Academics

Students discussing a book

Undergraduate

The major and minor programs in Western Michigan University's Department of Comparative Religion are designed for those who, religious or not, want to know more about religion, the role and significance of religion in societies today and in the past, and the ways academics think about and analyze religion and related concepts. Students and instructors will:

  • Examine the concept of religion as well as specific religions from around the world and throughout history.
  • Analyze religion as a part of culture and in relation to other parts of culture.
  • Study components of religions like myths, rituals, doctrines and institutions.
  • Compare, evaluate and employ academic definitions and theories of religion.

The comparative religion major and minor provide a solid foundation for graduate study in religion and related fields. Many students combine a major in comparative religion with another major from within the humanities or social sciences.

Graduate

The Master of Arts in Comparative Religion is designed to provide students with:

  • A strong foundation of knowledge of religious traditions
  • The principal classical works in the field of comparative religion
  • The central issues of theory and method that underlie the study of religion
  • Foundations of teaching world religions

The Graduate Certificate in Spirituality, Culture and Health provides students with:

  • A cultural understanding of the body, illness and health
  • An understanding of the impact of culture, spirituality and religious belief of patient-provider relationships
  • Competence to act in a consulting role within their organization

The Master of Arts in Spirituality, Culture and Health provides students with:

  • A cultural understanding of the body, illness and health
  • Practical tools for addressing religious, spiritual and cultural diversity in health and human services settings
  • An advanced understanding of the impact of culture, spirituality and religious belief on patient-provider relationships
  • An advanced understanding of the process of healing in the context of the current health care and human services environment in the United States

 Careers

The programs in comparative religion also provide knowledge and skills relevant to and useful in a large and growing range of careers and professions.