Austin College

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Department Name: 
Religious Studies
Approximate Enrollment (entire institution): 
1,350
Number of Religion Majors: 
10
Number of Full-Time Departmental Faculty: 
3
Public Institution?: 
Private
Related to a religious denomination or body?: 
Yes
Which best describes the institution?: 
Grants bachelor degrees only
Department offers undergraduate coursework in ministerial preparation (either a track, a minor, or a major)?: 
No
Department or institution offers masters programs in religious studies or theological studies?: 
No
Department or institution offers doctoral programs in religious studies or theological studies?: 
No
Description of Undergraduate Major: 

The religious studies program studies offers an array of courses that provide broad exposure to diverse religious texts, traditions, practices, and themes throughout various world cultures/regions from the ancient to the modern periods. The program focuses on the intersection of religious meanings and specific cultural contexts that shape those meanings. The approach to the study of religion is therefore largely interdisciplinary, with any single course providing exposure to several different methods of analysis and interpretation. Using these diverse approaches, the religious studies program investigates the complex, often ambiguous processes, products and performances of religious communities and individuals over time. We also seek to understand and assess religious phenomena on their own terms, appreciating their contributions to human vitality in the past and present, and examining their significance for the future. We welcome students from all religious and theological/philosophical/ideological persuasions, and aim to foster an environment where students feel free to deepen their understanding of their own traditions while engaging alternative perspectives that provide challenges and new insights. Alongside various other course offerings, the Religious Studies Program has three fields of concentration: 1) Asian religions and cultures; 2) Bible and culture; and 3) Christian theology and history. These fields correspond with the current strengths and interests of the department.