About Religious Studies

Enlightenment Stupa, DunedinThe academic study of religion has never been more important. From debates over marriage, to civil wars, to popular culture, religion features daily in the headlines of the globe's newspapers. Today's world needs people who can think clearly and creatively about religion's shifting role in political, economic and social life—so much so that the U.S. government's chief foreign policy officer insists that, could he go back to college, he'd major in Religion.

In the Religion Program at Otago, we use methods from history, philosophy, anthropology, sociology and politics to prepare students for thinking about religion as a human phenomenon—the product of the desires, questions and passions of people living in particular places and times. Through undergraduate papers, postgraduate supervision and regular events we examine how religion shapes the world and how the world shapes religion. Our questions are comparative and critical: How do religious myths justify social order? What are the links between missionaries and colonial power? What is the history of encounter between Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians? What might account for the similarities as well as differences between the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic ways of approaching mystically the God who is supposed to be one?

Students who study religion apply their knowledge in variety of employment settings: from government, to education, to journalism, to business, to non-profit, to law.

Consider adding Religion as a major or minor to your degree. Have a look at our range of papers and programs today.

University of Otago Religious Studies Programme