The Academic Study of Religion

Carleton’s Religion program studies religions in an academic setting. The Academic Study of Religion differs from the field of Theology, because it withholds judgement on questions central to theological inquiry. It does this in order to permit equal participation to the widest range of believers and non-believers. This approach is not hostile to religious belief, just different from it.

Bas-relief of the Roman defeat of Israel in 70 C.E. Arch of Titus, Rome

Bas-relief of the Roman defeat of Israel in 70 C.E. — Arch of Titus, Rome

A Pluralistic Perspective

Religion has always had a deep influence on civilizations and cultures, which makes it a particularly rich subject for academic investigation. Students in religion can study individual traditions in depth, but they also study the elements common to various religious traditions. They examine and compare the rituals and doctrines of various religions, as well as the answers they give to central life questions, and they look at the influence that religion has on broader aspects of culture, such as art and politics.

Mosaic in Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Mosaic in Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

What You Will Study

The program in Religion begins with survey and comparative courses on the major world religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Indigenous Religions. Upper level courses focus on a single religious tradition, or on specialized topics that span religious traditions, such as ‘Religion and Violence’ or ‘Love and its Myths’.

Classes range from large lecture courses to small seminars, especially in the fourth year. In all courses, the mix of students from around the world and across the university invariably becomes part of the learning experience.

Stupas at Namdroling, India

Stupas at Namdroling, India

Programs of Study

At Carleton you can study religion in a variety of ways, as a Bachelors’s degree or as a minor, or in our Master’s program.

  • B.A. Honours
  • B.A. Combined Honours
  • B.A. General
  • Minor in Religion
  • Minor in Christianity Studies
  • Minor in Jewish Studies
  • Minor in Muslim Studies
  • M.A. in Religion and Public Life
Religion at Carleton Undergraduate Courses