Mercyhurst University

Religious Studies 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.
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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.

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Our graduates have pursued advanced degrees at institutions such as Yale University, the University of Chicago and Emory University.

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Mercyhurst’s Religious Studies department is the only one among the four universities in Erie County staffed by full-time Ph.D.-holding faculty.

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While Mercyhurst's roots are founded in Catholicism, we also welcome and affirm a spirit of universal Christian and interfaith openness.

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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.

WHY RELIGIOUS STUDIES?

We asked our students to tell us in five words or less why they love religious studies.
Image for Angelica Stolarski '17
Learn how religion impacts the world.
Angelica Stolarski '17
Image for Maggie Hackney '19
Deepen my understanding of humankind.
Maggie Hackney '19
Image for Leah Miori '17
Better understand those around you.
Leah Miori '17


RLST 200 Contemporary Moral Issues
This course explores both personal and social moral issues in the context of Christian Scripture, tradition and human experience.

RLST 266 Globalized Religion
Students are introduced to sociological models helpful in examining the distinct enculturation of diverse traditions such as Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism into the American religious landscape. Students will also learn about strains of anti-immigration that resist such efforts of religious enculturation.

RLST 390 Apocalypse To Zombie
This course compares different versions of “the end” by investigating the diverse ancient and contemporary cultural contexts from which stories about the end of the world emerge.

EXPERIENCES & OUTCOMES

SERVICE LEARNING

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.

JOB AND GRAD PLACEMENT

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.

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.

Meet the Faculty

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Mary Hembrow Snyder
Mary Hembrow Snyder, Ph.D.
Professor and Director, Center for Mercy and Catholic Studies
Faculty Image for 
Richard McCarty
Richard McCarty, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
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Robert von Thaden
Robert von Thaden, Ph.D.
Department Chair and Associate Professor
Faculty Image for 
Thomas Forsthoefel
Thomas Forsthoefel, Ph.D.
Professor
Faculty Image for 
Verna Ehret
Verna Ehret, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

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