Religious Studies

The Department of Religious Studies offers courses on the history and philosophy of religions, including their origins, sacred texts, beliefs, rituals, practices, and subgroups. Understanding the role of religion is critical for analyzing the socio-political forces shaping the world today. The rise of militant Buddhism in Myanmar, the role of Evangelicals in US politics, and the struggle for legitimacy among contemporary Muslims are only a few current examples of how religion drives the formation of community and conflict.

What You Can Do with a Degree in Religious Studies

An undergraduate major in religious studies provides broad training for any humanitarian profession. Recent graduates have gone on to study law, medicine, journalism, work in social service organizations, and pursue an interdisciplinary graduate degree. While gaining knowledge of global religious traditions, you will gain critical reading, analytical thinking, and writing skills that are useful in any career path. Religious studies majors have launched successful careers in:

  • Nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations
  • Community and social services
  • Education
  • Religious organizations
  • Immigrant and refugee services
  • Cultural heritage organizations
  • Print and online media publishing
  • Political action committees
  • Public interest groups
  • Legal aid societies
Benjamin Loy

How Religious Studies Launches Your Career

Religious studies has been a truly foundational part of my journey deeper both into my inner world and the vast world around me. It helped me see the great diversity of human values and experience, filling me with curiosity to always understand more deeply. Religious studies, as a multidisciplinary field, and religion itself are often entangled in many paradoxes. Rather than being a problem, however, such paradoxes are powerful and dynamic tools to continually challenge and interrogate the frameworks and lenses we view the world through. Since graduation, this spirit of deep inquiry has stayed with me both through my months of Arabic study in Jordan and now as I begin to teach in China.

—Benjamin Loy, '22

Our Degree Programs

Students in the Department of Religious Studies can pursue a major or a minor. The religious studies department does not offer a graduate degree. However, students can work with faculty members in other departments to develop an MA or MS in interdisciplinary studies.

qu'ran in a stand

Learn from Experts in the Field

The Department of Religious Studies is an interdisciplinary program taught by award-winning researchers from a variety of departments across the UO, including Middle East and North African studies, medieval studies, and Asian studies. Our faculty members have authored multiple books and regularly conduct grant-funded research.

Students in front of a building in Jerusalem

Get Real-world Experience

Students in the Department of Religious Studies can broaden their horizons by exploring world religions in another country. The UO offers study abroad programs in Jerusalem, Bali, Jordan, and Nepal.

Scholarships and Funding

Students in the Department of Religious Studies can apply for funding from the College of Arts and Sciences, the UO Financial Aid Department, and other sources.

Undergraduate Scholarships


Academic Support

Students are strongly encouraged to maintain contact with their academic advisors to discuss their course of study and plan for their careers. Religious studies majors can seek advising through Tykeson Hall or consult the department’s undergraduate advisor.

Undergraduate Advising

Religious Studies News and Events

August 17, 2023
RELIGIOUS STUDIES - In his 2022 book Creating the Qur'an: A Historical-Critical Study, CAS Professor Stephen Shoemaker explores the age of the Qur'an.
February 16, 2023
COMPUTER SCIENCE, ENGLISH, HISTORY - Six UO faculty members were selected for Fulbright Scholars awards, helping the University of Oregon earn recognition as a top Fulbright producing institution from the U.S. Department of State the 2022-23 academic year. Four of the six Fulbright Scholar recipients have accepted placements for the 2022-23 academic year.
November 7, 2022
RELIGIOUS STUDIES - A new award is shining a spotlight on the hard work of department leaders at the University of Oregon. The Office of the Provost is recognizing Mark Unno and Gretchen Soderlund as the Outstanding Department Heads of 2022. Both winners will receive a $5,000 award.

All news »

The BIG 10+ Academia Career Fair
The BIG 10+ Academia Career Fair Oct 16
Bob Bussel Labor History Lecture
Bob Bussel Labor History Lecture Apr 24 William W. Knight Law Center

All events »