Michigan State University
Michigan State University
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Department of Religious Studies
Department of Religious Studies


Welcome to the Department of Religious Studies!  Here, you can get to know your professors and join a community of fellow students who share your interests and who, like you, want to learn about international religions and cultures. The Department of Religious Studies offers a broad range of interesting courses, and all of its faculty members are committed both to active research and to excellence in teaching. We help you develop your understanding of religious phenomena both historically and in contemporary societies around the world, strengthen your analytical reading and writing skills, do an internship, and learn about non-profit organizations and non-profit leadership.  

Ours is the first Religious Studies Department in the United States to offer a career track for you in non-profit leadership, offering majors a Nonprofit Leadership Concentration on your transcript.  What’s more, since so many non-profits have an overseas presence, your study of religions will provide you with vital global cultural knowledge.  Learning about religions means that you understand different cultures and develop a more global perspective, while your courses in Nonprofit Leadership apply to other kinds of organizations as well. Religious Studies is the ideal major for those who seek a career in non-government organizations (NGOs), non-profit organizations, government, or international corporations, where a deeper understanding of cultures is essential to furthering organizational aims.  

We encourage you to consider a major in Religious Studies. When you study religion in the tradition of the liberal arts, you develop your capacity for analysis, interpretation, and comparison, while building your own unique body of knowledge about religion in history and in the modern world. Although some in the past argued that religion would fade away in the modern era, in fact today it is more vital than ever to understand the roles religion has played and continues to have in people’s lives.  What’s more, non-profit organizations account for over 11 million jobs, and more than 10% of all private sector employment in the US.  Come talk to us about your career track in non-profits.

Stop by and visit with us—we look forward to meeting you!


Check out our Spring Semester 2019 Newsletter here!


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“Comparative religion is the true multiculturalism and should be installed as the core curriculum in every undergraduate program... I contend that every educated person should be conversant with the sacred texts, rituals, and symbol systems of the great world religions — Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — and that true global understanding is impossible without such knowledge.” — Prof. Camille Paglia


“If I went back to college today, I think I would probably major in comparative religion, because that’s how integrated it is in everything that we are working on and deciding and thinking about in life today.”   —John Kerry, former Secretary of State

Did you know James Comey, former Director of the FBI, had a major in Religious Studies as an undergraduate? “[It] taught me to think well and try to understand other points of view,” Comey said. “It really lit a fire in me to do something to help other people.”