Religious studies offers instruction in the history and practice of many world religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Near Eastern religious traditions. Explore the great religions of the world and immerse yourself in many fascinating cultures. Learn about ancient Egyptian rituals, the history of China, the life of Buddha, how and why Judaism and Christianity split, who wrote the Bible, how different world religions interact today and many other aspects of religions practiced around the world.
You have the unique opportunity to study religious issues from a scholarly perspective. Religion courses at WVU are intended to stimulate interest in the academic discipline of religious studies, which involves studying religions objectively, without an agenda. Yet our courses often complement students’ own religious beliefs. Instructors use various methodologies that allow students to immerse themselves in, and to learn about, many different traditions. Some of these methodologies include studying ancient texts, examining the history and traditions of various world cultures, the use of resource texts from reputable scholars and the analysis of archaeological data. This major is useful to anyone seeking a professional career in religion, such as the ministry, teaching, graduate study of theology, biblical studies and religious journalism.
How will I focus my studies?
The religious studies major includes courses in the religions of China and Japan, Zen Buddhism, Islam and Near Eastern traditions and world religions. In addition, courses are regularly offered in religion and science, evolution and creationism, archaeology and other topics of interest.
Any student admitted to an undergraduate degree program at WVU may complete a minor in religious studies. The minor consists of 15 hours of coursework in religious studies, with at least nine hours at the upper-level (300-level or above).
Margaret Helmick, Charleston, W.Va.Major: Religious Studies
Margaret spent a month traveling through Europe and Asia in summer 2017. There she visited museums and churches while experiencing other cultures and religions around the world. "It was such an incredible experience that only made me fall more in love with what I study,” Margaret says. “Had I never found my passion for religion at WVU, I would not have been able to so greatly appreciate that experience.”
It wasn't until she took an introductory world religions
class that Margaret realized how interested she was with the topic. "If
you had told the high school version of myself that I would one day dream of
becoming a professor of religious studies, she would have told you that you
were crazy," she says. Margaret plans to attend graduate school after receiving
her bachelor's degree with a goal of earning a Ph.D. She hopes to use her
education to become a religious studies professor in the future.