Explore Religious Studies at OU
Prospective students are more than welcome to contact the Department of Religious Studies with questions or to schedule a visit.
All prospective students with questions about the RELS major or minor are also welcome to e-mail our advisor, Jennie Lazar, to request an appointment.
Transfer students schould schedule an assessment with the office of Admissions and Records of their transfer work for a preliminary evaluation of how courses will transfer and contact our advisor Jennie Lazar.
As a Religious Studies major or minor you learn:
o A broader perspective of the world around us and a nuanced understanding of the human condition
o Critical thinking & analytic reasoning
o An ability to interrogate and critique forms of power
o Teamwork skills with diverse groups
o Culturally-grounded critical judgement and decision making
o How to be an effective oral and written communicator
o How to utilize complex problem-solving skills
As a Religious Studies major or minor you can:
o Engage in independent research projects with any of our faculty
o Participate in a 4-week long summer study abroad archaeological field study in Huqoq, Israel with Dr. Rangar Cline
o Learn what Michael Jackson teaches us about Religion & Black Popular Music with Acting Assistant Professor Hill
o Participate in a “canonization” simulation in Dr. Hicks-Keeton’s Lost Scriptures course
o Consider the question, “What is your intellectual project?” with Dr. Vishanoff
o Reenact religious debate in the Chinese imperial court as a Buddhist, Daoist, Confucian, Christian, Muslim, or Zoroastrian in Dr. Goble's Chinese Religions course
o Learn how religion factors into our economic world with Dr. Moodie in her Money, Power, and Gods course or simulate the events leading up to India’s partition in her Religion & Nationalism in India course
Our OU Religious Studies graduates do amazing things! We have alumni (majors and minors) with various career paths. They’ve gone on to become:
o State Representatives
o Intelligence Analysts for the FBI
o Staff Attorneys for the Choctaw Nation
o Nonprofit Tax Attorneys
o Attorneys & Counselors at Law
o Supervisors of Library Programs
o Special Collections Assistants at University Research Libraries
o Physical Therapists
o Residents in Family Medicine
o Psychiatric Physician Assistants
o Caseworkers in Child Protective Services
o Elementary School Art Teachers
o Program Managers at the Family Safety Center
o Vicars, Senior Pastors, Priests
o Occupational Safety Specialists
o AP Statistics & Mathematics Instructors
o University Faculty
o Freelance Writers
o Managers in Mortgage Servicing
RELS can easily pair with double majors and multiple minors. Some RELS courses may count toward your major or minor and your GenEd requirements at the same time. Be sure to check out our major and minor degree checksheets for more information on our courses and the requirements for a degree or minor. Feel free to contact our advisor, Jennie Lazar.
When I was an undergraduate student at OU, Religious Studies was one of my double minors. To me, to understand my major of Human Relations, it could only be propped up in context of what makes humans who they are – culture and language (Spanish), as well as faith (religious studies). Looking back, I wish I would have double majored in Religious Studies. I read works such as the Quran, I learned a new perspective of the Apostle Paul, and what it meant to reach “enlightenment.” This field of study is so much more than what people believe – it is a lens by which we can see inside someone and better relate/connect. And, I think our world could use a great deal more of empathy!
-Morgan Brammer, RELS minor, Class of 2011
Religious Studies is an excellent complement to a number of fields, including:
o Native American Studies
o African & African American Studies
o Public Administration & Non-Profit Management
o International and Area Studies
o Social Work
o Women’s and Gender Studies
Scholar Gary Kessler writes that religion is "a force that influences, for good or for ill, the lives of practically everyone who is alive." People live and die in the name of religion. And increasingly, religion has become a central part of election campaigns, educational curricula, personal decisions, and popular culture products. Given the power of religion in our world, it is important that we, as citizens, study it. The academic study of religion provides students with essential skills (critical thinking, analytical writing, active listening, cross cultural communication, critical empathy, public speaking, scholarly research, etc.) and prepares them to engage the diversity and complexity of our global environment in meaningful ways. For additional perspectives, read Nathan Schneider's article, Why the World Needs Religious Studies in Religious Dispatches.
"If I went back to college today, I think I would probably major in comparative religion, because that's how integrated it is in everything that we are working on and deciding and thinking about in life today."
- Former Secretary of State John F. Kerry
Students who study religion will have enhanced understanding of cultural diversity and the complexity of diverse world views. International and historical perspectives will in turn provide the wider context for students' understanding of their own culture.
To see where a Religious Studies major or minor has taken our alumni, visit our our Careers in RELS & Alumni Stories page.
To make an appointment to talk with someone about your interest in a Religious Studies major or minor, or how to use RELS courses for General Education credit, please e-mail our academic advisor, Jennie Lazar.
Connect with Religious Studies
The Department of Religious Studies can't wait to meet you and answer any questions you may have. Feel free to contact us any time.
If you would like to connect with a specific professor, schedule a visit to the department, or even sit in on a class, please email our administrative coordinator Rebecca Hall-Davis or the departmental email account. We love meeting new students and are here for you.