The study of religion at Oberlin can be an integral component of your liberal arts education as well as the foundation for advanced studies in religion or a related discipline. Our curriculum affords an opportunity for concentrated learning in particular religious traditions and specific areas of religious thought and practice.
Why study religion? Religion continues to be a fundamental cultural phenomenon and a prism through which people engage the “big questions” of the 21st century. Society today is more multicultural, multiethnic, and multiracial than at any time in history. Religion majors at Oberlin develop a deep multicultural awareness and effective research, writing, and critical analysis and problem-solving skills enabling them to work in a wide variety of fields.
The religious studies program involves three influential approaches: traditional, modern cultural, and region-based. Together, these methods give students a substantial understanding of the history, practices, literature, social ethics, and belief systems of various ancient, classical, and modern civilizations. The study of religion also is interdisciplinary, drawing on modes of study used in anthropology, philosophy, history, archeology, classics, literary criticism, theology, sociology, art, and music.
Religion majors can choose a faculty member as a mentor, and will create a capstone project to synthesize the knowledge and skills developed through their course of study in their major. While some graduates go into academia, many also have successful careers in education, business, and nonprofit secular and religious organizations as interpreters, writers, editors, social workers, policy advisors, lobbyists, or public historians. For some, the religion major leads to the medical or legal professions. Still others have pursued distinct paths: shipbuilding, environmental law, filmmaking, and even puppet performance.