Welcome to Religious Studies

As a Religious Studies student at East Carolina University, you will study religion from a nonsectarian, interdisciplinary fashion, and explore religion as an historical and cultural phenomenon with significant influence in the world. The Religious Studies program neither excludes nor promotes any religious tradition or viewpoint. In addition to exploring specific religions, students take courses in a variety of disciplines that consider religious themes and approaches. Some of these disciplines include anthropology, archaeology, art, history, literature, philosophy, psychology and sociology.

Why Study Religion

Religion is a social phenomenon that has great influence on human experience. Across the world history, religious values have, on the one hand, given human meaning and these traditions have laid the foundation for human relations as documented in human rights, democracy, social justice movements, interfaith interaction, tolerance and peace. On the other hand, religious ideologies have fueled conflict and encouraged insecurities such as acts of terrorism and ethnic cleansing, leading to dislocation and migration of populations and in some cases economies and general welfare of people have been destroyed.

The study of religion enables one to understand origins and complex relationships in human relations. As an academic field of study, religious studies is the most interdisciplinary field with direct relevance to the world we live in. The Religious Studies major as a concentration:

  • Complements many professions, including business, counseling, education, foreign service, or social work.
  • Provides excellent preparation for theological schools and various forms of ministry, including ancillary institutional functions such as education, finance, music, publishing, and recreation
  • Creates a strong foundation for graduate work in preparation for research and teaching
  • Informs students in their quest for meaning in life by probing the big issues in human life and action
  • Allows students to combine their study of religion with a major or minor in another program, enabling them to broaden their educational experience and acquire a more immediately marketable skill
  • Helps students to think analytically and communicate effectively
  • Enhances cultural awareness, which is increasingly vital in our ever more interconnected world.

Skills acquired in Religious Studies are transferable to many career fields especially in our ever more culturally diverse world, and as we move into the 21st century. Testimonies from many graduates who have gone on to successful work in various professions confirm this.

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This is what great United States Secretary have said regarding the significance of studying religion.

"In a world where people of all faiths are migrating and mingling like never before, we ignore the global impact of religion at our peril" - Madeline Albright, United States Secretary of State (2015)

"If I went back to college today, I think I would probably major in comparative religion, because that's how integrated it is in everything that we are working on and deciding and thinking about in life today." -- United States Secretary of State John F. Kerry

Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion (SECSOR) AAR/SBL Annual SE Meeting

Religious Studies Program is proud to hosts the 2019 SECSOR- AAR/SBL Annual SE Meeting
Theme:  Religion, Animality, and the Posthuman
When:  March 8-10

The Religious Studies Program at East Carolina University invites faculty, students and the public to the Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion (SECSOR) annual meeting to be held in Spring 2019. SECSOR is a regional American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) co-sponsored academic organization whose mission is to organize professors and scholars of religion and Biblical Studies to stimulate scholarship, discussion, and teaching in religion. It is an honor for the Religious Studies Program at East Carolina University to host the next 2019 meeting.  We welcome participants to the beautiful city of Greenville in North Carolina. Although proposal submission for the 2019 annual meeting was October 1st, 2018, participants are encouraged to pre-register for the meeting  at here [link to be added here].

Plan on visiting the following Plenary Sessions:

  • “Are Scholars of Religion Posthumanists or Transhumanists?” by Dr. Ron Cole-Turner, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary to be held at March 8, 2019  at 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM in the New Student Center Ballroom.
  • “Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and the Future of Humanity” by Dr. Calvin Mercer  to be held on March 9, 2019  at 11:00 AM in Bate 1032. This presentation will be followed by an Exhibit on Robotics, Drones, & Other Technologies  in Bate 2012  at 9 am.

  2019 AAR-SBL Annual Meeting

For details about SECSOR, visit https://secsor.org/executive-board.