Maj
Min

Religious Studies

About

The religious studies program at Saint Michael’s serves as excellent preparation for graduate studies and any number of career choices built on a solid liberal arts foundation.

In keeping with the mission of Saint Michael’s as a Catholic liberal arts college, we approach religious studies by examining the foundations, development, meaning, and cultural relevance of the Christian tradition. We also encourage you to explore other religious traditions, such as Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.

Ultimately, these studies contribute to our graduates’ understanding of humanity and of themselves, and help to develop the skills of critical thinking and analysis that are essential to successful careers, further study, and lives of service.

Sample 4-Year Plan

Fall

100 level Religious Studies course
Foreign Language I
First Year Seminar
Liberal Studies course

Spring

200 level Religious Studies course
Foreign Language II
Liberal Studies course
Liberal Studies course

Fall

200 or 300 level Religious Studies course
Liberal Studies course
Electives

Spring

200 or 300 level Religious Studies course
Liberal Studies course
Electives

Fall

200 or 300 level Religious Studies course(s)
Junior Seminar
Electives

 

Spring

200 or 300 level Religious Studies course(s)
Electives

Fall

RS 310 Religion: Theory and Method
300 level Religious Studies course(s)
Electives

Spring

RS 410 Religious Studies Seminar
300 level Religious Studies course(s)
Electives

In Depth

Religious Studies is the academic study of religion from a variety of perspectives, using a variety of different disciplines. In keeping with the mission of Saint Michael’s College, the Religious Studies Department offers a wide range of courses that study the broader Christian religious tradition and the Roman Catholic tradition in particular. We also offer a variety of courses in the study of Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. In addition, our courses tackle broader philosophical and cultural issues surrounding the phenomenon of religion. Some students choose to create a focus for their major in specialized areas such as Christian traditions and thought, World Religions, Ethics, Early Christian Studies, or the study of the Bible.

Religious Studies majors learn to think critically about and evaluate the claims made by various religious groups. They gain detailed knowledge about the history of the world’s religious traditions, and they are expected to develop an empathetic understanding of the world-views of others. Our graduates more fully understand the complex interplay between religion and other aspects of society, and they learn how various people both past and present have lived out their spiritual lives. Few areas of study are as relevant for understanding our twenty-first century world as the study of religion.

Many Religious Studies majors also double major in another discipline. Popular combinations with Religious Studies are Political Science, Psychology, English, History, and Elementary Education. In addition, many students choose to minor in Religious Studies. Current Religious Studies minors are majoring in such diverse fields as Business Administration, Biochemistry, Sociology, Economics, Media Studies, Anthropology, Biology, and Classics, among others.

Religious Studies Learning Outcomes

Special Opportunities

There are many special opportunities available for a Religious Studies major or minor at Saint Michael’s.

As a Religious Studies major you will always have a Religious Studies professor as your academic advisor, so you get the very best advice about courses, study abroad, senior thesis topics, and careers.

A highlight of your program is that majors (and minors if they choose!) participate in the 2-part senior capstone experience of RS 310 (Religion: Theory and Method) and RS 410 (Senior Seminar). In the fall semester of senior year you take RS 310 and develop ideas for your senior thesis. You write your senior thesis in the spring semester of senior year, working closely on a specific project with one faculty member. This chance to work in close collaboration with a faculty member on your thesis is one of the high points of being a Religious Studies major.

If you are interested in studying abroad, there are many study abroad programs which have great courses on religion. Recent majors have studied religion at leading universities, including several at Oxford. In the past three years, our Religious Studies majors have studied in some of the world’s great cities including Rome, Istanbul, Florence, Prague, Athens and Samoa. Other recent graduates have studied in Nepal, Poland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, India, Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand, Morocco and South Africa, and many other countries. These courses can really broaden your understanding and experience of religion as a worldwide cultural force, and most of them can be counted towards your Religious Studies degree from Saint Michael’s.

Back at Saint Michael’s you can get involved in internships through the department or even apply for scholarships to work on a summer research project with one professor. Religious Studies department internships provide real life work experience coupled with an academic component designed by the student and directing professor. Examples of recent internships include working at a Catholic charity while studying Catholic social teaching, interning with the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program helping recent refugees to the area, working on a local program that promotes environmental ethics while investigating the concept of environmental stewardship in world religions, and working for a Fair Trade Organization while developing strategies for engaging various religious communities. In recent years several Religious Studies students have been granted competitive awards to pursue research with a faculty mentor, pursuing such diverse topics as Christianity in Russia since the end of communism, Syriac Christianity, and the influence of technology on the concept of community among religious groups in the Burlington area.

Careers

A degree in Religious Studies provides a strong liberal arts foundation in critical and creative thinking, as well as in oral and written communication. Careers pursued by our recent Religious Studies graduates include:

  • Law
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Journalism
  • Social Work
  • Youth Advocacy
  • Library Science
  • Media Consultancy
  • Nursing
  • Brewing
  • Law Enforcement
  • Fire Fighting
  • Publishing
  • University Admissions Officer
  • Campus Ministry
  • Development/Fundraising
  • Insurance Underwriting
  • Digital Forensics
  • Elementary Education
  • Secondary Education
  • Speech Pathology
  • Parish Youth Ministry
  • Religious Vocation

Graduate Studies

Saint Michael’s Religious Studies majors have had great success in acceptance to graduate programs in Religious Studies/Theology. We currently have recent graduates pursuing master’s degrees at Yale Divinity, Harvard Divinity, Oxford University, Notre Dame, University of Dayton, Villanova, and Boston College, and doctoral degrees at Cambridge and the Catholic University of America. Other recent graduates have received advanced degrees from such institutions as:

  • Brown University
  • Cambridge University
  • Princeton University
  • University of Chicago
  • Boston College
  • The Catholic University of America
  • University of Hawaii
  • University of Kansas
  • Temple

Our majors have also pursued graduate studies in other disciplines, including:

  • law
  • international relations
  • higher education
  • public policy
  • special education
  • criminology
  • high school counseling
  • nursing
  • teaching English as a foreign language

Other recent Religious Studies graduates have chosen a year of service, with several joining the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and one awarded a prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award to teach in Indonesia.

In Depth

Religious Studies is the academic study of religion from a variety of perspectives, using a variety of different disciplines. In keeping with the mission of Saint Michael’s College, the Religious Studies Department offers a wide range of courses that study the broader Christian religious tradition and the Roman Catholic tradition in particular. We also offer a variety of courses in the study of Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. In addition, our courses tackle broader philosophical and cultural issues surrounding the phenomenon of religion. Some students choose to create a focus for their major in specialized areas such as Christian traditions and thought, World Religions, Ethics, Early Christian Studies, or the study of the Bible.

Religious Studies majors learn to think critically about and evaluate the claims made by various religious groups. They gain detailed knowledge about the history of the world’s religious traditions, and they are expected to develop an empathetic understanding of the world-views of others. Our graduates more fully understand the complex interplay between religion and other aspects of society, and they learn how various people both past and present have lived out their spiritual lives. Few areas of study are as relevant for understanding our twenty-first century world as the study of religion.

Many Religious Studies majors also double major in another discipline. Popular combinations with Religious Studies are Political Science, Psychology, English, History, and Elementary Education. In addition, many students choose to minor in Religious Studies. Current Religious Studies minors are majoring in such diverse fields as Business Administration, Biochemistry, Sociology, Economics, Media Studies, Anthropology, Biology, and Classics, among others.

Religious Studies Learning Outcomes

Special Opportunities

There are many special opportunities available for a Religious Studies major or minor at Saint Michael’s.

As a Religious Studies major you will always have a Religious Studies professor as your academic advisor, so you get the very best advice about courses, study abroad, senior thesis topics, and careers.

A highlight of your program is that majors (and minors if they choose!) participate in the 2-part senior capstone experience of RS 310 (Religion: Theory and Method) and RS 410 (Senior Seminar). In the fall semester of senior year you take RS 310 and develop ideas for your senior thesis. You write your senior thesis in the spring semester of senior year, working closely on a specific project with one faculty member. This chance to work in close collaboration with a faculty member on your thesis is one of the high points of being a Religious Studies major.

If you are interested in studying abroad, there are many study abroad programs which have great courses on religion. Recent majors have studied religion at leading universities, including several at Oxford. In the past three years, our Religious Studies majors have studied in some of the world’s great cities including Rome, Istanbul, Florence, Prague, Athens and Samoa. Other recent graduates have studied in Nepal, Poland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, India, Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand, Morocco and South Africa, and many other countries. These courses can really broaden your understanding and experience of religion as a worldwide cultural force, and most of them can be counted towards your Religious Studies degree from Saint Michael’s.

Back at Saint Michael’s you can get involved in internships through the department or even apply for scholarships to work on a summer research project with one professor. Religious Studies department internships provide real life work experience coupled with an academic component designed by the student and directing professor. Examples of recent internships include working at a Catholic charity while studying Catholic social teaching, interning with the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program helping recent refugees to the area, working on a local program that promotes environmental ethics while investigating the concept of environmental stewardship in world religions, and working for a Fair Trade Organization while developing strategies for engaging various religious communities. In recent years several Religious Studies students have been granted competitive awards to pursue research with a faculty mentor, pursuing such diverse topics as Christianity in Russia since the end of communism, Syriac Christianity, and the influence of technology on the concept of community among religious groups in the Burlington area.

Careers

A degree in Religious Studies provides a strong liberal arts foundation in critical and creative thinking, as well as in oral and written communication. Careers pursued by our recent Religious Studies graduates include:

  • Law
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Journalism
  • Social Work
  • Youth Advocacy
  • Library Science
  • Media Consultancy
  • Nursing
  • Brewing
  • Law Enforcement
  • Fire Fighting
  • Publishing
  • University Admissions Officer
  • Campus Ministry
  • Development/Fundraising
  • Insurance Underwriting
  • Digital Forensics
  • Elementary Education
  • Secondary Education
  • Speech Pathology
  • Parish Youth Ministry
  • Religious Vocation

Graduate Studies

Saint Michael’s Religious Studies majors have had great success in acceptance to graduate programs in Religious Studies/Theology. We currently have recent graduates pursuing master’s degrees at Yale Divinity, Harvard Divinity, Oxford University, Notre Dame, University of Dayton, Villanova, and Boston College, and doctoral degrees at Cambridge and the Catholic University of America. Other recent graduates have received advanced degrees from such institutions as:

  • Brown University
  • Cambridge University
  • Princeton University
  • University of Chicago
  • Boston College
  • The Catholic University of America
  • University of Hawaii
  • University of Kansas
  • Temple

Our majors have also pursued graduate studies in other disciplines, including:

  • law
  • international relations
  • higher education
  • public policy
  • special education
  • criminology
  • high school counseling
  • nursing
  • teaching English as a foreign language

Other recent Religious Studies graduates have chosen a year of service, with several joining the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and one awarded a prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award to teach in Indonesia.