For me, the study of religion has been an approach to understanding human interaction and the human condition. I received my B.A. in 2022 with an Honours in Religion, Society and Culture and a Major in History and Global Studies. At first, I didn’t know what to expect from the study of religion and took only one Religion, Society and Culture course my first semester (RSC100: “Western Religions”). By the end of that class, I knew I had found a program that intrigued me, and I couldn’t wait to explore niche topics in 200- and 300-level courses. In my first year in the program, I quickly found that Religion, Society, and Culture courses explored theories and concepts that easily could be applied to many other fields of study, such as sociology, politics, philosophy or, where I often applied it, history. When asked why I enjoy studying religion, I would often say that religion impacts virtually every sphere of human interaction, currently and throughout history; it has been a major source of conflict, peace, pain and reassurance.

Religion has been presented as some sort of taboo topic never to be discussed at the dinner table, yet the information acquired in Religion, Society and Culture courses is indispensable and helps contextualize any area of research. I would highly recommend that all undergraduate students take at least one Religion, Society and Culture course during their time at Bishop’s.

Macalister Arendt, Honours, 2022

The first religion course I took at BU was suggested to me by the Chair of International Studies as a way to fill a hole in my schedule, and this ended up changing the direction of my degree. I fell in love with the discipline and decided to make it my Minor. By following my personal interests, I was able to further my opportunities on the job market once I graduated. Having my eyes set on Ottawa and the federal government, having a deeper knowledge of religions coupled with my Politics degree gave me an edge. If most people can discuss religions, I am able to analyse and make connections otherwise overlooked, and my educational background gives credence to my words. I cannot recommend taking Religion courses enough for any Politics students, especially ones considering either graduate studies or diplomatic, intelligence, and political work.

Thaïna Dubé-Lemire

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, Honours

The Department of Religion has so much to offer. The wide range of courses allowed me to design a programme that catered to my specific interests. I was able to study the religions of the world, and even had a chance to travel to the Middle East to work on an archaeological excavation (Wadi ath-Thamad, Jordan). The culture within the Department of Religion is really the best aspect; the faculty are always accessible, friendly, and willing to offer advice on anything related to the programme and beyond. In short, my time as a Religion student at Bishop’s has inspired me to continue on in the field, and I highly recommend the programme to anyone interested, even if they are only looking to take one or two courses.

Steven Edwards, Honours
Steven Edwards
Kristyne Houbraken

My experience with the BU religion program was awesome! Small class sizes and an excellent faculty made it a truly enjoyable program. There was always a wide range of interesting courses to choose from and it was not a rare occurrence to leave the classroom mind-blown by what was discussed in class. Another great quality of the program is the variety of perspectives the courses offered as we studied religion from a historical, philosophical, psychological and sociological viewpoint. I was even able to make connections between religion and mathematics courses. The comparative religion courses I took have been particularly relevant as I am currently an English teacher on the Thai-Burmese border. I am teaching English to migrants from Burma in a Thai city, Mae Sot, which is very religiously diverse. I encounter Christians, Buddhists and Muslims and often people are impressed by the knowledge I have of the religion they practice. Not to mention that knowledge of the world religions is very important as a citizen of Canada, a multicultural nation. All in all, the BU religion program will offer anyone who is interested a spectacular undergraduate experience.

Kristyne Houbraken

Being part of such a small department means that you get to know your peers and professors well. The support I received from the faculty was amazing! You form a sort of family; it’s been five years since I graduated, but I still keep in touch with friends from the department. Also, with smaller classes like these, you have the best discussions and you learn much more than you would in a room with 500 people.

Tan Light, Honours
Tan Light

Pursuing the study of religion at Bishop’s is a great choice for anyone interested in the world around them. From antiquity to modernity, the Department of Religion offers small, stimulating courses with high levels of discussion and student-teacher interaction. It is so simple to personalise your course of study by taking complementary courses from outside the department – I was able to apply Philosophy and Liberal Arts credits, and even a trip to Greece taught through Classics. The end result is a well-rounded education, and a wonderful preparation for further study. Religion at Bishop’s motivated me to continue on to graduate studies in the field, but even taking just a few classes in the department would be a rewarding experience. From excellent and accessible professors, to the Student Religion Club, to the famous religion parties, the Department of Religion at Bishop’s offers a supportive community and unique undergraduate experience.

Kathryn Neeley, Honours
Kathryn Neeley
Adelle Marsden

Whether quaffing port with Dr Murray while studying magic (or should we say ‘ritual power’??) or solving the problems of the world with Augustine and Dr. White, studying religion was a huge highlight for me while at Bishop’s. No other field of study challenged me and surprised me more than this program and though I learned a lot, I also learned how little I know and how much more there is to discover. So, I look forward to returning to Bishop’s and continuing my studies in religion after spending some time overseas. Raise a glass to the BU religion department!

Adelle Marsden