious studies courses at the University of Oregon, world-renowned scholars teach students to think critically about answers to these and other questions.”

In today’s increasingly globalized world, the importance of cultivating a deeper understanding of our international community is more important than ever. The Department of Religious Studies is committed to this concept and focuses on the history and philosophy of Asian and Western religions through an examination of original ideas, texts, rituals, and subgroups. Whether learning about Buddhism, Daoism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or a variety of other religions, students gain a rich understanding of the region where the religion began and the people who continue to practice it today. At the same time, students also learn how religions migrate and transform with societies over time, through studying multiple facets of culture including sex and gender paradigms, ethnicity perspectives, nationalism, colonialism, mysticism, and comparative religion.

A little more info

  • Department faculty members specialize in Jewish, Christian, Islamic and Chinese religions as well as Japanese Buddhism, and pursue research in such areas as Islamic and Arabic Studies, new religious movements, and religion in modernity. They are fluent in multiple ancient languages and have won awards for their teaching.
  • Students enjoy small seminars, where their professors get to know them.
  • Majors have opportunities to work as undergraduate research assistants.
  • Each year, the department awards the Jack T. Sanders Memorial Award for excellence in undergraduate research and writing in the field of religious studies.
  • The religious studies department supports an inclusive, diverse campus, encouraging understanding across religious traditions.

Career opportunities

Religious studies majors pursue careers in a variety of sectors, ranging from education, healthcare, management, technology, non-profits, and government. A religious studies major makes you a compelling applicant for graduate studies in law, medicine, public policy, business, and journalism.

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