Religious Studies focuses on issues that involve values, ethics, power and morality, and their institutional and individual expression in all cultures. Religious Studies graduates are trained to grapple with the problems of colliding belief systems, and are aware of ways in which conflict and good intentions can serve the interests of powerful institutions. In particular, Religious Studies teaches the critical evaluation of competing claims and methods of resolving these.
The Religious Studies Program at USU was the first such degree program in the Intermountain West, and bolstered by financial support from individuals statewide. The program prepares students for careers work with and for religious groups and organizations such as business, law, and education and social work, healthcare, and nonprofit work. Graduates are trained to grapple with the problems of colliding belief systems, and are aware of ways in which conflict and good intentions can serve the interests of powerful institutions. In particular, Religious Studies teaches the critical evaluation and resolution of competing claims.
A place of learning and sharing
The Religious Studies Program is affiliated with The Intermountain West Journal of Religious Studies.The journal is designed to promote the academic study of religion at the graduate and undergraduate levels and USU students have the opportunity to get involved with its production. The program has an active Religious Studies Club, which is open to all students and members from all religious faiths. The club is a chance to learn about many different issues pertinent to the academic study of religion. Anyone with an interest in Religious Studies is invited to join.
"A well-educated person ought to have a basic understanding of each of the world's religions. Historically, the religious impulse to believe in a supernatural or divine being and to construct a purpose for human existence is found in all peoples throughout all of recorded history. This impulse is deeply felt by many today, both for good and ill. A religious studies program will begin the process of asking why we believe and act as we do."
- Hardy Redd, ’61, trustee of the Charles and Annaley Redd Foundation
What it takes
The interdisciplinary Religious Studies major consists of 36 credits, six credits of which are earned by taking two required courses: Introduction to Religious Studies (Religious Studies 1010) and the Religious Studies Capstone Seminar (Religious Studies 4990). The remaining 27 credits are earned by taking new and existing courses in three areas: Cultural Inquiry, Scientific Inquiry, and Doctrinal Inquiry. In addition, a Religious Studies Minor is being offered, consisting of 15 credits, with Introduction to Religious Studies (Religious Studies 1010) required.
It is expected that students completing the Religious Studies Major will understand the influence upon culture and the influence of culture upon religion; analyze the influence of religious value systems on individuals; apply appropriate methods of research and argumentation to questions concerning religion and culture; communicate their findings in clear well-reasoned writing; and express cultural literacy concerning the major religions of the world.