Why Study Religion?

Studying Religion:  Preparing Students to More Fully Engage the World

Scholar Gary Kessler writes that religion is "a force that influences, for good or for ill, the lives of practically everyone who is alive."  People live and die in the name of religion.  And increasingly, religion has become a central part of election campaigns, educational curricula, personal decisions, and popular culture products. Given the power of religion in our world, it is imperative that we, as citizens, study it.  The academic study of religion provides students with essential skills (critical thinking, analytical writing, active listening, cross cultural communication, critical empathy, public speaking, scholarly research, etc.,) and prepares them to engage the diversity and complexity of our global environment in meaningful ways.  For additional perspectives, read Nathan Schneider's article, Why the World Needs Religious Studies, on Religious Dispatches, and Religious Studies Revival, from Newsweek Magazine, September 2010.

What Can I Do With A Religion Major or Minor?

Majors will have enhanced understanding of cultural diversity and the complexity of diverse world views.  International and historical perspectives will in turn provide the wider context for students' understanding of their own culture, as well as provide preparation for careers in international relations, development, and commerce.  After graduation, Religious Studies majors do the same things other humanities majors do, in roughly the same proportions.  Majoring in Religious Studies is not, for most students, a route to a religious career, any more than majoring in English leads to being a novelist, poet, or literary critic.  Our majors have gone on to pursue careers in a wide variety of fields, including Non-Profit work, Education, Law, Social Work, Medicine, Business/Finance, and Graduate School.  A recent survey of 114 graduates of the Religion program at Wake Forest University within the last ten years revealed that 90% of those surveyed responded that they were satisfied/very satisfied with their choices of religion as a major or minor and a similar percentage would make the same decision again given the opportunity.

Who can I talk with about a major/minor in Religious Studies?

To make an appointment to talk with someone about your interest in a Religious Studies major or minor, or how to use RELS courses for General Education credit, please e-mail our academic advisor, Ms. Lee Green-Hall.