Religious Studies

The Department of Religious Studies introduces students to religious traditions worldwide and to the ways in which those traditions have been studied. Courses focus on the beliefs and practices of communities and individuals throughout history.

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If you think you know what to expect in a Religious Studies class, Associate Professor Mary Joan Leith would like you to think again.

“You get a moment to stop and reflect on other people's beliefs, and why they believe what they do.”

-Robert Olberg, Class of 2014

Taking full advantage of Stonehill’s diverse liberal arts offerings, Religious Studies is an interdisciplinary program that embraces virtually all aspects of human experience as expressed in history, art, literature, social organization, politics, scientific exploration and ethics.

In the Catholic tradition of the quest for greater understanding, the Department helps students develop critical appreciation of their own traditions and those of others.

“Instead of looking at what you’re ‘supposed’ to believe, we go back to the text. Psychologically, it’s exactly what students should be doing. We want all our students to feel college is a safe time in which to ask questions.”
Professor Mary Joan Leith

Exploring Religion’s Role in SocietyReligious Studies Professor Gregory Shaw

Stonehill introduces students to the study of religion through a First-Year course required as part of the College’s General Education curriculum. Students pursuing any major may also explore specific topics in the study of religion in a variety of Learning Communities and Moral Inquiry courses.

Majors and minors in Religious Studies rigorously dissect an array of compelling human questions, the distinctive beliefs and practices of religious people across cultures and the various roles that religions play in society.

As they advance through the program, majors will select courses and a senior thesis topic that accord closely with their specific interests in Religious Studies, such as:

  • Ancient religions
  • Biblical studies
  • Religion in the modern world
  • Religion and gender
  • Comparative religious ethics