Religious Studies

Religions have played, and continue to play, a profound role in the way people shape their lives. In the religious studies program, you will explore the nature of religious convictions and how those convictions shape our perception of life and death, good and evil, justice and mercy.

The mission of the Religious Studies program is to educate students in the liberal arts tradition through the examination of the complexity, richness and variety of religion as an aspect of human experience within a dynamic and changing society. You'll acquire knowledge and skills necessary for the graduate study of religion and for a variety of professional careers.

You can expect to build a solid foundation for your own religious experiences and lay the groundwork for further exploration of the Bible, religion and theology. You can also expect to develop an enlightened perspective from which to approach other religious traditions and academic disciplines. Students in religious studies strive toward a career and lifestyle guided by religious faith and understanding, in religious fields as well as other fields of study. 

FAST FACTS

84% of the world’s population identify with a religious group (source).
 
Actors Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mayim Bialik and Rashida Jones all majored in religion.
 
Highly-religious Americans are happier and more involved with family (source).

What You’ll Study

Religious studies courses intersect with a wide range of other disciplines. Our course offerings explore ethics, philosophical problems, theological traditions, historical movements, literature and film, and the rich diversity of religious traditions. 

Beyond the Classroom

Religious studies students at Lees-McRae have participated in a wide range of internships from adult ministry in local churches to counselling at summer camps. 

Similar Majors

English
History

Popular Minors

History
Psychology
English

After Graduation

Common Career Areas

The Religious Studies program is not just for students interested in careers in professional ministry. Students who major in religious studies pursue careers in any field that values clear communication and critical thinking skills. The ability to think carefully about abstract problems and to communicate those thoughts clearly and accurately provides an excellent foundation for graduate programs in law, business, history, literature, and the social sciences. Students who may not want to pursue graduate study but who have a particular interest in religion receive a well-rounded education that prepares them for a wide variety of careers.

Alumni Success

Lees-McRae College Religious Studies graduates have pursued advanced degrees at prestigious universities in countries and states as diverse as Scotland (Edinburgh), Georgia, Tennessee, Idaho, Michigan, Virginia, and Oregon.

PhD The University of Edinburgh in Language, Literature and Theology
MDiv Mercer University in Atlanta, Georgia
MDiv Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, Virginia
MDiv Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
MDiv Emmanuel Theological Seminary in Elizabethton, Tennessee
MDiv Emmanuel Theological Seminary in Elizabethton, Tennessee

A degree in Religous Studies has prepared students for a variety of careers including, through certainly not limited to, traditional ministry.

Professor North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Associate Pastor First Presbyterian Church in New Bern, North Carolina
Youth Minister First Baptist Church in Cheraw, South Carolina
Pastoral intern New Philadelphia Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Founding member “Beer and a Bible” in Raleigh
Religious Program Specialist U. S. Navy
Professional Apprentice to the Chaplain the U. S. Navy Chaplain Corps
Site Coordinator at Union Gospel Mission in Seattle, Washington.
Child and Youth Care Specialist Grandfather Home for Children in Banner Elk, North Carolina.
Community Life Coordinator George Fox Evangelical Seminary in Portland, Oregon.

Meet the Faculty

Michael E. Vines, PhD
Professor and Program Coordinator of Religious Studies

Kenneth Craig, Jr., PhD 
Professor of Religious Studies; Dean of Arts, Humanities and Education; Director of the Honors Program

Ready to take the next step?

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