Understanding various religious systems from all parts of the world
The study of religions at Alfred University is global and focuses on activities and beliefs that people consider important in their cultural and personal lives. And because this study is inherently interdisciplinary, you will find yourself using anthropological, historical, philosophical, and literary methods to understand religious systems in various parts of the world.
The minor consists of 20 credit hours in Religious Studies coursework. Students may substitute up to four elective credit hours in Philosophy, History, Anthropology, English, Psychology, or Sociology courses related to Religious Studies in content or methodology. Substitutions must be approved by the advisor.
In the Religious Studies minor, you'll explore matters such as:
- the philosophical ideas of St. Augustine, Ogotemmeli, and Nagarjuna; the moral values of Confucius, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King
- religious communities such as the Buddhist sangha, medieval monasticism, and African American churches
- artistic accomplishments such as Navajo sandpaintings, Hindu temples, and earthworks of contemporary artists
- myths such as the Zuni creation account, the Mahabharata, and Hebrew stories about their ancestors found in the Bible
- rituals such as the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Haitian possession rituals, and the Jewish Passover.
The Religious Studies program contributes significantly to several majors at Alfred University, most notably, Philosophy. Philosophy of Religion is one of two tracks in the philosophy major. Faculty in religious studies have joined with anthropology and non-western art history to create other impactful major-minor combinations.
Because religious beliefs, rituals and values bear upon all aspects of human life, the study of religions complements majors in many areas. The study of religions contributes to careers in humanities, social sciences, and the arts and it enhances career opportunities in such diverse areas as international affairs, journalism, business, social work, counseling, communications, the health professions, education, and, of course, the ministry. Therefore students in many parts of the university minor in religious studies.