Religion

The Religion Department is a community of students and faculty engaged in the exploration of religion: the different ways faith is expressed and practiced, the historical and cultural contexts of religions and their texts, as well as the interconnections between religion and other areas of human life — philosophical thought, the psychological, social, political, and economic dimensions, and the presence of religion and religious symbols in literature and fine arts, etc. To encourage creative and independent thinking, we emphasize the study of primary texts, rather than simply reading what other people have written about those texts.

Discover the Religion Department

Our approach is not faith-based. We are not in the business of either promoting or demoting faith; appreciation and critical understanding are our common goals. As an integral part of the larger Bishop’s community, students from all disciplines are welcomed in Religion courses, and students in Religion are encouraged to take courses in other related fields such as Philosophy, Classical Studies, History, Liberal Arts, etc. These may be counted as cognate courses to the Religion Major or Honours program. In addition, students may pursue their particular interests through independent study courses.

Why study Religion at Bishop’s?

Department strengths

  • Small class sizes. Students are individuals, not numbers — you really get to know your professors, and they you!
  • We place a premium on teaching well; Dr. Harvey White won the University’s Turner Award for teaching in 2007.
  • Several Religion courses are cross-listed to offer credits in Classical Studies, Philosophy, Liberal Arts and Political Studies.
  • Visits to places of worship (such as synagogues, monasteries, Hindu and Buddhist Temples, etc.) are often part of our courses.
  • Students have the opportunity to gain 6 credits participating in trips and archaeological excavations in Jordan, Greece and the American Southwest.
  • Religion courses help students develop their research and writing skills — very highly valued in today’s job market!

Some popular courses

  • Western Religions
  • Eastern Religions
  • Sex and Religion
  • Psychology of Religion
  • Politics and Religion
  • Film and Religion
  • Death and Dying in the Ancient World
  • Sociology of Religion
  • Women in Religion
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Israelite Mythology and Cultic Practice
  • Philosophy of Religion and Theology

Did you know?

  • Department of Religion parties (for Religion faculty and students) take place each semester at a professor’s home.
  • Dr. Harvey White and Dr. Michele Murray have won the university-wide Turner award for outstanding teaching.
  • Dr. Daniel Miller has excavated in Israel and Jordan, has studied Ugaritic tablets in the Louvre Museum, and is an expert on The Simpsons.
  • Dr. Michele Murray is fluent in modern Hebrew, has excavated in Israel and Jordan, and earned her commercial pilot’s licence.
  • You can participate in an archaeological excavation in Jordan — and get Bishop’s University credits for it!

Student Testimonial

Studying religion at Bishop’s, I have taken classes on the evolution of human psychology, magic, lost gospels, film, death rituals, Middle Eastern politics and religious views of sex. You can take classes on specific religions or you can debate Aquinas’s philosophy. You can get on a bus and visit a synagogue in Montreal, or you can get on a plane and participate in an archaeological dig in Jordan.

The possibilities of your Religion degree are endless. Whether you’re interested in WWII or Roman art, the study of religion encompasses it all. I’ve even heard chemistry and physics incorporated into Philosophy of Religion lectures.

Being part of Religion at Bishop’s also means receiving top-notch instruction. The department is small enough that the professors get to know you, and whether you’re there for one class or four years you’ll receive the same level of attention. You can also expect to show up to class to find that your lecture is dotted with clips from The Simpsons and The Daily Show, or that the professor has brought in traditional Jewish food for everyone to try.

The Religion Department at Bishop’s has perfectly matched intriguing material with engaging instruction. In studying religion at Bishop’s, I have learned about cave paintings, about ancient civilizations, and Aristotle’s worldview, but I have also learned to think for myself and to look beyond initial understandings of texts to uncover the bigger picture buried beneath. A degree in Religion means moving forward with invaluable skills, skills learned while studying some of the most fascinating facets of our world.

It’s really the greatest thing ever.Rachael Heffernan, 4th Year, Religion Honours

See all testimonials.

Courses & Programs

Honours: For an Honours degree, 60 credits in Religion, with an average of at least 70% as calculated from the best 60 credits in the program (including cognates), is required. Students have the option of writing an Honours thesis in their final year. Students usually take the Religion Honours program if they plan to pursue graduate work.

Major: 48 credits in Religion.

Minor: 24 credits in Religion.

Honours and Majors are also required to fulfill the following minimum distribution requirements (36 credits; see the course lists for course descriptions):

  • Biblical Studies: 12 credits from 112, 114, 115, 118, 130, 131, 214, 215
  • World Religions: 12 credits, including 100 and 101, plus 6 credits from 122, 124, 125, 126, 127
  • Approaches, Perspectives and Expressions: 12 credits, including 232 and 233 OR 330 and 331

Courses offered Fall 2016

REL100 Western Religions
REL112  The Traditions of Ancient Israel
REL120  Ancient Greek Mythology
REL124  Hinduism: The Many Faces of the Divine
REL148  Psychology of Religion
REL208  The Divine and Ultimate Concern
REL232  Philosophy of Religion I
REL302  Of Latter-day Saints and Modern-day Prophets: New Religious Movements
REL330  Philosophy of Religion and Theology I
(Religious/spiritual experience will be the topic for the Fall semester)

See the complete list of courses and categories.

Timetable

Academic Calendar

Admission Process

Scholarships and Awards

  • The Harrison Prize, awarded to an outstanding first year student.
  • The Long Prize, awarded to an outstanding second year student.
  • W. H. King Memorial Prize, awarded to an outstanding graduating student.

Where can this lead me?

RELIGION GRADS HAVE PURSUED CAREERS IN:

  • Law
  • Publishing
  • Business
  • Museum curatorship
  • Library science
  • Teaching at the primary and secondary level
  • Teaching at the university level
  • Pastoral roles
  • Travel
  • Foreign and domestic community outreach and service
  • Television

Check out what some Religion grads wrote and what they are are doing now.