BACHELOR OF ARTS
Religion unlocks insight to humanity.
As educators, we believe that an understanding of religion as a concept and practice allows us to better understand humanity. This is the foundation for connecting with people, understanding people and accepting people, especially those with different views, beliefs and experiences from our own. In keeping with the Mercy tradition, we are committed to fostering awareness of regional, national and global issues of justice that emerge within religious contexts and society. With our immersive curriculum, we aim to develop and hone skills in communication, argumentation, research, social justice, cultural awareness, creativity, problem solving and critical thinking.
6 Courses in Religious Studies
1 Course in each area, 3 electives, RLST 480 (Recommended as one elective)
Courses in italics also fulfill core curriculum requirements for specific core categories as well as for a second religious studies core course.
RLST 110: Understanding Scripture
RLST 205: Western Christian Heritage
RLST 210: New Testament and Christian Origins
RLST 245: Christian Spiritual Traditions
RLST 270: Women and Scripture
RLST 280: Prophetic Traditions
RLST 290: Wisdom Literature
RLST 320: American Religious Thought
RLST 390: Apocalyptic Literature: Apocalypse to Zombie
RLST 100: Introduction to Religious Studies
RLST 250: Eastern Philosophy
RLST 285: World Religions
RLST 325: Religion Enculturation and Pluralism in America
RLST 330: Hinduism
RLST 360: Buddhism
RLST 370: Islam
RLST 385: Poetry of the Sacred
RLST 420: Mysticism
RLST 255: Religious Perspectives on Human Relationships
RLST 260: Catholic Symbols and Sacraments
RLST 275: Liberation, Religion, and Society
RLST 300: Science and Religion
RLST 310: Religion, Modernity, and Post Modernity
RLST 345: Philosophy of Religion
RLST 375: Religion and the Environment
RLST 380: Christology
RLST 405: Social Ethics
RLST 440: Peace and Justice
Religious Studies majors often double major in another discipline, which allows them to achieve a well-rounded education that opens doors to multiple career options upon graduation
- Due to its humanizing nature, Religious Studies is an excellent complement to other majors and is encouraged for students who want to pursue work in intelligence or medical fields
- Our graduates have pursued advanced degrees at institutions such as Yale University, the University of Chicago and Emory University
Mercyhurst’s Religious Studies department is the only one among the four universities in Erie County staffed by full-time Ph.D.-holding faculty
While Mercyhurst's roots are founded in Catholicism, we also welcome and affirm a spirit of universal Christian and interfaith openness
- Apply different methodological approaches to the academic study of religion
- Identify and explain origins, developments, and diversity within different religious communities with respect to rituals, practices, theologies, or texts
- Analyze and synthesize information from primary and secondary sources
- Compare and contrast multiple religious traditions with respect to rituals, practices, theologies, or texts
- Explain, critique, and apply different ethical paradigms
- Evaluate the interface between religion and society
- Compose and critique scholarship with respect to the academic study of religion
We stand by the assumption that religion goes hand-in-hand with community service and volunteer work, which is why we emphasize to our students the importance of their involvement in the local community.
WRITING TO LEARN
We stress the importance of developing critical writing skills in the field by requiring essays, papers, and critiques and providing additional opportunities for revisions and consultation with faculty.
Graduates have gone on to work in ministry and service organization, the arts, health professions, social work, business and intelligence positions, as well as pursue advanced degrees at esteemed institutions.
The Religious Studies Department at Mercyhurst University has the Alpha Kappa Lambda chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa, a national Religious Studies and Theology honor society associated with the American Academy of Religion.
Students inducted into this society are leaders in the department - meeting with guest speakers and participating in special events for the department. Because the University has a chapter, all University students have the opportunity to apply for the Clark Award through Theta Alpha Kappa for an undergraduate paper and to submit papers in Religious Studies or Theology to the Theta Alpha Kappa Journal.
Mercyhurst University understands the academic study of religion as an important discipline within the overall humanities curriculum. Religious experience and inquiry are taken seriously in the Mercy educational tradition as integral to the human quest for meaning and value. The Religious Studies Department respects the religious freedom of its students who are encouraged to think creatively and critically about religious and theological questions. Mercyhurst affirms its Roman Catholic heritage and identity while also honoring and studying other religious traditions. Although emphasis is given to Catholic thought and praxis, the spirit of ecumenical and interfaith openness is a characteristic of the Department and of the University itself. Central to studies of all religious traditions are critical inquiries into justice, peace, human freedom, and community.