Mission and Student Learning Outcomes

Mission Statement

Prayer in El Ghriba Synagogue, Tunisia

The primary mission of the Department of Religious Studies is to provide students with an exemplary liberal arts education through courses and programs dedicated to the academic study of the human religious experience in its manifold and multiple expressions. Although properly considered a field within the humanities, the study of religion is interdisciplinary and even multidisciplinary in its methodologies, and comparative and global in its scope. In order to foster a critical and disciplined understanding of the various roles of religion in human societies, the department assumes no confessional position, nor are its courses and programs designed to advocate for or against particular religious beliefs or practices. Rather, the department seeks to provide students with the opportunities to explore some of the fundamental questions of human existence from a variety of perspectives, and to seek to understand the ways in which religious ideas, practices, and communities have contributed to the construction of meaning, both historically and within contemporary cultures and societies.

Student Learning Outcomes

Religious Literacy and Knowledge of the Major: Students will develop a foundational competence in religious literacy and demonstrate their abilities to apply the concepts and methods utilized in the academic study of religion.

Critical Thinking:  Students will cultivate the skills of critical thinking and exhibit the ability to apply these skills in objective inquiry as expressed in written and oral communication.

Written Communication:  Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate ideas and arguments effectively in the various writing styles and genres appropriate to the study of the humanities.


Completion of RELS 398 with a grade of C or better demonstrates information literacy and major competencies. Completion of RELS 492 with a grade of C or better demonstrates written and oral competencies.