The Department of Religious Studies offers DePaul students
the opportunity to engage in the academic study of religion. The study of
religion includes not only the traditional areas of sacred texts, myths,
rituals, mystical experiences and doctrines, but also the ways in which
political, social and economic forces shape these phenomena for religious
communities. Drawing on a host of
academic disciplines, religious studies challenges students to encounter the
traditions of the world in all their rich diversity. Given the complexity of
the subject matter, members of the department draw upon several other academic
disciplines -- anthropology, art history, biblical studies, economics,
environmental studies, ethics, gender studies, history, linguistics, literature
and literary criticism, political science, philosophy, psychology, sociology,
and theology -- as they do their work.
Beyond work with texts, students may also study religion
through the media of film and video, music, the visual and dramatic arts, and the
internet. The department emphasizes
comprehensive learning in writing, synthetic and analytic thinking, and oral
communication skills. Students can go
beyond their course work with further learning opportunities, such as the
senior thesis, independent study, study abroad and internships, and service
learning, both locally and internationally.
A religious studies major or minor
is positioned to pursue a wide variety of careers. A bridge between the
specialist's perspectives on religion and a wider world that is often in need
of these perspectives, religious studies majors have worked in the fields of
law, social work, regional and international business, governmental and
non-governmental service, secondary school teaching, and service in religious
communities. A religious studies major is also well-prepared for further
studies in graduate programs leading to careers in academia.
The Department encourages students in all major
concentrations and minors to engage various questions related to the study of
religion, such as (but not limited to):
do religious communities come into being and define themselves?
do religious communities form worldviews, doctrines, and practices, and
how does the study of religion help us to understand their change over
do sacred texts come into being, and what do they communicate to us?
does religion shape culture, and how does the wider culture define
is the role of religion in the contemporary world?
do religion or religious sensibilities help us to relate (or hinder us
from relating) to each other?
can an informed student of religion evaluate the rival claims to truth and
moral rightness of different religious and secular ideologies?
do religious traditions and texts treat issues of sexuality and gender,
race and class?
have religious traditions interacted with each other in the past, and how
do they continue to do so today?