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Department of Religion

Undergraduate Studies

Why Study Religion at Syracuse?

Religion is deeply connected to the human experience. Courses in the Department of Religion explore the role of religion in art, literature, philosophy, and society. They examine both the historical role of religion in the making of human thought and civilization and how religion continues to play a crucial role in society today. We offer both introductory and upper-division courses in each of the five major world religions – Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism plus indigenous religions. We also offer courses that explore the role of religion in different global regions such as Religious Issues in American Life, India’s Religious Worlds, and Religion in Chinese Society. We also offer many courses that explore the role of religious ideas and practices in particular aspects of human experience such as: Religion and Sexuality, God in Political Theory, Religions and Storytelling, and Religion and Sports. We offer small classes that provide you with the opportunity to get to know your professors and work closely with them. We focus on helping you to read, write, and think about the world around you in a critical and informed way.

Why Minor or Major in Religion at Syracuse?

Minoring or majoring in Religion can enable you to develop a critical awareness and understanding of one of the foundations of human culture and society. Completing the religion major will hone your ability to think critically and analytically and to develop strong reading, writing, and presentation skills. Many of our majors pair religion with other fields of study where it often plays a critical role. Double majors in the humanities have paired religion with philosophy, history, art, and literature. For students interested in the social studies, religion offers an informed perspective on society and social change in the contemporary world. Because our faculty conduct research in different parts of the world, the perspective of our courses is global in orientation. Recently, Secretary of State John Kerry stated that if he returned to college today, he would major in religion because it is central to the foundations of global societies with which diplomats and foreign relations experts must engage. Our students have also combined religion minors and majors with international relations, political science, sociology, and anthropology. Minoring or majoring in religion can equip pre-med students with greater sensitivities to the backgrounds and beliefs of different patients in our increasingly diverse society. For pre-law students, religion can improve important skills in reading and analyzing texts and in logic and critical reasoning.

Current Courses


Ahmed E. Abdel-Meguid, Philip P. Arnold, Zachary J. Braiterman, Virginia Burrus, Gareth J. Fisher, Ken Frieden, Ann Grodzins Gold, Biko Mandela GrayM. Gail Hamner, Tazim R. Kassam, R. Gustav Niebuhr, William A. Robert, Marcia C. Robinson, Joanne Punzo Waghorne, Ernest E. Wallwork, James W. Watts


Philip P. Arnold
501 Hall of Languages

Director of Undergraduate Studies:

Marcia Robinson
501 Hall of Languages