Explore the Vast Array of World Religion

Religious belief has inspired both armies and charities, politicians and prophetic voices that have shaped world history. Religions have provided the foundation for ethical behavior and in many societies have been the primary source of education. Even in our own secular United States, religions and their beliefs play a major role in our debates over public policy.

Religious Studies at UW builds skills for your future in a globalized world. You will learn to ask life’s big questions, analyze how communities across time and place have addressed these questions and communicate persuasively in your own speech and writing.

What Is Religious Studies?

The discipline of religious studies teaches students about the character of the world’s different religions, both religions important in our own country and those important in nations around the world. At the lower levels, courses emphasize how followers express their beliefs and practices through literature and art, theology and worship, ethics and laws, politics and government. In higher-level courses, students learn how to analyze religious expression and products, as well as to investigate the ways religions and other cultural phenomena interact—from political parties and government institutions to more popular expressions in film, TV and popular music.

The goal of the courses is not to persuade students to believe in a particular religion (or not to believe in it) but to analyze it. Courses help students understand why people commit to a religion, believe its teachings and practice its way of life. They provide students with the intellectual tools to study the ramifications of such commitment, both at the individual and societal levels.

Religious studies classes teach students how to analyze and understand human behavior and its motivation. That motivation may come from beliefs or regular practices, it may be reactions to social pressures and organization both within religion and outside it. It may stem from agreement or disagreement with public pronouncements, speeches and debates.

The field trains students to see connections, analyze cause and effect and explore the “big picture.” It enables people to understand secondary and tertiary ramifications of actions and plans, as well as to evaluate how effective plans and acts can be (or were) for their primary, intended purposes.

Student and professor in class
Tibetan Monks creating a mandala sand painting in the Student Union

Religious studies students will acquire a focused concentration by taking three courses (1) on a single religion, or (2) on the religions of a particular region or culture. Courses may be from a limited time period or spread across history. Students may choose from established concentrations or create their own concentration in consultation with their adviser.

Learn more about course requirements.

Student smiling in class

What Can You Do With a Religious Studies Degree?

The subject matter of religion and the skills one develops by studying it constitute important training for careers that depend upon understanding human behaviors, desires and decision-making. These include: law, medicine, journalism, education, counseling, advertising, marketing and public service. And of course, Religious Studies can be good training for a career in the religious professions—from ministers, priests and rabbis to youth leaders, music directors and even monks—even though students are not trained to believe in any particular religious tradition.

Religious Studies Careers

  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Journalism
  • Education
  • Counseling
  • Advertising
  • Public Service
  • Diplomacy
  • Publishing
  • Museum Work
  • Editing
  • Ministry


Students and professor in class

Graduate schools UW Religious Studies alumni have attended:

  • University of Wyoming
  • Western Michigan University
  • University of Minnesota
  • Iliff School of Theology
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Religious Studies Bachelors Degree Program Highlights

The religious studies program at UW allows you to explore some of life's biggest ideas and questions in an enriching academic environment. Here are a few highlights that draw students to our program.

Study Abroad

The religious studies department has a long history of offering faculty-led study abroad classes. These classes not only allow students to gain direct experience of the religions they study, but they also allow the students to experience themselves as part of an interconnected and interdependent world. These study abroad classes are frequently cross-listed with Honors College study abroad course credit. Students have studied in major cities like Venice, Jerusalem, London, Tokyo, Paris and Bangkok.

Honors Designation

Religious studies majors can pursue an Honors College designation with two additional requirements to the Religious studies degree:(1) Taking a three-hour Thesis Seminar course or Internship course, in which a research paper or project is completed, and (2) Demonstrating competency in a foreign language equivalent to a fourth-semester college-level course. Students will also need to be accepted to the Honors College and meet the Honors program requirements.

I came out of Religion 4000 not only more educated, but also more confident in my capabilities as a student. I feel well-suited for the academic journey that lies ahead of me.

- Religious Studies Alumni

Contact Us

We're Eager to Help!

Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies

Ross Hall Rm. #223

Department 3392, 1000 E. University Avenue

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-3204

Email: philosophy@uwyo.edu