Religious Studies

Religious Studies

Explore the World's Religions

Studying religion brings us face-to-face with some of the most important questions that human beings have ever asked. Who am I? Why do I exist? Why does anything exist? What is the purpose of my life? Have I lived before? How should I relate to others? What happens when I die? Is there something beyond what I observe in the world around me?

Religious Studies encounter some of the most enduring answers to these questions as we study the world's religious traditions. Also, because most people in the world are deeply influenced by religion, studying these traditions can provide a new sense of understanding and respect for others.

Since religion is inherently interdisciplinary, studying religion exposes us to issues related to history, philosophy, ethics, politics and many additional areas of interest. Religion is the perfect component of a liberal arts education.

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Most students often think of ministry, research, and teaching when thinking about what to do with a religious studies degree, but there are so many more options.

Students with a background in religion move into a diverse range of occupations spanning from government and international relations to business, law, and counseling.

Kirkwood is here to help you explore your career options by providing exciting experiences inside and outside of the classroom to help you find the best path for you.

Kirkwood is the affordable option — we have more than $3 million in scholarships available each year!

Each year, many students transfer their Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees from Kirkwood to four-year institutions in Iowa and across the country. If you are planning to transfer to a four-year program, you will work very closely with advisors in our Advising and Transfer Center. They will make sure you get everything needed for a seamless transfer.

Our advisors take the guesswork and confusion out of the process, ensuring you meet Kirkwood’s graduation requirements, as well as the admission requirements and transferability of courses to your transfer school. By meeting with our advisors early and often, you’ll be better prepared for the next steps in continuing your education after Kirkwood.

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The Religious Studies interest area at Kirkwood is part of our Liberal Arts program. Potential courses offered are listed below. You will work closely with the Advising and Transfer Center, as well as Religious Studies faculty when selecting courses that interest you.

Our Religious Studies faculty are recognized experts and can help you explore future education and career options within the field of religious studies.

Program requirements include religious studies classes, as well as foreign language, math and science courses. With many options to choose from, the advising process will also help you figure out what specialty to pursue.

Sample classes include:

REL-101 Survey of World Religions (3)
Introduces the study of religions and religious phenomena through an examination of several historical and contemporary religions from around the world. Includes a study of some of the following: American Indian traditions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Shintoism, ancient and contemporary feminist spirituality, gnosticism, shamanism, Confucianism and Taoism. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

REL-120 Judaism, Christianity and Islam (3)
Introduces the beliefs, values, and practices of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Both historical and contemporary phenomena are used to develop an understanding of the diversity and complexity of the religious dimension of human life. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

REL-125 Introduction to Islam (3)
Introduces the beliefs, values and practices of Islam. Both historical and contemporary phenomena are used to develop an understanding of the diversity and complexity of the Muslim religion. Attention is also given to critical issues within Islam in the modern world. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

REL-130 Introduction to Religions of the East (3)
Introduces some of the religious traditions and systems of belief found in the East. Both historical and contemporary phenomena are used to develop an understanding of the diversity and complexity of the religious dimension of human life. Various forms of some of the following religions are included: Buddhism, Shintoism, Hinduism, Taoism, Jainism and Confucianism. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

REL-140 Religion in the United States (3)
A historical survey of religion in the United States from the colonial period to the present, with emphasis upon the increasing diversity of American religions. Religious developments will be related to the broader cultural aspects of the American experience. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

REL-145 Introduction to Christianity (3)
Introduces the beliefs, values and practices of Christianity. Examines both historical and contemporary phenomena to develop
an understanding of the diversity and complexity of the Christian tradition. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

REL-160 Religions of China (3)
Studies some of the main religious systems and traditions of China, both pre-modern and modern. The general rubric used will divide Chinese religious systems into four main categories: Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist and Popular, although some attention will be given to studying the reality that Chinese religion as practiced tends to cross over such artificial boundaries. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

REL-165 Japanese Religions (3)
Covers some of the main religious systems and traditions of Japan, both pre-modern and modern. The general rubric used will divide Japanese religious systems into five main categories: Shinto, Daoist, Buddhist, Confucian and New/Popular, although attention will be given to studying the reality that Japanese religion as practiced tends to cross over such artificial boundaries. Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

Matt Hagele, Assistant Professor of Religion
319-398-5426
matt.hagele@kirkwood.edu
Nielsen Hall 330

Matthew has been at Kirkwood since 2010. He holds his doctorate in the religion, ethics and philosophy field of study. His dissertation focused on the work of John Locke and religious forms of reasoning in democratic discourse. His teaching and research interest include comparative religious ethics, the study of world religions, the history of Christian thought, philosophy of religion, religion and politics, and religious perspectives on the relationship between human and nonhuman animals. He is currently working on a discussion of Karl Barth and Christian ethics of veganism.

Matthew received his B.A. from Wheaton College, M.A. from Florida State University and Ph.D. from Florida State University.

Peter Jauhiainen, Professor of Religion
319-398-5899, x5709 
peter.jauhiainen@kirkwood.edu
Nielsen Hall 330

Peter teaches Religion in the U.S.; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; Introduction to Islam; and Survey of World Religions. He specializes in American religious history and Christianity, and has published articles on Samuel Hopkins and the New Divinity. He is also interested in current trends in American religion, specifically the intersection of religion and politics, and the growth of the religiously unaffiliated.

Peter received his B.A. from Wheaton College, M. Div from Princeton Theological Seminary and Ph.D. fromUniversity of Iowa.

Mckenzie Feld

“I came from a small school and knew that transitioning to Kirkwood would offer me many opportunities in the classroom, as well as set me up for a successful future.”

Mckenzie Feld,
Robins, Iowa


Questions?

Arts & Humanities
336 Cedar Hall
319-398-4913
arts@kirkwood.edu