Why Choose Religious Studies?

“Religion is a window onto human history and culture. By studying religion we come to understand everything from societal gender roles, to politics, to the ethics of health care, and the music of Bruce Springsteen and Beyonce.”

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As a Religious Studies student, you will have the opportunity to examine the depths and nuances of many beliefs, rituals, and practices. Studying religions is a way to learn about people and society. Through our courses, you will explore how religious communities worship, shape moral norms and gender roles, wage war and make peace, influence what people eat, how they dress, and how they live and die. Studying religions is also personally meaningful as you, your peers, and faculty reflect together on big ethical and philosophical questions.
Take a course on the history and diversity of Christianity; on Islam in America; or yoga in the religious, cultural, and economic marketplace. Explore how religions foment revolution or support political regimes. Or delve into the interplay of religion and culture in defining family structures, making sense of death, and shaping ethical norms around health care.

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Explore the religious diversity in your backyard

Experience the fascinating range of global religious right here in Indianapolis. Home to congregations representing all of the major world religions as well as hundreds of organized faith communities, Indianapolis is one of the most religiously diverse cities in the Midwest. As a Religious Studies student, you might visit the nationally famous Hindu Temple of Central Indiana, whose extraordinary architecture integrates regional styles from across India in homage to the diversity of the local Hindu community. Or you might be invited to participate in a Wiccan ritual on the autumn equinox; break the Ramadan fast with members of the Muslim community; or chant along with the Tibetan monks at the Indiana Buddhist Center.

Do you have a passion for life’s big questions?

Our faculty in Religious Studies are gifted teachers and nationally known scholars who bring their passion for their subject into the classroom.

Looking for a hands-on approach to learning about the world around you?

“Religious Studies attempts to understand how religion motivates every aspect of our lives. Corporations and governments, nonprofits and religious institutions are searching for individuals who possess an empathetic awareness of other cultures and know how to communicate differences and similarities en masse. Today I use what I learned from my religious studies degree every day, on my job, in my community, and in my home. The professors in the department are the best kept secret on IUI’s campus. Check out one class and you’ll see why.”

– Colby Hill, ‘13

Careers for Religious Studies Grads

Religious Studies students have gone into careers in a variety of fields that require critical thinking and problem-solving, excellent writing and communication skills, and an ability to work with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Students combine their professional skills in natural science, pre-medicine, public health, nursing, social work, public affairs, philanthropic studies, secondary education, business, and technology with excellent writing and communication skills, the flexibility to conceptualize complex social and moral problems, and the cross-cultural understanding needed to build respectful relationships and teamwork.

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Contact department mentor Prof. Kelly Hayes or department chair Professor Rachel Wheeler.