Department of Religion

Our studies focus on gaining a greater understanding of the world’s major religious traditions. We will introduce you to the nature and expression of religiousness and challenge you to think critically about rituals, practices, and theories of religion.

Studying Religion at Colgate

Professor giving lecture from podium
In 2018 the Department of Religion hosted the lecture "Feminist and Womanist Religious Thought" by Dianne M. Stewart '90, Professor of Religion and African American Studies, Emory University.

The Department of Religion at Colgate offers a program of study of major religious traditions and introduces students to the enduring questions of human life. The program challenges students to examine the nature and expression of religiousness, and to think critically about rituals, practices, and theories of religion.

Making reflective use of the full variety of liberal arts methods, the study of religion is necessarily interdisciplinary; it engages related issues in philosophy, ethics, society, spirituality, science, gender, sexuality, arts, and politics. The department offers a variety of courses regarding diverse African, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, and Native American traditions and scriptures. Recognizing the multiple ways in which religion is embedded within human history and cultures, the department also offers focused courses on issues of historic and contemporary importance, such as religion and the environment, women, genocide, health and healing, and the relations among global peoples of faith. Courses in the Department of Religion offer training in a unique combination of skills, including close textual analysis, direct observation, critical thinking, and cross-cultural understanding.

Majors and Minors

The department offers the following major and minor programs:

  • Religion Major
  • Philosophy and Religion Major 
  • Religion Minor

About the Academic Program   Declaring a Major/Minor

There are specific classes on, say, Buddhism or Catholicism, but there is also another dimension to the discipline. Religious studies is interdisciplinary, and many courses examine the intersection of religion with other areas of study to determine its influence within society.

Julia Queller ’16
Professor John Ross Carter

Remembrance: Professor John Ross Carter, 1938–2020

Professor John Ross Carter spent the entire forty-two years of his teaching career at Colgate University with colleagues whose scholarship informed him and whose friendship gladdened him.

Remembering Professor Carter