Department ofReligion

Why Study Religion?

Religion provides orientation and direction for individuals and communities, societies and cultures. The study of religion engages enduring questions about the meaning of life in a context of liberal arts learning. While discovering the history, thought, and practice of various traditions, you will explore and clarify your own world view.

Why Study Religion at PLU?

You will find teachers committed to excellence in teaching. In addition to your classroom learning, field work and service learning opportunities are available. You will be encouraged to study abroad or work side by side with a faculty member in important research. PLU’s extensive, balanced and creative religion curriculum is among the best in the Pacific Northwest. The wide range of faculty expertise is complemented by small classes. Our faculty will work with you to design a personalized major, double major or minor around your educational goals. Your faculty adviser will work closely with you in considering graduate school or seminary, and in thinking about how your major prepares you for whatever career you choose.

Where Will a Religion Major Lead You?

The study of religion prepares you for fields requiring critical, contextual and creative thinking, ethical decision-making and working with people. It allows you to learn and practice the interpretive approaches of several disciplines during your university career. As the diversity and pluralism of our world become more intensely part of our daily lives, the study of religion offers you insightful and nuanced understanding of individuals, communities and complex issues.

Career paths chosen by recent graduates in religion:

  • Leadership in regional and international nonprofit and nongovernmental agencies
  • Law and public service in elective office
  • University teaching
  • Ordained and lay ministries
  • Social service and social work

Course Requirements for the Major

The Bachelor of Arts degree in religion allows flexibility and presumes that you will take advantage of individual advising in designing your major program. The major requires 32 semester hours with 12 hours in upper division courses and a minimum of eight hours in each of the two main areas of study:

  1. Christian Traditions
  2. Global Religious Traditions

In addition, students participate in the Research in Religion Seminar and the Capstone Seminar. Participants work with the entire department to shape a substantial research project and present their work publicly. Transfer students must take at least 20 hours at PLU.

Course Requirements for the Minor

There are two options: 

First, the religion minor requires 16 semester hours, with eight hours in each of the two main areas of study mentioned above. Transfer minors under this option must take at least eight hours at PLU. 

Second, the religion minor taken under the Teacher Education option is intended primarily for parochial school teachers enrolled in the School of Education. This minor requires 24 semester hours, with at least eight hours in each of the two lines. Transfer minors under this option normally take 16 hours in residence. Courses taken to satisfy the General University Requirement in religion (eight hours) may be applied toward either minor option.

Selected course offerings

Christian Traditions

  • Religion and Literature of the New Testament
  • Jesus and His Early Interpreters
  • Pauline Literature
  • Gospel of John
  • The Christian Tradition
  • Early Christianity
  • Medieval Christianity
  • Luther
  • American Church History
  • Christian Theology
  • Christian Ethics

Global Religious Traditions

  • Religion and Literature of the Hebrew Bible
  • Judaism
  • Islamic Traditions
  • Religions of South Asia
  • Religions of East Asia
  • Buddhism
  • Myth, Ritual and Symbol
  • Religion and Culture
  • Native American Religious Traditions
  • Islam in America