Skip Navigation

Religious Studies

Skip Carousel Content

Skip Side Navigation

Explore Religious Studies at OU

Welcome to the Department of Religious Studies!

The academic study of religion is a vibrant and vital part of OU’s liberal arts curriculum. It is in this discipline that we attend to the ways humans all over the world think about questions of life and death; engage in processes of making meaning, manifesting joy, and of grieving; and create and respond to cultures and institutions of power. Students emerge from our major with a strong foundation in deeply culturally-grounded critical thinking, an ability to interrogate and critique forms of power, and a nuanced understanding of the human condition. Our majors and minors have gone on to pursue careers in a wide variety of fields and professions including especially law, medicine, nonprofit work, and education. No matter what their line of work, our alumni are prepared to honor difference, embrace complexity, and lead with integrity. 

It is very important to all of us in Religious Studies to see students develop intellectually, find and follow their intellectual and academic interests, and develop their personal and career aspirations during their undergraduate years.  We are a warm and welcoming community of scholars and mentors with a commitment to education as well as to the success of the students who pass through our courses and our doors on the way to becoming educated and critically-thinking citizenry, whatever their career choices.  Our commitment to your education is directly linked to our hopes and aspirations for the quality of your life, including the quality of your intellectual life after you leave OU and for years beyond.

We take great pride in our graduation rates; we have no attrition and we invest in the success of our students at several levels.  What that means is simply that you're not a statistic.  We are interested in far more than checking you off a list or clicking on an online box once you've graduated.  We measure success by a host of factors beyond the achievement of a diploma.

Please explore this website to learn more about the Department of Religious Studies at OU. Our faculty offer courses in a variety of specializations leading to a BA degree, and we offer an inviting, welcoming, and rigorous scholarly community.  Welcome!

Make Your Mark on the World with a Religious Studies Degree!

Students in Assistant Professor Goble's class.

Religious Studies majors and minors:  Access more information on degree requirements, scholarships, study abroad, available courses and more on our Religious Studies Student Resources page.

Check back here for upcoming Department of Religious Studies events!

RELS May Student Lunch

Friday, May 3 at noon

RELS students, RELS-curious students, and friends,

You are invited to the RELS student monthly lunch, tomorrow, Friday, May 3 at noon. Come take a break from studying and enjoy lunch on us. Pizza will be provided.

Fri., May 3


Robertson 118 (RELS Conference Room)

April Religious Studies Student Lunch with Guest Morgan Brammer

Fri., April 5 at noon

The Department of Religious Studies invites all interested students to attend our monthly RELS Student Lunch with guest Morgan Brammer on Friday, April 5 at noon in the RELS Conference Room (Robertson 118). Lunch is provided.

Morgan Brammer is a RELS alum who is now the assistant vice president and executive director of enrollment management at the Office of Admissions and Recruitment at OU, and she will speak regarding Religious Studies and higher education.

"Branding Bhakti" Public Lecture with Nicole Karapanagiotis

1:30 p.m.; April 4, 2024

The Department of Religious Studies invites you to a public lecture, "Branding Bhakti (Devotion) for a (More) Global Audience: A Case Study," on Thursday, April 4th by Nicole Karapanagiotis, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Religion at Rutgers in Camden, at 1:30 p.m. in Gaylord Hall 2030.

2024 Oklahoma Buddhism Conference

The Department of Religious Studies and the University Buddhist Association invite you to the 2024 Oklahoma Buddhism Conference.  Registration is free, but an RSVP is required.  The conference will feature Bhante Piyaratna, the founder and abbot of the Oklahoma Buddhist Vihara; Jianhu Shifu, the former dean of Chung Tai Buddhist Institute in Taiwan and the founder of Prajna Dharma; and keynote speaker Ann Gleig, Professor of Religion and Cultural Studies at the University of Central Florida.  Visit here for more information.

Intro to Religious Studies Class Visits Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art

A few weeks ago, Prof. Wendy Mallette’s Introduction to Religious Studies (RELS 1113) class took a field trip to the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. Aly Vettese, the Learning and Engagement Assistant, introduced students to Menashe Kadishman's (1932-2015) sculpture, "The Sacrifice of Isaac," and students explored the OU’s “Art of the American West and Native American Art” collection as well as the “Picturing Faith” exhibit.

Photos courtesy of Sophia Armoudian.

Christian Traditions Class Visits OU Libraries Special Collections

Prof. Mallette’s Christian Traditions class spent a week in OU’s Special Collections to view bibles and other artifacts. Their visit was guided by Dr. JoAnn Palmeri who shared about how bibles have intersected with the history of manuscript and print culture.

RELS students curated mini-exhibits for the class with titles including: “Picture Perfect Bible?”, “Translating Divinity: Unraveling the Linguistic Tapestry of the Bible,” and “Destruction of Divine Women: Depictions of Biblical Violence.”

Thank you to Sophia Armoudian for the photo included here.

OU Giving Day and Religious Studies

OU Giving Day is coming on Tuesday, April 2! 🧑‍🎓

Support Religious Studies at OU by visiting:

You can learn more about OU Giving Day at

OU Religious Studies Major Awarded AAR Undergraduate Research Grant for 2024

The Department of Religious Studies is proud to announce that Caroline Perkins, a University of Oklahoma junior majoring in Religious Studies and English, has been awarded the American Academy of Religion Undergraduate Research Grant for 2024.  This grant program supports undergraduate students conducting research on religion under the supervision of an AAR member. (You can find out more about the grant program here.)  OU's Department of Religious Studies Associate Professor and Chair Deonnie Moodie will supervise Caroline's research project, and Caroline will conduct ethnographic research at four different megachurches in the American south in the summer of 2024.  Congratulations, Caroline and well done!

Remembering Dr. Tom Boyd, OU Professor in Philosophy and Religious Studies for over 40 Years

Hello Religious Studies community,

Please see this thoughtful tribute to Tom Boyd posted by the Dodge Family College of Arts.

Also, the OU Department of Religious Studies has received a few inquiries on how to donate to the scholarships in Dr. Boyd's name as a memorial to Tom and to his dedication to teaching and his students. If you would like to make such a contribution,  The University of Oklahoma Foundation has established a giving page dedicated to Dr. Boyd.

In Memory of Dr. Tom Boyd

Dear OU Religious Studies community,

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Professor Emeritus Tom Boyd.  Prof. Boyd was a David Ross Boyd Professor of Philosophy at OU and was an integral part of  building the Religious Studies Program at OU along with his partner, Rev. Barbara Boyd.  Our deepest condolences go to Rev. Boyd and their family.

In memory of Dr. Boyd's legacy,

The Department of Religious Studies

Prof. Vishanoff and Colleagues Receive Templeton Religion Trust Grant

Congratulations to Prof. Vishanoff and his colleagues for receiving a grant from the Templeton Religion Trust!

David Vishanoff is part of a team of scholars at OU, the University of Kansas, and Pepperdine who have been awarded a quarter-million-dollar grant from the Templeton Religion Trust. The grant will provide extra research time throughout 2024 to read, consult with specialists, and hold a conference on the relationship between the virtue of intellectual humility, the virtue of courage, and interreligious understanding. This interdisciplinary teamwork will bring new perspectives to Dr. Vishanoff’s long-term project on Sacrificial Listening.

RELS Fall 2023 Newsletter

Front page of RELS Fall 2023 Newsletter

Read all about RELS: where we've been, what's happening, and what's to come in 2023-24!

RELS Fall 2023 Newsletter

Staying with the Question Podcast - "Maps" with Rangar Cline

Staying with the Question Podcast Logo

The OU Arts & Humanities Forum podcast, *Staying with the Question* features our own Prof. Rangar Cline on the subject of maps. Give it a listen!

"Can you tell a story with a map? Host Kim Marshall talks to OU Scholars Rangar Cline, Farina King, and Asa Randall about the possibilities for learning, teaching, and building community using digital, interactive maps that help us make meaningful connections."

Staying with the Question Podcast - "Maps"

The Department of Religious Studies looks forward to more exciting opportunities for our students and faculty in the future.  If you would like to support the Department of Religious Studies, you may visit our OU Foundation page devoted to RELS student enhancement at OU.

Support RELS at OU

OU Department of Religious Studies on Social Media

Follow us on your favorite social media platforms here:


Instagram: oureligiousstudies

Twitter: @OUReligStudies

YouTube: OU Religious Studies

The Religious Studies Department at the University of Oklahoma stands against all forms of bigotry and hatred. In this moment, we are united in our commitments to anti-racism in solidarity with the Black communities in our nation and especially our Black students. As a faculty who study religious diversity and who embody difference, we deploy our intellectual training to challenge bias, discrimination, and hate. Our hearts go out to the families of those whose lives have been taken, and we pledge to link arms with those challenging injustice.


Long before the University of Oklahoma was established, the land on which the University now resides was the traditional home of the “Hasinais” Caddo Nation and “Kirikirʔi:s” Wichita & Affiliated Tribes.

We acknowledge this territory once also served as a hunting ground, trade exchange point, and migration route for the Apache, Comanche, Kiowa and Osage nations.

Today, 39 tribal nations dwell in the state of Oklahoma as a result of settler and colonial policies that were designed to assimilate Native people.

The University of Oklahoma recognizes the historical connection our university has with its indigenous community. We acknowledge, honor and respect the diverse Indigenous peoples connected to this land. We fully recognize, support and advocate for the sovereign rights of all of Oklahoma’s 39 tribal nations. This acknowledgement is aligned with our university’s core value of creating a diverse and inclusive community. It is an institutional responsibility to recognize and acknowledge the people, culture and history that make up our entire OU Community.