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Program Introduction

Students in professor Ronney Mourad's religious studies class.

Why Study Religion?

Only a few students enter Albion intending to study religion or to pursue a major or minor in religious studies. Most of our students select a course in religious studies as part of their core requirement, and then take more courses with us for one reason: fascination. A survey of the courses we teach, their content, and their methods explains why so many students take more than one course with us.

  • Would you like to know about the first-century environment of Jesus and the early church?
  • Have you wondered about the differences between Judaism and its daughter religion, Christianity, and why they separated?
  • What do women's experiences bring to different religious traditions?
  • How can an understanding of Islam shed light on current political developments in the Middle East?
  • What about the relationship between philosophy and religion? Or science and religion?
  • Would you like to know more about Asian religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism?
  • What about ethical questions in a time when our society is debating issues such as AIDS, abortion, euthanasia, racism, and other matters that will affect us for many years to come?

Many of these questions have their roots in religious perspectives that are a part of our multicultural inheritance. We cannot afford to ignore them. Religion is a vital part of our world. It is as current as today's news, yet reaches back to our earliest beginnings as a species.

Career Opportunities

What Can You Do with Religious Studies?

Associate professor Jocelyn McWhirter helps a student.Although religious studies may be interesting in and of itself, one cannot live on academic interest alone. Studying religion also has practical payoffs. Students who have graduated from Albion with a major in religious studies are now involved in a wide variety of careers. Some have earned graduate degrees in religious studies and teach in leading colleges and universities. Many are in human services of some kind: pastoral ministry in churches, social work, counseling, and education.

Religious studies, like its sister disciplines in the liberal arts, helps students learn to think critically, not just about religion, but about all aspects of human existence. The study of religion helps students understand themselves and their families' heritage. Religious studies helps us understand our world, past and present, and to apply this understanding to many areas of life. Accordingly, many of our students end up in the professions: writing, law, business, and industry. Many of our students have chosen to double-major in areas like history, anthropology, psychology, or English.

Because religion is concerned with integrating different aspects of human existence, the study of religion has applications, both practical and theoretical, that are far-reaching. We know, from the testimonies of our alumni, that employers appreciate the balance and breadth that the study of religion offers.

Selva J. Raj Memorial Scholarship

This award was established in March of 2008 in memory of Dr. Selva J. Raj (1952 – 2008). Dr. Raj was a beloved and outstanding scholar, teacher, and colleague. Recipients of the scholarship are announced at Albion College's Honors Convocation each April.

2014 Laxmi Kotha

2013 Christina Hallam

2012 Dustin Moretz

2011 Christopher White

2010 Julia Humenik

2009 Christina Griffith and Steven Maisel

John and Williemae Cheek Award

The John and Williemae Cheek Award is a cash award presented each year to the outstanding senior in the Religious Studies Department.

2014 Tim Delong, Christina Hallam & Dustin Moretz

2013 Jonathan Tostige

2012 Nicholas Lessnau

2011 Julia Humenik

2010 Steve Maisel

2009 Dianne F. Marshall

2008 Joel Pier-Fitzgerald

2007 Andrea Mettler

2006 Mathew Milligan

2004 Marcia Nelson

2002 Madolene Page-Wood

2001 Heather Schmidt

2000 Meredith Thompson & Michelle Lesperance

1999 Brenda Green

1998 Jennifer Ralston

1997 Jennifer Koehn

1996 Wendi Mrozinski

1995 Aaron Schwoebel

1994 Christopher Behling

1992 Jennifer Smith

1991 Andrew Keck

1990 Weatherly Burkhead

1989 Peter Plagge

1987 Gerald Hunter

1986 Jonathon Smiedendorf

1983 Donald Treglown

1982 Barry Petrucci

1981 Patrick Twomey

1980 Holly Wagner

1979 Carol Mader

1978 Richard Copp

1977 Barbara Mader

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