Department of Religious Studies

Across our programs, students explore religious traditions as avenues into contemporary issues. Understanding religious identities, practices and beliefs deepens our understanding of cultures, politics, economics and relations with one another — around the world and in our local communities.

Our actively engaged faculty connect theory to practice, ensuring students gain experience in real-world communities through internships, site visits, service-learning courses and international research while studying abroad. Such opportunities for meaningful engagement set students up for successful careers in fields like law, business, government, social work, nonprofits, journalism and more.

There are many ways that religious studies intersects with our world... I could apply this MA degree to writing, or partnering with nonprofits engaged in ethical and social justice issues, or working for a government organization with international scope...

Timothy Isaacson MA in Religious Studies

I am working at Johnson and Wales University in civic engagement and diversity and inclusion programming. My DU experience...has helped prepare me for managing public relationships, encouraging an inclusive environment, and teaching as an adjunct faculty member.

Adam Westbrook MA in Religious Studies

Programs in Religious Studies

Undergraduates

Undergraduate students gain cross-cultural understanding of religion on a global scale through our BA program. We offer options for majoring, double majoring, or minoring in religious studies, including unique opportunities to earn distinction in the major, study abroad and intern at a community site.

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MA Students

Master’s students deepen their engagement with religious study through one of five specializations: Sacred Texts, Critical Theory and Religion, Religion and International Studies, Philosophy of Religion, or Lived Religions. Our award-winning faculty help you connect research and theory to practical, real-world experience.

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Global MA Program

The religious studies global master’s program is an academic partnership between DU’s Religious Studies Department and the Center for Theology and Religious Studies at Lund University, Sweden. Students earn a BA from the University of Denver with a religious studies major, and a MA in religious studies from Lund University.

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Joint PhD Students

We offer an interdisciplinary doctoral program in partnership with DU’s Iliff School of Theology. Our joint PhD means students work closely with world-renowned faculty while developing as leaders in the study of religion through independent research, teaching and service opportunities, as well as certificate options that allow for further specialization.

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Graduate Certificates

We offer a 24 credit-hour religious studies graduate certificate which offers in-depth grounding in key religions and traditions. Our world religions specialized graduate certificate offers graduate-level exploration of three of the world's major religious traditions. For current master’s students in religious studies or DU’s Korbel School of International Studies, we offer a certificate in religion and international affairs that enhances existing scholarly and professional credentials.

Career Development

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Our interdisciplinary and global perspective emphasizes the importance of religious traditions in today’s globalized world. Across our programs, you’re not only earning a degree but also developing cross-cultural tools as a global citizen.

We apply religious theory and scholarly skillsets to internships, work study, study abroad, service-learning, community projects, independent research and other opportunities that build real-world experience.

Our graduates go on to careers in areas as diverse as law, medicine, business, social service, public relations, ministry, teaching, journalism and more, as well as further study in master’s and doctoral programs around the world.

Featured Courses

RLGS 3760 Globalization and Religion: Theory and Methods

This course explores how religious movements around the world both affect, and are affected by, the process of globalization. A major segment of the course is devoted to various theories of globalization and how they account for the increasingly important role of religion. Focus is largely on the relationship between Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

RLGS 3694 Religion in the Virtual Space: A Critical Theory Approach

This course uses a critical theory lens to consider religious praxis, traditions, beliefs, canons and rituals within virtual/digital spaces (e.g. websites, apps, social media, digital platforms for gaming, etc.).

RLGS 3500 Islam

Introduction to the history, faith, practice, cultures and politics of Islam, starting with the Judeo-Christian Near Eastern context in which it emerged and tracing its theological development and geographic spread around the world.