Religious Studies (B.A.)

ABOUT

A recent study by the American Academy of Religion predicts that by 2050 80 percent of the world's population will identify with one of four religions — Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. Do you want to become a global thinker with a deeper understanding of the world's cultural, political and social differences? Clemson's religious studies major provides its students an interdisciplinary grounding in the histories, scriptures, rituals, mythologies, ethics and beliefs of world religious traditions as they have been situated in specific geo-political contexts through the millennia. Our students often double-major in a related field and go on to pursue graduate work and employment in the fields of law, medicine, politics, ministry, nonprofit and service-related industries.

FAST FACTS

  • Clemson has traditionally offered a minor in religious studies, but in 2014 began offering a Bachelor of Arts program.
  • The number of students majoring in religious studies at public universities grew by 40 percent between 1996 and 2005.
  • The Pew Research Forum finds that those who identify as highly religious know the least about their religion and about the religions of others.
  • Religious studies is a quintessential interdisciplinary humanities discipline where philosophy, theology, sociology, psychology, ethics, economics, politics, anthropology and cultural studies meet.
  • According to data from the Law School Admissions Council, religion/religious studies majors are among the strongest law school applicants, averaging a 155.95 score on the LSAT.
  • More than 92 percent of philosophy or religious studies graduates were employed in the middle of the recent recession, according to a Georgetown University study.

WHAT YOU'LL STUDY

As a religious studies student, you'll take required courses in the Abrahamic religious traditions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) and, if interested, have the opportunity to study several other traditions, including Buddhism and Hinduism. In addition to courses in major faith traditions, you'll take a four-year sequence of courses moving from an introductory acquaintance with the world's religious traditions, to immersion in the methods and theories of the academic study of religion, to individualized research with faculty, to a senior capstone seminar.

In this interdisciplinary program, our students take courses in Western history and philosophy and can take courses with faculty in other departments who have research interests in religion, including classes such as Religion and American Politics, Sociology of Religion, Ancient Near East, The Reformation, Medieval Conquests and Crusades and The History of the Middle East to 1800.

Study Abroad: Beyond classes, you'll have the chance to study abroad as part of two religious studies trips. Encounter the material world of the early Christian church through a summer immersion experience in Turkey and Greece. Or visit archaeological sites, ancient basilicas and museums in Rome and Italy as part of our second faculty-led study abroad summer trip.

Double Major: If you're interested in having a double major, there are several that we suggest students pursue:

  • Philosophy
  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Modern Languages
  • Sociology
  • English

EXPERIENCES BEYOND THE CLASSROOM

Whether you’re interested in pursuing a career in law, ministry or service-related entities, here you will become a global thinker with a deeper understanding of the world’s cultural, political and social differences.

 Study abroad opportunities have included visiting ancient sites in Israel and Jordan and exploring cities in Greece that were foundational to Christianity, among others.
 All majors participate in the Junior Research Colloquium, which provides the opportunity to research a topic of one’s own choosing, working independently with a faculty member one-on-one and in conversation with other students.
 Religious studies faculty and students are closely engaged. Debate and continue conversations long after class is over as you hone your critical thinking skills.

CONNECT WITH OTHER STUDENTS

AFTER GRADUATION

Your college decision isn't really about the next four years. We get it. It's about what doors are opened by your degree and whether those opportunities are what you had envisioned for yourself. Here's a snapshot of what life after graduation looks like for some of our most recent students.

RECENT EMPLOYERS

  • Young Life

  • U.S. Air Force

  • Peace Corps

  • Ford's Theater

  • Clemson University

  • Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health

  • Project Hope

  • U.S. State Department

RECENT POSTGRADUATE STUDIES

  • J.D.

    Campbell University School of Law

  • Master of Arts

    Yale Divinity School

  • Master of Letters

    University of St. Andrew (Scotland)

  • Master of Divinity

    Luthern Theological Southern Seminary

  • Master of Divinity

    Fuller Theological Seminary

  • Master of Divinity

    Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

  • Master of Divinity

    Virginia Theological Seminary

  • Master of Divinity

    Boston University School of Theology

  • MBA

    Clemson University

  • Master of Professional Studies in Integrated Marketing Communications

    Georgetown University

COMMON CAREER AREAS

    • Humanitarian
      • Peace Corps
      • Nonprofit Leadership
    • Religion
      • Campus Ministry
      • Church Administration
      • Clergy
      • Youth Ministry
      • Parachurch Ministry
    • Legal
      • Lawyer
    • Government
      • State Department
    • Education
      • Secondary Education
      • Postsecondary Education
    • Social Work
      • Counselor
      • Social Worker

Used with permission from the University of Tennessee.

FIND OUT MORE

Have more questions or want more information? Fill out the form below, which goes directly to the following department contact. If you’d also like to receive general University information from Clemson’s admissions office, please follow the link to the right and sign up to join our mailing list.

Benjamin White

Assistant Professor of Religion
864-656-2001
bwhite5@clemson.edu

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