Religious Studies

The religious studies program at Purdue offers students the opportunity to investigate how the different religious traditions of the world seek and understand ultimate reality, how this understanding influences human action and belief about the world, and how historical contexts influence religious thought and practice. By learning about the different religious traditions of the world and their historical contexts, students will cultivate a critical appreciation of diverse religious traditions.  Students will have the opportunity to study this major from the perspective of different departments at Purdue, such as English, history, philosophy, sociology, and anthropology. 

Points of Pride

  • The religious studies program has 20 associated faculty in the departments of English, history, philosophy, and sociology and anthropology.
  • The program offers a unique opportunity to pursue a diversified and well-balanced plan of study.
  • The program's Reading and Bagel Circles series is open to all faculty and students. 


  • Graduate study
  • Management consulting
  • Many other positions in business/management, not related to religious studies but able to capitalize on students’ broad-based liberal arts skill set and critical thinking ability.

Plan of Study

A. The following courses are required (9)

REL 20000 Introduction to the Study of Religion
REL 23000 Religions of the East or PHIL 23000
REL 23100 Religions of the West or PHIL 23100 or ENGL 23200

Note: At least TWELVE credit hours from Categories I, II, and III must be at the 30000-level or higher.

B. Category I: Religious Traditions and Diversity (6)

ENGL 26400 The Bible as Literature
JWST 33000 Introduction to Jewish Studies
PHIL 56000 Studies in Eastern Philosophy
REL 20100 Interpretation of the New Testament or ENGL 46300
REL 20200 Interpretation of the Old Testament or ENGL 46200
REL 20300 Theology of Paul
REL 31700 Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity
REL 31800 The Bible and its Early Interpreters

C. Category II: Religion, Society, and the Public Square (9)

ANTH 37300 Anthropology of Religion
HIST 24500 Islamic Civilization: A Historical and Cultural Survey
HIST 24600 Modern Middle East and North Africa
HIST 31200 The Crusades
HIST 31700 A History of the Christian Church and the Expansion of Christianity I
HIST 31800 A History of the Christian Church and the Expansion of Christianity II
HIST 36000 Gender in Middle East History
HIST 40300 Europe in the Reformation
HIST 41100 Crisis and Change in Europe 1300-1650
HIST 54500 20th Century Middle East: Militant Islam and Cinema
HIST 58900 History of Religions in America
SOC 36700 Religion in America
SOC 56700 Religion in Social Context
SOC 56800 Religion and Society

D. Category III: Philosophy, Culture, and Intellectual History (9)

HIST 41200 Cultural History of the Middle Ages
HIST 59000 The Art of Darkness: The Dead and The Undead in History
HIST 59200 Early American Intellectual History
PHIL 20600 Philosophy of Religion
PHIL 30200 History of Medieval Philosophy
PHIL 40200 Studies in Medieval Christian Thought
PHIL 40600 Intermediate Philosophy of Religion
PHIL 43000 Modern Religious Thought
PHIL 50500 Islamic & Jewish Philosophy & the Classical Tradition
PHIL 50600 Advanced Philosophy of Religion
PHIL 52000 Existentialism
REL 20400 Introduction to Christian Theology
REL 25000 A History of Christian Theology
REL 35000 History of Christian Afterlife
REL 35100 Christian Mysticism
REL 45000 Christian Ethics
REL 45100 Christology
REL 45200 Systematic Theology

Program Course Requirements (57-58 credits): (See PDF for full list here)

ONE of the following:

ENGL 10600 First Year Composition
ENGL 10800 Accelerated First Year Composition

COM 1140 Fundamentals of Speech Communication
Other Language (12) (Proficiency through level IV in one language)
West Heritage
United States Tradition
Other Cultures
Aesthetic Awareness
Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Gender Issues
Social Ethics
Individual and Society
Global Perspective
Natural Sciences
Natural Sciences Lab

Electives (20-21 credits)

University Core Requirements

Courses selected above must meet the following University Core Requirements:

Human Cultures Humanities
Human Cultures Behavioral/Social Science
Information Literacy
Science Selective
Science Selective
Science Technology Society Selective
Written Communication
Oral Communication
Quantitative Reasoning

For more information, visit

Print Plan of Study

Religious Studies

School of Interdisciplinary Studies

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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