Religious Studies is one of eight Humanities departments at William & Mary and shares with them certain educational goals: developing analytic and critical writing skills as well as strengthening the abilities to think and speak for oneself. What makes this department unique is the assumption that religion forms a basic and essential element of all cultures, including our own. If one is to understand a society, it is vital to study its religious writings and beliefs.
The Department of Religious Studies has nine full-time professors. Several adjunct or part-time professors supplement a curriculum that studies all the major religious traditions, east and west, ancient and modern. To underline the strengths of the department, courses are grouped into Introductory Studies in Religion, Biblical Studies, Asian Religion, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Religious Ethics, and American Religion. Beginning students will find the 150 and 200-level courses appropriate. But even many 300-level courses are open to freshmen.
Religious Studies majors pursue the careers that become accessible through a rigorous study of the liberal arts and sciences: the traditional professions of medicine, law, divinity, teaching, government and international service; as well as business. Our graduates also find jobs in social work, research, and the military. Learning how to think and write, how to analyze and evaluate issues and evidence, how to discern values and beliefs seems to be universally helpful in a varied and changing work world.
The location of the Department Office and the Department Secretary, Ms. Cooper, is Wren 312. We invite students to visit our Department library and lounge in Wren 315--the large room above the Great Hall.