OVERVIEW OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES

What are interdisciplinary programs?

 

What is Religious Studies?

 

 

Why study religion in college?

What about careers?

 

Think about it.       Keep an open mind!

 

What are interdisciplinary programs?

Complementing Brooklyn College's strong traditional department-based curriculum are interdisciplinary programs that take advantage of the breadth as well as depth of intellectual resources on our campus. These programs focus on areas of study that cross departmental boundaries and encourage students to explore various perspectives on human knowledge. They are the result of collaborative efforts by faculty from several disciplines to create programs addressing complex questions coherently from a common but multidimensional standpoint. 

The Studies in Religion Program is one of seven interdisciplinary programs. The college also has four departments devoted to specific areas of interdisciplinary study..

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What is Religious Studies?

bulletThe academic study of religion is not religious education aimed at strengthening people's faith. Nor does it intend disrespect towards religious faith. Instead, it brings together people of various faiths or no faith to examine the role of religion in all times and places and the ways it continues to shape societies, cultures, and political systems. 
bulletReligious Studies is an academic field that investigates all religious phenomena. Since religious experience is so varied, its study requires diverse perspectives and methods. Religious Studies examines the place of religion in all cultures in light of social, philosophical, and psychological questions. Religious Studies students look at literature, history, and society in relation to religion, using methods from the Humanities and Social Sciences.  
bullet Since the study of religion is not the privileged possession of a single discipline, the program is interdisciplinary and interdepartmental, drawing on faculty and courses from several departments. The program provides students with the opportunity to examine religious artifacts, texts, institutions, and communities within a particular culture and historical context as well as comparatively. 
bulletOur goals include helping students:
bullet to recognize and examine the important role of religion in history and the contemporary world
bullet to explore the wide variety of religious thought and practice, past and present
bullet to develop methods for the academic study of particular religions and religion in comparative perspective
bullet to develop appreciation of the difficulties and possibilities inherent in undertaking a critical, disciplined study of religion
bullet to contribute to the ongoing discussion of the nature of religion

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Why study religion in college?

bulletThe answer, in part, would be the same for all the liberal arts and sciences. A college degree means more than learning a trade or preparing for a job. It prepares a student for life by offering a wide range of intellectual and social experiences. The study of religion contributes to this goal by developing critical thinking and a fuller understanding of society, culture, and history. 
bulletEvery educated person should know something about religion, one of the primary expressions of the human condition and an historically powerful force in shaping our cultures. 
bulletMany of the pressing political, social, and cultural issues reflected in today's headlines are connected to religious beliefs and practices. 
bullet By exploring the public and private concerns that religions seek to address -- for example, the nature of community and solitude, suffering and death, good and evil -- you will discover new ways of interpreting the complex world in which you live and your relationship to it.
bulletStudying the religious traditions of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, and Europe, exploring their beliefs, behaviors, values, rituals, texts, and forms of community, you will discover something about conflict and accord within and between religions and between religious and secular points of view.
bulletCollege students, whether their backgrounds are secular or religious, can benefit from the personal questions of meaning, purpose, and identity that are basic to Religious Studies.

 

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What about careers?

The career options open to Religious Studies majors are limited only by the imagination. Majoring in Religious Studies provides students with the critical thinking and writing skills and general knowledge of the world necessary to perform a variety of professional tasks. While some Religious Studies majors pursue graduate study or careers in fields directly associated with religion, most pursue further graduate and professional education or careers in other fields. Undergraduate majors in Religious Studies are valued by law schools, business schools, medical schools, public policy programs, and a wide variety of employers and graduate programs. Combined with another major, the dual Religious Studies major with its emphasis on cultural awareness and breadth of knowledge, analysis, research and writing skills, and ethical decision-making prepares students for successful professional lives and creative leadership in their communities.

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Since Religious Studies sensitizes the student to the variety of convictions, commitments and cultures which exist in our world, graduates typically find employment in those fields which stress human interaction. Religious Studies students have found careers requiring a combination of analytical skills and cultural understanding - from the ministry to social work to politics, from education to law, from graduate studies to entertainment.

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Some typical career paths
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religious organizations in various capacities

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teaching

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journalism

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social work

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counseling,

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health sector

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some areas of business and industry

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government and non-profit organizations

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international relations

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tourism

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Related Fields/Graduate Study
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Students who pursue a Ph.D. usually teach at the college level.

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Some religious studies students go on to seminary in order to join the ministry.

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Most religious studies majors go to graduate school in different fields, such as education, law, medicine, or business.

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