Religious Studies

Who or what is God? How did different religions develop? How do religions use symbolism and art? How is moral theology connected to medical and environmental ethics? These are some of the fascinating questions you’ll explore in Religious Studies, a broad and dynamic field that studies the religious and spiritual practices, ideas and actions of people close to home and around the world.

And that’s just the beginning. At Alverno, you’ll learn about religious topics through sacred and informational texts, films, documentaries, art expressions, on-site visits and more. You’ll gain a deeper knowledge and appreciation of diverse religious beliefs and practices, their historical development and their ongoing relevance to today’s society. You’ll graduate with a much more informed and nuanced understanding of religion and spirituality, which is useful for everything from comprehending the religious conflicts behind news headlines to parsing complex issues of medical and business ethics.

With its emphasis on spirituality, religious diversity and ethics, this program is a great complement to many other majors, including English, History, Global Studies, Business, Nursing and Psychology.

Understand the world
Our Religious Studies program is rooted in Alverno’s Franciscan spirituality, which is characterized by a commitment to creating a better world. This is also an interfaith program that will give you a deeper understanding of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and other world religions.

Understand yourself
An Alverno education is all about applying what you’ve learned. In Religious Studies, you’ll develop and articulate your personal spirituality, which integrates your study of religion with your personal beliefs, values and practices. This personal journey will help you guide your life in a meaningful way.

Get connected
There are plenty of ways to enhance your learning outside of class. You may have the opportunity to present a research paper at a professional conference or travel with Alverno faculty to China for a two-week program focused on art and religion. Or you may follow in the footsteps of other Religious Studies majors who have created their own special projects, from making YouTube videos about contemporary and biblical scholarship to helping victims of human trafficking. You can also get involved with student organizations focused on religion, such as Alverno Cru, Co-Exist and the Muslim Student Association, or participate in Campus Ministry’s many activities.

Internships for the Religious Studies major
Our students intern in a variety of settings, including the pastoral ministry departments of major medical centers and rehabilitation hospitals, parish offices of religious education, the Archdiocesan central office, and Lutheran social services agencies. Alverno’s Internship Office, which is connected to more than 2,000 partner sites, can help you find the right internship to advance your personal and professional goals.

How you can use your degree
Some Religious Studies majors go on to graduate school, while others go straight to work for religious organizations, nonprofits, hospitals, colleges or other organizations. You’ll be trained to navigate diverse perspectives, a valuable skill in any field. Even students who don’t consider themselves particularly religious find this major useful when preparing to work with people of different religions.


Have questions about studying Religious Studies at Alverno? We invite you to connect with faculty to learn more.

Portrait of Steven DunnSteven Dunn
Chair of Religious Studies