Make a Difference in a Diverse World.
The Religion major provides students with the knowledge, methods and skills to understand how religious traditions shape social issues in a global world. It enables students to think clearly and critically about how the beliefs and practices of different religious traditions shape the lives of communities.
Through the critical study of the texts, histories, practices, beliefs and ethics of different religious communities, students learn to think across disciplines and cultures. By providing a rich encounter with the liberal arts, the major prepares students to be informed global citizens and to pursue graduate school or a career in many fields including non-profit work, journalism, business and ministry.
Students also explore a variety of religious traditions in the company of experienced faculty and Spiritual Life staff.
Religious Studies Program
Shenandoah University’s religious studies program calls on students to think deeply about religion and all the issues with which it’s connected, within a nurturing, caring environment. Students, of all faiths, learn more about religion and how it affects and informs people; consider religion and issues of justice; and gain an understanding of how religion affects a wide variety of professions, via the role faith plays in so many lives.
Learn More About This Program
Why study religion @ SU?
- Studying Religion helps you understand diversity
- Studying religion prepares you for any job that works with people
- Studying religion pairs well with other majors as a double major
- Studying religion teaches you to read and think critically in a context that respects difference
- Studying religion prepares you to communicate effectively, especially in writing
- Studying religion equips you with the skills to have difficult conversations about the most important things in life, even with those with whom you disagree
“Studying religion at SU is so much more than studying religion. The religion program at SU encourages difficult but critical conversations about a range of topics – death, gender, sexuality, race, politics, and culture. No matter what career field a student plans to pursue, having the skills to navigate spaces full of different perspectives is crucial, and I can confidently say that SU’s religion program centers around the strengthening of these skills.” – Marco Pflanzen ’20 | Religion minor; studying for a Master of Arts in Religion in Culture at the University of Alabama
“Studying religion at SU was the best experience I could have asked for. There was plenty of love and support for me as a student and the professors have still taken the time to keep in touch with me. Additionally, it allowed me to not just understand, but honor and treasure, the ways in which I am similar and different from others. It allowed me to be curious about the world around me. And it was one of the best ways to help me prepare for the rigorous demands of grad school and, honestly, life. The religion department at SU is one of the best communities I have been part of.” – Kristina Wilson ’19 | Religion and Psychology double major; studying for a Master of Divinity and a Master of Social Work at Boston University
“My religion studies at Shenandoah were exciting, rigorous and challenging. My time as a religious studies major taught how to have hard but meaningful conversations by developing skills in reflective structured dialogue. Those skills will serve me in many ways in the future.” – Meredith Webb ’21 | Religion and Sociology double major; studying for a Master of Divinity at Chandler School of Theology at Emory University
Shenandoah University’s College of Arts & Sciences is your direct connection to a classic, broad-based education to satisfy both your intellectual curiosity and career goals. With a 11:1 student-faculty ratio, small classes and individualized learning opportunities, we put students at the center of all our decisions and events.
We blend the liberal arts with pre-professional courses and hands-on learning to prepare you for careers in the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities. You’ll learn through small, engaging classes and relationships with faculty mentors; hone your skills to solve problems; and learn to use creativity and critical thinking to make informed decisions.
Minor in This Program
The Religion minor provides you with an understanding of the religious traditions of the world. Through the study of religious practices, sacred texts, religious history, spirituality, theology and ethics, you will learn to think across disciplines and cultures.
You get to design the focus of your minor within the study of religion. For example, your minor may have a concentration in the following subjects:
- World Religion
- Religion, Society, and Culture
- Christian Leadership
You will have the opportunity to study with a diverse core of deeply qualified and broadly experienced faculty with specialized expertise in religious difference, cultural approaches to the study of religion, religion and ecology, religion and sexuality, and ethics.
Declaring A Minor
Shenandoah students work with their Academic Adviser to declare a minor. Academic Advisers will continue to work with students to ensure that they fulfill all of the requirements to complete the minor.
Incoming students should not indicate their intended minor on their Shenandoah application. Applications are for intended majors only.
The Career Services staff helps Shenandoah students search and apply for internships related to their major and career goals. Internships differentiate you as an applicant in your future job searches, provide hands on experience in your field, allow you to sample different career paths for your major, and help you find a specific position that fits your passion before graduation.
Internships for religion students have included ones as a student chaplain at Winchester Medical Center and as a community project organizer, as well as work with local churches.
Career and Salary Possibilities
Career and salary examples for Religion majors (overall average salary $83,799):
- Clergy/Ministry ($49,197)
- Law and Legal Work ($179,622)
- Postsecondary Teacher ($73,809)
- Management ($117,479)
- Elementary/Middle School Teacher ($51,902)
- Physician ($224,695)
The latest data on majors in Philosophy and Religion programs like Shenandoah’s can be found at https://datausa.io/profile/cip/religious-studies
The Career Services Office provides a comprehensive range of services and resources to assist Shenandoah students in their career search. Services offered include resume and cover letter building, mock interviews, and professional dining etiquette workshops.
33 credit hours of which 18 must be at the 300 level or above
Required Classes (3 credit hours)
- Religion 101: Religion Outside of Religions
- Religion 202: Navigating Religious Diversity
You must also take at least one of the following classes (3, 6, or 9 credit hours)
- Religion 340: Religion and Ecology
- Religion 341: Sex, Gender and Religion
- Religion 342: Religion, Peace and Violence
Learning support services are available to all students in every course at Shenandoah. Free peer tutoring with a student who has previously succeeded in the course is available for any course across the university. The Writing Center is available for every stage of the writing process from thesis development to proofreading and bibliography assistance. The Math Enrichment Center is available for math and science assistance. Professors and Academic Advisers across the university also have office hours and open door policies to ensure Shenandoah students succeed academically.
Join the Honors Program
The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Honors Program is a multidisciplinary Honors Program for students who are curious, creative, self-motivated, and eager to engage in their education and community.
Not only do Honors Program students partake in honors courses that emphasize collaboration, service, and communication, but they will also have the opportunity to develop aspects of the program based on their own interests and goals. By participating in the CAS Honors Program you will acquire the tools, knowledge and experiences necessary to make meaningful contributions to your community – whether it be globally, locally, or specific to your life’s work. You will have access to unique courses, exciting experiences and a community of peers and faculty who never stop asking questions and striving for excellence.
You’ll have the opportunity to study with a diverse core of deeply qualified and broadly experienced faculty with specialized expertise in spirituality and ethics.
Imagine participating in interesting conversations led by engaging professors who’ve already done what you dream of doing. You’ll be in a small class — the average class size is approximately 12 students — with professors who know your name, care about your success and provide advice as you pursue your academic and career goals.
“The religion faculty are committed to helping you expand your mind, and points of view on Religion in all kinds of unique ways. The religion faculty went above and beyond for me and took time to get to know me for who I am and what I brought to the table in class.”
– Meredith Webb ’21 | Religion and Sociology double major
Barry Penn Hollar
Faculty EmeritusFull Biography
Assistant Professor of ReligionFull Biography
Assistant Professor of ReligionFull Biography
Faculty EmeritusFull Biography
Affiliate Faculty in ReligionFull Biography
Shenandoah University works on rolling admissions and accepts applications throughout the year. Applications are reviewed individually and holistically.
Submit your application, review required admission materials, and find our admissions standards.
Make studying abroad the highlight of your college experience! Whether you go for a year, a semester, or just a few weeks. You will never forget learning in another culture! The Center for International Programs is here to help you plan your study abroad experience. Start your planning early to ensure the courses you complete abroad count toward your degree and you graduate on time.
The religion program has offered Global Experiential Learning courses in Senegal and the Dominican Republic in recent years.
Global Experiential Learning (GEL) Program
The Global Experiential Learning (GEL) Program offers Shenandoah students a short-term, faculty-led, study-abroad experience for academic credit. These short-term, credit-bearing, faculty-led programs are offered winter break, spring break, and during the summer. If a course is not within your major, it might be used as an elective.
Shenandoah University is a member of the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), a global network of 300 universities. This partnership allows students to study for a full semester or year at other member campuses abroad. By working closely with their academic advisors and the study abroad advisor, students can take classes taught in English abroad while receiving Shenandoah credit.
Shenandoah University also maintains direct partnerships with several universities around the world. These relationships allow students from SU to study abroad as exchange students and students from these universities to study at SU. All partner universities offer courses taught in English.