Why Religious Studies?


What is religious studies?

The Department of Religious Studies approaches the world's religious traditions and contemporary religiosity as historical and cultural phenomena. Courses offered examine the histories, texts, beliefs, values, and practices of a variety of the world's religions (including Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), as well as the religious and spiritual dimensions of contemporary and popular culture. In addition to studying the beliefs and practices that comprise religion in its historical and contemporary reforms, our curriculum includes courses that contextualize religions in relation to the arts, politics, gender, sciences, ethics, and secularism. The study of religion invites multiple perspectives on the enduring place of religions and spiritualities in human society.


What do religious studies students do?
What do religious studies students study? Some sample courses include:
  • RELS 1001 Critical Reading and Writing: Religion and Violence; examines the relationship between religion(s) and violence from Religious Studies perspectives.  Students learn the principles of scholarly analysis appropriate to the study of religious phenomena, the elements of academic assessment, and the mechanics of academic writing.  Emphasis is placed on critical reading and writing, analyzing texts, evaluating sources, framing questions, organizing paragraphs, developing effective arguments, and refining presentation of written work. 
  • RELS 2022 Jesus at the Movies; examines how Jesus has been dramatized in film, investigating the reception of select Jesus films and cinematic Christ figures in academic, religious, and popular cultures, and reflecting on the sources and intentions informing the filmmaker's work.
  • RELS 2812 Religion and Popular Culture; focuses on the portrayal and treatment of religion in popular culture and the ways in which religious and mythic themes are expressed in such pop culture forums as television shows, films, music, mass-market fiction, and material culture.
What sort of jobs do religious studies grads get?

Gemma Hickey holds a BA in religious studies from Memorial, and is currently completing their Masters in gender studies. Gemma is a widely known activist, and is best known for co-leading the movement that legalized same-sex marriage in Canada. They are the Founder of the Pathways Foundation, an emerging agency that offers support to survivors of clergy abuse and the Executive Director of ArtforceNL (formerly known as For the Love of Learning), an arts-based charity that works to improve the lives of at-risk youth (see https://artforcenl.org/).