Why Religious Studies?

What is religious studies?

The Department of Religious Studies approaches the world's religious traditions and contemporary religiosity as historical and cultural phenomena. Courses offered examine the histories, texts, beliefs, values, and practices of a variety of the world's religions (including Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), as well as the religious and spiritual dimensions of contemporary and popular culture. In addition to studying the beliefs and practices that comprise religion in its historical and contemporary reforms, our curriculum includes courses that contextualize religions in relation to the arts, politics, gender, sciences, ethics, and secularism. The study of religion invites multiple perspectives on the enduring place of religions and spiritualities in human society.

What do religious studies students do?
What do religious studies students study? Some sample courses include:
  • RELS 1021 Apocalypse: The End Times in Thought, Action, and Imagination; explores the many ways in which Judaism and Christianity have anticipated and imagined the end times. Attention will be given to Jewish and early Christian notions of the Messiah and his reign, the end of the world, and the impending judgment, as well as how Christianity has coped repeatedly with the delay of the end and how millennial thought and action have affected people during periods of social and natural crises. The role of millennial expectations in our modern era and why the apocalypse is once again a powerful image in religion, film, and literature will also be covered.
  • RELS 1022 Jesus at the Movies; examines how Jesus has been dramatized in film, investigating the reception of select Jesus films and cinematic Christ figures in acadmic, religious, and popular cultures, and reflecting on the sources and intentions informing the filmmaker's work.
  • RELS 2812 Religion and Popular Culture; focuses on the portrayal and treatment of religion in popular culture and the ways in which religious and mythic themes are expressed in such pop culture forums as television shows, films, music, mass-market fiction, and material culture.
What sort of jobs do religious studies grads get?

Gemma Hickey holds a BA in religious studies from Memorial, and is currently completing their Masters in gender studies. Gemma is a widely known activist, and is best known for co-leading the movement that legalized same-sex marriage in Canada. They are the Founder of the Pathways Foundation, an emerging agency that offers support to survivors of clergy abuse and the Executive Director of For the Love of Learning, an arts-based charity that works to improve the lives of at-risk youth.


Department of Religious Studies

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000