Departments, Programs and Centers


Religious Studies

  • Chair: Professor Peter J. Thuesen
  • Professors: Edward E. Curtis IV, Thomas J. Davis, Philip K. Goff, Peter J. Thuesen
  • Associate Professors: David M. Craig, Kelly E. Hayes, Rachel M. Wheeler
  • Assistant Professors: Johnny P. Flynn, Andrea R. Jain, Joseph L. Tucker Edmonds
  • Lecturers: Matthew G. Condon
  • Academic Advising
    • Cavanaugh Hall 335, (317) 274-1465

Religious studies offers students opportunities to explore the patterns and dimensions of the many different religious traditions of the world from the perspectives of the academic study of religion. The courses are designed to help students develop basic understandings of the many ways in which religions shape personal views of the world, create and sustain the communities in which we live, and interact with politics, economics, literature and the arts, and other structures of society. Through this curriculum, students are provided the skills that will allow them to understand religions as a part of the study of human history and traditional and nontraditional values. The department offers both a major and a minor, allowing students to investigate religious phenomena in depth and encouraging connections with other areas of the humanities and social sciences.

Program Planning

In the degree programs, the Department of Religious Studies pays special attention to the student’s expressed hopes and plans, and the faculty counsels its majors carefully toward that end. Thus, students can construct undergraduate programs of study that meet both personal goals and the faculty’s sense of what constitutes a coherent and focused concentration in religious studies. With these possibilities in mind, students are encouraged to declare their intentions to major in religious studies as early as possible in their college careers.

Those students who choose to major in the department are invited first to explore courses, designated by the faculty, to introduce the wide breadth of concerns that belong to the field.  On the basis of these studies, students are then able to pursue more specialized courses of inquiry, depending on their personal interests and concerns. The faculty stands prepared to help in this regard by presenting more selective and rigorous options within the department, by helping to locate ties with cognate areas in other departments and schools, and by working with upper-level students in courses of independent study.

Religious studies majors have gone into careers in a variety of fields that require critical thinking, subtle analysis, and skilled articulation. Some graduates have obtained positions in education, business, medicine, social work, journalism, the arts, politics, and the administration of nonprofit organizations. Others find employment in a variety of areas, including religious ministries, social service organizations, health and welfare agencies, and not-for-profit communities. Many students continue their education in graduate or professional school.