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Religious Studies

To understand the contemporary world, you must understand the nature and impact of religion.

What is Religious Studies?

Religious studies is an interdisciplinary field that investigates human religious traditions in all their historical, cultural and doctrinal complexity and their impact on all aspects of human affairs. It gives you the opportunity to study the history, texts and practices of well-known religions — including Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam — as well as lesser known religions, such as Vodou or Wicca.

Program Overview

Rather than approaching religions from the standpoint of believers, our program allows you to investigate these complicated traditions of beliefs and practices from a neutral perspective, seeking to understand:

  • how they have come about,
  • what they are made of,
  • why their practitioners do what they do and
  • how they affect other aspects of humanity, culture, society and politics.

What Can I Do With My Degree?

A man views a museum exhibit.

A major or minor in religious studies at NC State will help prepare you for both work and further study. The programs provide:

  • Knowledge and skills that are useful for careers in many fields, including advertising, consulting, diplomacy, editing and publishing, educating the public, fund-raising, humanitarianism, journalism, marketing, museum projects, non-profit operations, public relations, public service, and the military.
  • Solid foundations for professional training in fields as diverse as education, human rights, international studies, law, library science, management, medicine, ministry, public administration, and social work.
  • Excellent preparation for graduate studies in the humanities and social sciences, including anthropology, cultural studies, history, political science, religious studies, and theology.

For more information, see:

To give you an idea of where your degree can lead, here’s a list of job titles for some of our alumni:

  • Assistant Editor, Sports Business Daily
  • QA Tester, Epic Games Inc.
  • HR Manager, Red Hat
  • Business Services Coordinator, NC State University
  • General Surgeon, Bristol Surgical Associates, P.C.
  • Realtor, Green Fox Realty
  • Communications Manager, Verizon
  • Program Assistant, NC Rural Center
  • Researcher, Town of Old Salem

Activities and Events

The department sponsors public lectures and forums on a wide range of topics through the Religious Studies Colloquium Series and the new annual Impact of Religion Series.

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Why Study Religion?

Religion is a major force in the human world:

  • It’s a source of meaning, explanation, comfort and guidance for the vast majority of the world’s population.
  • It fuels liberation and oppression, progress and persecution, cooperation and conflict.
  • It makes a big difference to the ways in which human beings approach the most important challenges that they face, including challenges arising from advances in science and technology, social and economic change, globalization, competition, infectious diseases and natural disasters.
  • It has an enormous impact on national and international affairs.

The problems of humanity and human affairs cannot be understood or effectively addressed without an understanding of religion and its influence.

Whatever your primary interests, one or more courses in religious studies will improve your understanding of humanity and human beings, and will enhance your capacity to make sense of views and perspectives different from your own.

If you take a major or minor in religious studies you will be trained to interpret and evaluate different aspects of religion and religious traditions, and to think critically, constructively, and independently about important issues such as the comparison of religious traditions, the relationship between beliefs and practices, the justification of religious beliefs, the interpretation of sacred texts, religious ethics and the role and impact of religions in modern societies.

You will develop your capacity to understand, criticize and construct arguments about religions, identify and engage major issues in the field, and elaborate your ideas and present them – whether orally or in written form – in a clear, coherent and well-organized form.

For more information, see:

Connect With Us

Undergraduate Program Contacts

Jason Bivins, senior advisor in religious studies
447 Withers Hall
Phone: 919-515-6102

Ms. Kendall Hubbard, student services associate
Phone: 919-515-6100

Meet Our Faculty

Our faculty come from a variety of backgrounds. Find a full listing here.