Religious Studies (BA)

Religious Studies at Ohio State is an interdisciplinary field, which requires the active involvement of faculty from numerous different departments, from the arts to the hard sciences. Studying religion includes the study of written texts and spoken languages, works of art, architecture, music and drama as well as myriad social practices and institutions.

Religion runs throughout the fabric of human life. We cannot fully understand culture, politics, economics, morality, or social change without considering how religion has influenced them. The academic study of religion does not favor any particular religious standpoint. Instead, it enables students to explore traditions ranging from antiquity to the present, from the local to the global.

With faculty from disciplines across the university, the religious studies major and minor nurture the critical thinking skills and sensitivity to cultural difference relevant in an increasingly diverse and pluralistic world. Some graduates have taken jobs where such qualities can be put to use immediately. Others have gone on to advanced degrees not only in religious studies or divinity, but also in law, business, education, and global studies.


  • Study of Religions: The in-depth study of different religious traditions in specific historical, cultural and geographical contexts.
  • Religions and Cultures: The study of religions in relation to cultural, social, and political institutions, and in relation to categories of identity and difference.

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Students majoring in religious studies develop strong skills in analytical and critical thinking and in written and spoken communication. These skills are essential to many positions in both the public and private sector: government; the law; local, national and international service organizations; business and industry; and all levels of education. Religious studies students also develop their understanding of religious and cultural differences, including those of gender, ethnicity, race and class.

courses you might take:

COMPSTD 2367.07: Religious Diversity in the U.S.

Exploration of the concept of religious freedom and the position of minority religious groups in American society.

RELSTDS 2370: Introduction to Comparative Religion

Introduction to the academic study of religion through comparison among major traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) and smaller communities.

RELSTDS 2670: Science and Religion

A philosophical examination of the relationship between science and religion; concentration on issues regarding the creation of the universe and the origins of life.

RELSTDS 2102.01: Literature and Religion

Study of relationships between religion and secular literature; analysis of religious and spiritual elements of literature and film of diverse cultures and historical periods.

RELSTDS 2102.02: Comparative Sacred Texts

Introduction to religious views of the universe, the supernatural, social organization, ethics, etc., through sacred texts (oral and written) of diverse cultures and historical periods.



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