Why Choose Nazareth for Religious Studies?

Religion matters. Whether it is cause for warfare or peace, fear or forgiveness, religion's influence upon human history is unparalleled. By exploring the many ways religion and spirituality shape cultural practices, social movements, and psychological perspectives, courses in religious studies give you the skills you need to tackle life's big questions and challenges, to thrive as a creative problem-solver, and to become an agent for positive change.

There is no limit to how the study of religion can contribute to your professional life, whether in education or health care, law or business, social work or pastoral ministry, or in graduate study in a range of fields. While a minor in religious studies is a popular option, our major is streamlined to enable double-majoring, as many students do.

Nazareth University's course offerings are divided into three areas of study, examining the impacts of religion and spirituality on cultures, societies, and individuals:

  • Cross-cultural & Interfaith Awareness: Courses involve sustained study of global traditions, bringing cultural awareness to students' lives and career paths, preparing them to relate responsibly and authentically with future students, patients, clients, business partners, and colleagues from different backgrounds.
  • Ethics & Social Justice: Courses pursue questions of ethics and explore systems that sustain and ameliorate social challenges such as racism, sexism, homophobia, colonialism, economic disparity, and environmental destruction, offering students the skills needed to advocate for equity and justice.
  • Spiritual Wisdom & Well-being: Courses explore contemplative philosophies and practices to learn how spiritual traditions can facilitate informed self-discovery and human understanding, paving the way for students to thrive as compassionate, effective leaders in their fields.

Program Highlights

  • Discover religious studies as a double major or minor to strengthen your cultural, social, and spiritual awareness. This will enhance your effectiveness in any career, including education, law, health fields, the arts, social work, business, or ministry.
  • Strengthen your cross-cultural understanding by embarking on one of many short-term study abroad programs, some of which are led by department faculty members to places like India, Cambodia, Turkey, Israel, Italy, Germany and Poland.
  • Take advantage of experiential learning and internship opportunities with members of local nonprofit agencies and religious communities whose work with marginalized populations is committed to the transformation of oppressive social structures.
  • Join a dynamic intergenerational network that travels to the Parliament of World Religions, that invites you to participate in Nazareth’s own Global Citizenship and Sacred Texts and Human Contexts conferences, and that offers community engagement opportunities through cutting-edge Solidarity and Social Justice Retreats. 
  • Immerse yourself in humanity’s perennial quest for spiritual insight, wisdom, and wellness explored through ancient practices, modern psychology and biomedicine, and localized indigenous traditions.
  • Work with like-minded peers and department partners on campus including the Hickey Center for Interfaith Study and Dialogue, the Konar Center for Tolerance & Jewish Studies, the International Institute of  Islamic Thought & interfaith studies chair, and the Shannon chair for Catholic studies.
  • Enroll in our capstone course open to all students — Self-discovery, Social-Justice, and the Ripple Effect — and meet leaders from the community, learn about what inspires and sustains them, and find your own path as a changemaker in today's world.
Ceara Curry Kilpatrick '18

Alumni Spotlight: Ceara Curry Kilpatrick '18

Religious studies and music double major; minors in interfaith studies and music history

"The degree blessed me with amazing mentors and an opportunity to dive deeper into my passion for learning more about religion and spirituality in our world — while also being able to continue studying music. I especially carry with me all I've learned from my time spent studying religions at Naz as I continue with my theological education both academically and experientially."

Ceara Curry Kilpatrick went on to pursue a Master of Divinity degree with Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and serves as a Spiritual Care Department chaplain intern at Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, N.Y. "With religious studies and interfaith studies in my toolkit, I feel that I bring more empathy, love, understanding and appreciation to every person I encounter at the hospital, no matter their spiritual or cultural background."

Example Careers

  • Education
  • Interfaith relations
  • International business
  • Law and conflict resolution
  • Public and social service
  • Chaplaincy

Internships/Field Experiences

  • Center for Holocaust Awareness and Information
  • Saint's Place, refugee resettlement
  • Rochester Catholic Diocese Chaplaincy

Graduate Schools/Employers

  • Brown University
  • Chicago Theological Union
  • Duquesne University Law School
  • Fordham University
  • Notre Dame University
  • Yale University Divinity School