The Department of Religious Studies seeks to engage students in the study of religion as an academic discipline within the broader tradition of the liberal arts. As a field of humanistic inquiry, the study of religion at UNC Asheville investigates both the development and contemporary significance of the human religious experience from interdisciplinary perspectives that incorporate a variety of methodological approaches.
The study of religion has always been a critical aspect of the liberal arts emphasis at UNC Asheville, but a formal curriculum began only in 1997 when the Department of Philosophy began to offer a minor in Religious Studies. The program expanded into a major department in 2009 and now boasts over forty majors.
As we continue to grow, Religious Studies cooperates with faculty in other departments to offer courses not only in comparative religions but in such areas of study as the philosophy and sociology of religion. Students may also take a number of approved electives, such as Biblical Hebrew, for Religious Studies credit.
One of the great achievements of modern scholarship is the invention of the modern study of religion. It ought to be an essential element of education....The fact that we do not just practice religion or ideology, but study it means a new phase of human awareness.
–Ninian Smart, Religion and the Western Mind