What is Religious Studies?

Religious Studies is an academic discipline that looks at religious phenomena worldwide from a variety of angles in order to understand the many roles that religion plays in human life. To this end, students of religion learn to use a variety of theoretical analyses and methods. These include historical methods to understand how religions develop in time; critical literary methods to understand religious ideas; aesthetic methods to understand religious art and material culture; social-scientific methods to understand the relationship between religion, society and culture. Religious Studies can also engage a variety of professional disciplines in analysis of how religion functions in economic, educational or political contexts, healthcare and scientific research, to name some examples. Some ways of studying religion emphasize understanding religions on their own terms, other ways use comparative methods to discern differences and similarities between religions. Students of religion also study ways that people use religious resources to make meaning outside the boundaries of religious institutions and identities. Above all, the field of religious studies requires a willingness to explore different ways of interpreting human life and diligent effort to develop understanding of how religious ideas, symbols, rituals, spaces, etcetera serve as resources for people in a variety of contexts as they make sense of and live out their lives in the world. Thus Religious Studies provides important preparation for thinking, communicating and functioning professionally and personally in a complex, multi-dimensional world.



Contact us at:

Students interested in the major or certificate or who have questions about specific classes should email Associate Director Dr. Corrie Norman.

Religious Studies Program
Bradley Memorial Building, 1225 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706

Religious Studies Program Manager
Room 210, Bradley Memorial Building, 1225 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706

Email: religiousstudies@letsci.wisc.edu

Phone: (608) 265-1854

Senior Auditor Policy and Instructions. RS does not provide audit forms. Please obtain audit forms online at http://continuingstudies.wisc.edu/advising/enroll-guest.htm. If a class is not displaying as full online, auditors should attend the first class to ask for the instructor’s written permission to audit. Please bring your audit permission form to the class. We do not give audit permission prior to the first class. Once you have a completed audit permission form, signed by the course instructor, bring it to 210 Bradley Memorial Building. Leave it in the door file if the RS Program Manager is not present. We will give you electronic “class permission” for you to enroll online. Try to enroll online a few days after you turn in the form. Permission forms cannot be completed prior to the first week of classes. Please do not contact the instructor via email ahead of time.  Please note the deadlines for auditor enrollment. 

RS Newsletter Fall 2017
RS Newsletter Fall 2015