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About Religious Studies

Welcome to the home page of the Department of Religious Studies at California State University, Long Beach, located in Long Beach, CA. Religious Studies is part of the College of Liberal Arts.

The program in Religious Studies intends to develop in students critical understanding of the forms of religious phenomena in their cultural and historical contexts and a sensitivity to different value systems. The program provides students with an introduction to the major religious traditions and to religion in the modern world. Religious Studies places special emphasis on relating the religious dimension of human life to the humanities and social sciences.

Why Religious Studies?

Many students take one or two Religious Studies Courses as part of their General Education program. For example, a course introducing one of the many important Religions of the World can be really interesting and give you a sense of real personal growth as you come to understand some of the world’s variety. Similarly there are courses in topics from Biblical Studies and Religion in Contemporary Life.

For students interested in more than just a course or two, we offer a fine Religious Studies major, as well as a minor, and a certificate program. A major in religious studies develops an informed understanding of the varied forms religion takes in human history and society. Students learn specifics of human religious behavior in many different contexts and using different methods, ranging from close attention to texts to examination of broad movements in the past and present. The special emphasis on the department is on using the tools of the humanities and social sciences to understand religions. Such understanding includes a sensitivity to different cultures, world views and value systems.

The most obvious use of a major like this is as a stepping stone to a career directly related to the subject of religion — with the hope of becoming a teacher or a pastor, a religious journalist or some other religious professional.

Many other religious studies majors have less specific career goals in mind. They take Religious studies as a Liberal Arts Major. As such it provides you with preparation for a wide variety of professions and careers. Students develop a broad understanding of human culture and behavior throughout history and across the world. In addition the major in religious studies emphasizes basic skills in thinking, reading and communication. A major or minor in religious Studies introduces you to a wealth of information about the diversity of our own society and the world. Jobs that require skills like these will continue to be a part of our life into the next millennium, an appreciation of our varied heritage becomes more and more a fact of American life.

Religious Studies majors thus enter a wide variety of different careers, corresponding to their unique interests, values and abilities. The perspectives and skills they have gained are essential to many a careers in the workplace. Student develop a background to work in industry, governments, non-profit organizations and educational environments as well as in all organizations associated with Christianity, Judaism, and other world religions.

 

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