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Academic Programs

Religious Studies

A book open on a table

Religion is a central source of meaning, purpose, and creativity in human cultures while also a source of conflict and controversy. Salem’s religious studies program allows students to explore specific religious traditions past and present and how they inform history, politics, science, literature, and art. Drawing on diverse theories and methods, students will learn to cultivate skills of critical inquiry and become well-informed, globally aware, and tolerant thinkers who are adept at research, analysis, writing, and speaking. Salem offers a bachelor of arts with a major in religious studies and a minor in religious studies.

Jobs and Outcomes

With a religion major, students might head for seminary or a graduate program in religious studies, social work, ethics, public health, or teacher education. Graduates are also be prepared to use their understanding of culture and their communication and analytical skills in a variety of occupations, including:

  • Nonprofit leader
  • Writer and editor
  • Administrator of an interfaith organization
  • Community organizer
  • Ministry and chaplaincy

Program Leadership

Dianne Lipsett

Dianne Lipsett

Associate Professor, Religion; Director, Engaging Ethics program; Division Chair, Arts and Humanities; Program Director, Religious Studies; Program Co-Director, Health Humanities
To meet other faculty, please go to the faculty/staff directory.

Student Experience

Religious studies majors almost always have a second major, and cross-disciplinary study leads to innovative senior projects. Recent student projects include an art historical study of ancient healing gods, a queer reading of a religious story of gender transformation, and a study of beliefs about bodies in the afterlife.

Health Leadership Highlights

  • Students critically explore how different religions and cultures understand embodiment, death and dying, ability and disability, and the place of humans within the cosmos.
  • Such study prepares health leaders to be responsive to others’ deeply held beliefs and practices and more aware of their own presuppositions.

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