Department of Religious Studies
The Joint Department
The aim of Religious Studies is to understand the nature of religion and its significance for human culture. Our program examines the variety of beliefs and behaviour through which human beings around the world express spiritual impulses, both in formal religions and in everyday life. What is religious experience? What do people think is true about the meaning and purpose of existence? How do they live out these beliefs in their rituals and behaviour? Our approach is inclusive and open, embracing religion in all its substantial manifestations, global and historical.
The Laurentian Joint Department of Religious Studies offers a broad overview of the discipline, while also providing those who wish to pursue more advanced studies with the necessary foundation. Our courses cover three broad areas of Religious Studies: The Judaeo-Christian Tradition, Religions of the World, and Religion and Modern Culture. We offer both a 3-year B.A. (by distance as well as on-campus) and a 4-year B.A. (Honours). These degree programs are offered in both English and French.
Our faculty are known for excellence in teaching and research (Religious Studies professors have won both Laurentian's Teaching Excellence and Research Excellence Awards). Graduates from our program have gone on to a variety of professional careers including social work, counselling, ministry, and especially teaching (since Religious Studies is recognized as a teachable subject). Some have also pursued advanced study in religion at the graduate level.
The Joint Department of Religious Studies is comprised of three Departments of Religious Studies; at Huntington University, University of Sudbury and Thorneloe University, on the Laurentian University campus in Sudbury.
The Religious studies program examines the variety of beliefs and behaviours through which people around the world express spiritual impulses, both in formal religions and everyday life. What do people believe is sacred? What do they think about the meaning and purpose of existence? How do they live out these beliefs in their day-to-day behaviour?
As an academic discipline, Religious Studies, does not promote or undermine any particular religion or worldview. It approaches the study of religion as a social phenomenon recognizing that religions have occupied a very central place in virtually all civilizations; the program focuses on the relationship between religion and culture.
At Huntington University, the faculty’s areas of expertise are focused on lived experience and the phenomena of religion and spirituality within contemporary culture.
University of Sudbury
As an academic discipline, Religious Studies does not promote nor undermine any particular religion or worldview. It approaches the study of religion as a social phenomenon.
Recognizing that religions have occupied a very central place in virtually all civilizations, the program focuses on the relationship between religion and culture.
The Department of Religious Studies offers programs that encourage critical reflection and thoughtfulness.
Religious Studies contribute significantly to a liberal arts education in attempting to find answers to questions such as: what is a religious experience? How do people live out their beliefs? How was each religion affected by the environment in which it arose? In what ways did religion shape culture? What interpretation did religion give to ethical issues?
Why study Religious Studies?
An education in Religious Studies will help students develop critical thinking, cross-cultural understanding, open-mindedness and clear communication.
The skills acquired will contribute to the success of those who plan to pursue Religious Studies at the graduate level but can also be applied to a variety of other professions such as political science, law, medicine, education, international relations, journalism, etc.
This program will also benefit students who are interested in other fields like History, Literature, Indigenous Studies, etc.
Religious Studies examines the variety of beliefs and behaviour by which human beings respond to the fundamental religious questions: What is the origin and purpose of life? What is the good human life? The aim of Religious Studies is to understand the nature of religion; and what it has meant to human culture in the past, and continues to mean in the present.
Thorneloe University’s Department of Religious Studies is a member of the larger Joint Department of Religious Studies at Laurentian University. Thorneloe University’s Religious Studies courses concentrate particularly on these areas of study: western religious thought, Biblical studies, religion and modern culture, and contemporary religious issues. All Thorneloe courses count as Humanities credits in the Laurentian B.A. program and may be used towards a major in Religious Studies (3 or 4 – year B.A.).