Are graduate studies available for this program? No
Can you major in this program? Yes
Can you minor in this program? Yes
Emphasis within the major: Jewish and Christian literature and history, ethics, non-Western religious traditions, new religious movements
Popular second majors: English, psychology, history
This program's faculty lead travel courses to Europe and the Middle East.
This fact sheet is also available as a PDF.
Religious studies explores the role of religion in culture through study of sacred texts, languages, ethics, beliefs and the history of religious traditions. Courses examine the influence of religion in shaping the human quest for meaning.
Religious studies is inherently multidisciplinary, encompassing social-scientific, literary, linguistic, historical, cross-cultural and theological methods of inquiry.
What makes the program distinctive?
The Department of Religious Studies at Stetson University offers a wide array of courses in biblical studies, world religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, religions of Asia), ethics, archaeology, theology and new religious movements, as well as courses in biblical Hebrew and Greek.
Majoring in religious studies at Stetson University not only provides a student with the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue graduate or professional study (in graduate schools or seminary), but it also provides a student with good reasoning and analytical skills, excellent writing and communication skills, and an exposure to the great questions and great thinkers that have shaped our world.
Academics and Research
All religious studies majors must complete a senior research project in which they work closely with a faculty member in directed and independent research, culminating in a major research paper and an oral presentation. This is a capstone course in which the student demonstrates research, critical thinking and communication skills.
Facilities and opportunities
In addition to regular classroom study, the department offers study abroad opportunities, with faculty leading various travel courses that include visits to Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Greece, England and France. In addition, students can participate in a summer travel course focusing on religion and the civil rights movement.
Preparation for graduate study
Religious studies majors are well-prepared for continuing graduate study in religion. Our graduates study at some of the best graduate programs in religion, and often receive substantial grants and scholarships from those institutions.
Awards and Recognition
The faculty members in the department are not only dedicated classroom teachers, but also are active scholars, as evidenced by their publications, participation in scholarly organizations, and presentations at academic conferences. Several faculty members have been recipients of university awards for teaching excellence, scholarship, community service, and involvement with students. Faculty members include:
- Phillip C. Lucas, Ph.D., University of California at Santa Barbara; religion in America, new religious movements, world religions
- Donald William Musser, Ph.D., University of Chicago; theology, religion and culture
- Kandy Queen Sutherland, Ph.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Hebrew scriptures, women and gender studies
- Mitchell Reddish, Ph.D., Southern Seminary, Louisville; New Testament, literature and history of early Judaism
- D. Gregory Sapp, Ph.D., University of Virginia; history of Christian thought, philosophical theology
- D. Dixon Sutherland, Ph.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; religion and ethics
- Leena Taneja, Ph.D., George Washington University; South Asian religions, devotional schools of Hinduism, postmodern theory
Students are encouraged to take part in the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (S.U.R.E.), which provides funding for equipment, room and board and travel.
Undergraduate awards and honors
Students can be inducted into Theta Alpha Kappa, the national honorary society in religious studies and theology. The department awards the Sam R. Marks Prize in Religion (a cash prize for the best research paper in biblical studies) and each year recognizes its outstanding juniors and seniors.
Religious studies graduates are professional ministers, lawyers, doctors, professors, college administrators and business leaders. Our graduates have studied at Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, Emory University, University of Chicago, University of Virginia and Princeton Theological Seminary, among others. In addition to graduate study in religion, religious studies graduates have continued their education in law school, medical school, social work and business school.