Why study religion?
The study of religion prepares you for more than a career—it prepares you for life.
Religion can inspire and provoke, unite and polarize. It is the primary expression of humanity's quest to find meaning and purpose. Understanding this phenomenon helps us explore the most basic questions of our existence. From politics and art to science and war, the study of religion opens a gateway to understanding the world around us.
A religious studies degree equips students with skills to enter a wide range of careers including law, education, medicine, journalism, government, the non-profit sector, and spiritual leadership. Religious studies alumni are civil rights activists, Hollywood screenwriters, motivational speakers, and college professors.
Our Gateway Courses
Want to grapple with profound ethical and theological questions? Or learn about the ideas, people, and rituals that shape religion? Begin with our gateway course Religion Around the Globe. Or try Is Stanford a Religion?, which examines how the university's culture resembles a religion through its myths, rituals, and taboos, or The Religious Life of Things, which looks at how religions around the world understand the objects that surround us. Discover the various other "frosh friendly" courses through our Explore Majors page!
Our Exploring series introduces the world's great religious traditions, like Exploring Zen Buddhism, Exploring the New Testament or Exploring Islamic Mysticism. Follow up with courses that examine how religion relates to essential aspects of culture, gender, politics, and identity, such as Buddhist Philosophy, the Language of Islam, or Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr.
Beyond the Classroom
From exploring sacred sites around the world to participating in lively events on campus, there are myriad opportunities for enhancing your understanding of religion's role in history and society. In addition to events supported by the department, we also work closely with several affiliated centers. Read more about our affiliates.