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.
The religious studies program explores the role of religion in culture through the 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.
The religious studies program is inherently multidisciplinary, encompassing social-scientific, literary, linguistic, historical, cross-cultural and theological methods of inquiry.
A Distinctive Program
The Department of Religious Studies offers a wide variety 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 or minoring in religious studies at Stetson University not only provides a student with the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue graduate or professional study, 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 students majoring in religious studies 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 in which faculty lead 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
Students in the religious studies program 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 religious studies faculty members are dedicated classroom teachers and 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. The faculty includes:
- Barry Altman, Ph.D.
- Christopher Bell, Ph.D., University of Virginia; Tibetan deity cults and rituals, Eastern models of divinity, Asian demonologies
- Phillip Lucas, Ph.D., University of California at Santa Barbara; religion in America, new religious movements, world religions
- Donald 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
- Gregory Sapp, Ph.D., University of Virginia; history of Christian thought, philosophical theology
- Dixon Sutherland, Ph.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; religion and ethics
Students are encouraged to take part in the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), 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.
Graduates of the religious studies program 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 social work, law school, medical school and business school.