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Explore your interest in Christianity and discover other great religious traditions of the world.

While Shenandoah’s Bachelor of Arts in Religion prepares you for seminary and life as ordained clergy in a Christian faith community, its commitment to critical thinking, independent learning, research and communication skills also prepares you for a wide range of professions where such skills are valued. A recent article in Education Insider lists 25 great jobs for humanities majors many involving various opportunities in business.


What Our Program Offers You

What our students learn/Skills you will acquire

You’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of the religious traditions of the world with a particular emphasis on the Christian tradition. You’ll learn to think clearly and critically about religious ideas; and, through the comparative study of philosophy, sacred texts, religious history, spirituality, theology and ethics, you’ll learn to think across disciplines and cultures.

You’ll learn:

• basic biblical and theological knowledge relevant to an understanding and analysis of the Christian faith tradition

• introductory knowledge of the great religious traditions of the world and more in-depth knowledge of at least one non-Christian tradition

• how to read and think critically about religious faith in a context where faith is respected

• how to communicate effectively, especially in writing

The major provides a rich encounter with the liberal arts. Along with the JustFaith Leadership Certificate Program, the Religion major prepares you for seminary and leadership in the 21st century church.

What makes our program unique?

You’ll have the opportunity to study with a diverse core of deeply qualified and broadly experienced faculty with specialized expertise in spirituality and ethics.

You’ll read and write extensively about the Christian religious tradition, have your own religious perspectives challenged and broadened, and combine your academic study with field experience in the ministry of the Office of Spiritual Life and in other faith-based ministries.

Our program is unique with respect to its commitment to serving the Christian community and specifically the United Methodist Church through the academic study of religion. Shenandoah also enjoys a cooperative relationship between its Department of Religion and the Office of Spiritual Life.

Academic & Career Opportunities

Our program will prepare you to provide effective leadership in faith communities that are wrestling with a broad range of doctrinal, moral and organizational issues. You’ll also be able to interpret the world’s religious traditions and their significance in a multi-cultural and increasingly secular context, as well as contribute to the debates about the role of religion in a modern, democratic society.

You’ll practice and test your faith in a wide variety of service opportunities available through the university and in the community.

You’ll visit nearby monasteries, retreat centers and places of worship in a variety of religions traditions in the company of experienced faculty and Spiritual Life staff.

Course Requirements

Religion Major — 36 Hours Total

Religion 202: World Religion — 3 hours

Philosophy 101: Intro to Philosophy 
Philosophy 120: History of Western Philosophy

Four additional courses at the 100-200 level — 12 hours

At least one of the following 
Religion 210: Hebrew Bible
Religion 211: New Testament
At least one of the following
Religion 225: Christian Social Ethics  Religion 251: Christian Spirituality  
Other courses that count toward the major at the 100-200 level
Religion 101: Introduction to Religion
Religion 111: Christian Discipleship
Religion 220: A Survey of Western Christianity

Six courses at the 300-400 level — 18 hours

At least one of these three (3)
Religion 310: Judaism (Fall 2012)
Religion 311: Asian Religion and Philosophy
Religion 312:  Islam  
Other courses at the 300-400 level that may count toward the major
Religion 301: Christian Theology
Religion 320: Christian Education
Religion 321:Church Leadership
Religion 330: History of Christianity in the United States
Religion 320:  Christian Education
Religion 331: Christianity in the African-American Experience
Philosophy 331: Philosophy of Non-violence
Religion 340: Religion and Ecology
Religion 450: Corporate Worship
Religion 391: Topics
Religion 401: Seminar
Religion 421: Practicum 
Religion 451: Topics
May count one (only one) of the following toward 300-400 level requirements.
HIST 445: Renaissance and Reformation
PHIL 361: History of Western Political Philosophy 1
PHIL 362: History of Western Political Philosophy 2
Capstone project: Every major will be required to complete a capstone project in a 300 or 400 level course taken during the last 9 hours of the student’s program.  That project will require students to apply ideas critically and comparatively from various perspectives and or traditions (possibly non-Christians ones) to a theme, topic, or problem related to the subject matter of that course.  For students doing the capstone project in Religion 421, the project may involve a practical problem or issue related to the context in which students fulfill requirements for Religion 421: Practicum.


John D. Copenhaver

Professor of Religion and Philosophy
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Barry Penn Hollar

Professor of Philosophy and Religion
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Meredith Minister

Assistant Professor of Religion
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