Religious Studies

Religious Studies

Campus Location: 
College of Arts and Sciences

Religious Studies is an academic discipline encouraging students to think critically about the major religious traditions of our world, as well as their scriptures, stories, rituals, practices, beliefs and aesthetic expressions.

We do not seek to advocate a specific religious practice or belief. Instead, we ask students to engage religious beliefs and practices in an empathetic fashion in order to understand not just other belief systems, but also their own. 

A religious studies major allows you to engage in primary historical texts and modern scholarly writings; ancient and modern religious traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam; and the impact of these traditions on the arts and popular culture.

Classes offered include:

  • Comparative Religions
  • Introductory and advanced courses on the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament
  • Upper-level courses on Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam
  • Religion
  • Film

The major culminates in a comprehensive examination and thesis.

The study of religion is fundamentally about making the strange familiar and the familiar strange.  It's about encountering religious ideas, practices, traditions, and institutions that initially appear to us as "other," disturbingly foreign, and coming to a point where we understand how they can make sense given a certain set of circumstances.  Such work requires not only critical rigor and tenacity in order to elaborate those circumstances; it also requires imagination in order to put oneself in another's situation.” (Timothy K. Beal, Roadside Religion, 12)

Learning Environment
  • Introductory courses average 20-25 students
  • Advanced courses range from 5-15 students

Students are active participants in the learning environment and are expected to bring their own ideas and experiences. Expect short lectures punctuated by discussion and writing exercises.

Travel Opportunities

You will have the opportunity to travel on college-sponsored trips to a variety of U.S. sites or international countries each year through Doane's Interterm (in January or May). Past trips have been taken to Paris, England, Africa, Ireland, Guatemala, Mexico, Israel and Sweden.

Travel Scholarship

All juniors and seniors are provided funds to help with costs associated with college-sponsored trips, via Doane's unique travel scholarship. Many students have used this scholarship to travel abroad for the first time.


All students are encouraged to participate in at least one internship while attending Doane. These internships provide hands-on experience in a field matching the student's interests.


View detailed course information

Requirements for the Religious Studies Major:

General Emphasis

Complete the following 30 credits:

Twelve credits in Religious Studies,

six of which must be at the 400 level, excluding RST 495 

Six credits in Religious Studies,

 three of which must be at the 400 level, excluding RST 495