The study of religion prepares people for life in the 21st century, characterized by diverse cultures, values, and traditions. Religious studies provide insight into the world in a way that facilitates an understanding of varied world views and ethical systems.

“I often say that if I headed back to college today, I would major in comparative religions … That is because religious actors and institutions are playing an influential role in every region of the world and on nearly every issue central to U.S. foreign policy.” —Secretary of State John Kerry, September 14, 2015
Why Study Religion?

The study of religion has been one of the most important fields of academic study since the first colleges and universities were formed! There are many reasons to study religion:

  • Religion is a powerful and often central part of the lives of individuals and groups

  • Religion is an important factor in contemporary politics, business, and international affairs

  • Studying religion develops an understanding of people and groups that is useful for any career path

  • Studying religion teaches important skills (critical thinking, good writing, detail-oriented reading) that prepare one for future success

What Do We Study?

We study the roles religion plays in human life:

  • The richness and diversity of human religious life

  • Similarity and difference within and among religious traditions

  • Questions of meaning as raised around the world

  • Connections among religion, culture, and society

Double Majors

The study of religion enriches studies in other disciplines. Our students often double major. Some recent double majors include: 

  • Neuroscience
  • Economics
  • Psychology
  • International Relations
  • Politics
  • Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Modern Languages 

Ben Zeller, Associate Professor of Religion, discusses his Digital Chicago project of creating immersive 360° digital tours of Chicagoland area churches, including First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest, Pilgrim Baptist Church in Chicago, and Lily Reid Holt Memorial Chapel at Lake Forest College. The tours can be viewed on your desktop and mobile browsers, as well as in virtual reality with Google Cardboard or other viewers such as the HTC Vive. 

Digital Chicago History

I think sometimes it's hard to picture what career paths are open to religious study majors, but trust me there are plenty.
Majda Elezovic-Rahmanovic ’10

Related Programs

Benjamin Zeller
Professor of Religion
Chair of Religion
Buchanan Hall 005

Joy Markee
Department Assistant
Buchanan Hall 110