Religion is a fundamental aspect of human life and culture. It is a profound expression of our commonality and our diversity. It deserves to be studied carefully, critically, and open-mindedly, especially within the context of public education.  

Religion has been at the root of many humanitarian efforts, and it has inspired much artistic creativity. It has been integral to the development of civilizations. At the same time, religion has been at the center of a great deal of interpersonal and social conflict. It has been a cause of violence. Whatever we think about the value of this or that religion, there can be no doubt about the value of the critical study of religion. The future of life on our planet may depend on human beings’ abilities to appreciate and communicate effectively about global religious diversity.

One of the most interesting facts about religious diversity is that it, too, is continually changing. In our time, established religions are moving more and more online. Cultural exchange is stimulating an unprecedented amount of religious blending. New religions are appearing daily. The Department of Religious Studies seeks to be a leader in helping people to understand the many and changing faces of religion.

The department offers degree programs at three levels: Undergraduate, M.A., and Ph.D. All of the programs place religion in a broad intellectual and cultural context; they have a self-conscious methodological dimension; they advance students’ abilities to think, write, and speak with care about “hot topics”; and they encourage students to do their part to educate the public about religious and cultural diversity.  In addition, our programs pay special attention to the impact that the continual advancement of digital technologies is having on religion and on our humanity.

Please see Interested in Religious Studies? for more information.

Department of Religious Studies
Business hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday (closed noon-1:00 p.m.)
314 Gilmore Hall
Iowa City, Iowa 52242
E-mail: religion@uiowa.edu
Phone: 319-335-2164
Fax: 319-335-3716

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