Religious studies faculty Jim Thrall leads a discussion on world religions in the Round Room of Ford Center for the Fine Arts. #

Academics > Majors & Minors

Religious Studies


James Thrall

Knight Distinguished Associate Professor for the Study of Religion & Culture

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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Ford Center for the Fine Arts


Students pursuing a minor in religious studies are encouraged to design individualized programs of study that draw from an array of varied topics and disciplinary approaches.

The program in Religious Studies considers the critical role religion plays in human life by exploring contemporary and historic expressions of religious traditions, with an emphasis on understanding religion as a global phenomenon. Specific courses may chart the intersections of religion with literature, film, media, music, and art; probe political, philosophical, and psychological implications of religious thought and experience; or examine the development of religious institutions, texts, practices, and beliefs. With cross-listing in departments and programs of History, Philosophy, Psychology, Political Science and International Relations, English, American Studies, Asian Studies, and Film Studies, courses in Religious Studies draw on a wide variety of scholarly disciplines and methodologies.

Given the importance of religion to understanding the modern world we live in, taking courses or pursuing a minor in religious studies can be an excellent complement for any major. Students completing a minor will learn to:

  • Analyze the role of religion in human societies of both ancient and modern worlds,
  • Trace the historical development of religious traditions, texts, practices, and beliefs,
  • Engage respectfully and critically with the religious backgrounds and assumptions of others as well as their own, and
  • Apply key terms and concepts common to the academic study of religion.

The Program

Requirements for the minor in religious studies include five credits in courses ranging from an Introduction to Religious Studies course to advanced work in the field, as well as three electives chosen from a wide variety of courses.


Seymour Library and Special Collections & Archives offer a wide range of resources for students in religious studies. The program is also supported by the Nixon Fund for Religious Life, which funds speakers; the Glossberg Visiting Israeli Scholar Program, which funds one scholar each year to teach a course in Jewish Studies; and the Barash and Rudman Funds for Judaic Studies, which support both student and faculty research.

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