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Religious Studies

Religions are sources of meaning, engagement, and hope for persons and societies near and far.

Religious Studies at Randolph helps you to fathom in close detail the captivating and critical data of global and local religious traditions. It is crucial in our networked world to come to terms with the worldviews and material cultures shaping how religious folk think about and practice basic elements of human life, from racial justice and sex to political power and death.

Religious Studies isn’t a faith-based path! While some majors and minors are persons of faith, many express no religious affiliation.

Former US Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry recently confessed that “if I headed back to college today, I would major in comparative religions rather than political science. That is because religious actors and institutions are playing an influential role in every region of the world and on nearly every issue central to U.S. foreign policy.” He concludes that “leaders in public life need to recognize that in a world where people of all religious traditions are migrating and mingling like never before, we ignore the global impact of religion at our peril.” In this, Kerry echoes another former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who argues that American ignorance about religions “poses one of the greatest challenges to our public diplomacy.”

Your degree of intercultural competence will be defined in large measure by your knowledge of global religions. How much do you know about Islam? About Muslim communities in the United States, Saudi Arabia, or China? About the Muslim community in Lynchburg? Do these communities differ in outlook and practice? Is Buddhism here the same as Buddhism there and everywhere?

Our course offerings reflect a multidisciplinary approach to religious forms of life, past and present, with an eye for the cultivation of informed, thoughtful engagement in our domestic and global public square. The life more abundant is impossible without knowledge of how religions form and inform notions and pursuits of abundance.

Our graduates discover that it is an exceptional foundation for success in a variety of careers. Some choose public service and community action, others medicine, others law, others the corporate world, and some continue their education at top schools around the country like Yale, Harvard, UVA, Wake Forest, and elsewhere.

Possible additional pathways include:

  • International aid and relief organizations
  • Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), (e.g., Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch)
  • Nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations (e.g., Vital Voices or Habitat for Humanity)
  • Federal government agencies with an international focus (e.g., Peace Corps, USAID and the Foreign Service)
  • Humanitarian organizations (e.g., International Red Cross and CARE)
  • Community organization
  • Think tanks like Pew and Rand

Academic Offerings

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