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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 to dominate others or to pursue justice and gain freedom. 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!

Religious Studies Scholarship Application Window is Now Open!


Religious Studies students are encouraged to apply for scholarships.  For a list of the Department of Religious Studies scholarships click here.

Every year, the scholarship application process begins on October 1 and the deadline for application is February 1.  The application window for the 2021-2022 academic year is now open.  Please visit the Centralized Academic Scholarship Hub to apply.  For questions concerning the Centralized Academic Scholarship Hub, visit here.  

If you have any questions, please contact our departmental advisor Lee Green.

Faculty Spotlight

Headshot of James Howard Hill, Jr.

Get to know our newest professor, James Howard Hill, Jr. with this feature from the Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences:

Getting to Know James Howard Hill, Jr.

 

James Howard Hill, Jr. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies. He holds a B.A. from Criswell College, a M.T.S. from Southern Methodist University, and is an Advanced Ph.D. Candidate at Northwestern University. Hill, Jr. teaches courses and conducts research in black studies, religious studies, cultural studies, and the politics of popular culture. His scholarship has received recognition and support from The Heidelberg Center for American Studies (Heidelberg, Germany), The Henry Luce Foundation (Sacred Writes), the Forum for Theological Exploration, The Louisville Institute, Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, Social Science Research Council (SSRC), and the Mellon Cluster Research Fellowship in Comparative Race and Diaspora studies. In 2020, Hill, Jr. was awarded the Rubem Alves Award for Theopoetics in recognition for his contributions as a photographer whose art and scholarship reflects a commitment to imagination, art, and embodiment. His public commentary on issues of race, popular music, sports, politics and religion can be read in Black Agenda Report, The SyndicateBlack Perspectives, and The Berkley Center for Religion, Peaceand World Affairs among other outlets.  Click here for Prof. Hill's website.

 

For more on our stellar faculty, visit here.

Our Alumni

Headshot of Lacey Garrison
Lacey Garrison, OU RELS Class of 2014

I can honestly say I would not be the person I am today without the experiences that shaped me while studying in the Religious Studies program. A course titled Religion, Culture and the Meaning of Life was paramount to shifting my worldview and pushed me to explore other Religious Studies courses, which led me to change my major during my sophomore year. This degree, including the relationships with professors and my classmates, helped me understand how to be a better human. This degree inspired me to look into service, where I served two years as an AmeriCorps member for a national education nonprofit. I discovered my passion for helping young people during this time and am committed to fighting education inequities impacting our communities.

- Lacey Garrison, Class of 2014

 

For more on the various career paths a Religious Studies degree can lead you and our amazing alumni, visit here.

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.