Religious studies examines the various religious traditions of the world in their historical and contemporary contexts.
It explores the many ways in which religion shapes culture and history, forms values, and authorizes human action.
Faculty: Faculty of Arts
Degree options: BA honours or major; Any degree, minor
The study of religion deals with the deepest and most basic questions of human existence: the meaning and purpose of life, relations with a divine presence and power, interpersonal relations and ultimate human destiny.
Mount Allison’s religious studies program does not advocate or promote any particular religion. Instead, it adopts a scholarly and analytical approach to the study of religious traditions – as such, it is open to students from all backgrounds, secular and religious.
Courses in religious studies at Mount Allison are divided into three streams:
- Eastern traditions – Hinduism, Buddhism, East Asian religions
- Western traditions – Judaism, Christianity, Islam
- Religion and culture
In religious studies you will examine important texts, practices, cultural phenomena, and ideas, looking at them from the perspective of history, literature, philosophy, and culture.
Introductory courses lay the foundation for focused study of particular traditions and for upper-year courses that explore how religion relates to themes in the wider culture, such as in the arts, gender issues, and ethics.
Given the program’s interdisciplinary nature, you may also explore the connections between religion and subjects like:
- film and media studies
- contemporary politics
- literature, music, and art
- gender issues
- the environment
Find a list of religious studies courses in the academic calendar – religious studies.
Popular career paths for religious studies graduates include:
- art dealer
- human resources specialist
- community development officer
- human rights advocate
- international development/aid worker
- foreign affairs specialist
- religious education administrator
“When I first enrolled at Mount Allison, I was only planning to minor in religious studies. Four years later, I am finishing my thesis and graduating with an honours degree. It wasn’t only the opportunity to challenge my previously held beliefs about religion and either justify them or change them in the face of new and overwhelming evidence that drew me to the program, but the opportunity to learn from dedicated, passionate, and experienced academics in the field. This being said, the best-kept secret about the MtA Religious Studies department is that we have more jokes, more laughs, and more fun than any other department on campus! I will miss my RELG family and I hope you take the opportunity to meet them yourself!”
David Spence (’19)
Honours religious studies and political science
“I have been given some excellent opportunities for hands-on learning through research projects and interdisciplinary collaboration. I would recommend the English and religious studies programs to students who are interested in pushing the boundaries of their learning, and who want to challenge themselves to examine the literature and culture that surrounds them.”
Percy Miller ('19)
English, minor in religious studies
“I chose this program after taking Faith and Doubt in my second year
at Mount A. This course really changed my perspective on where religion
fits into the world and it demonstrated that science is not the opposite
of religion. They are two different ways of answering different
questions and they are both important. I also realized that in a global
society it is important to understand other worldviews. To assume that
the one we have in our ‘secular’ society is correct is egotistical and
will not promote helpful understandings of what a global society
Corrin Bulmer ('14)
Double major religious studies and history
North Vancouver, BC
“I think people sometimes think that religious studies is Bible study
or studying to become a religious professional, but that is very far
from the truth. Religious studies is a very interdisciplinary degree.
You can do everything from cultural studies to looking at religious
Emily Iannucci ('14)
Religious studies, minor in sociology
Arthur J. Ebbutt Memorial Trust for Religious Studies
Former Director of Pre-Theological Studies and Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Mount Allison, Arthur James Ebbutt helped establish the Department of Religion – now the Department of Religious Studies – in 1960.
The Department of Religious Studies benefits from the Arthur J. Ebbutt Memorial Trust, which sponsors:
- Ebbutt Reading Room – houses religious studies library resources
- Visiting lecturers in religious studies
- Scholarships for upper-year students in religious studies
- Field trips
Dr. Susan Andrews
Assistant professor, religious studies
Research interests: sacred place and pilgrimage in East Asia