B.A. in Religion

The religion curriculum helps students to cultivate interdisciplinary understandings of the basic practices and beliefs, fundamental texts, historical development, and cultural contexts of the world’s religions. We see religion as one of the most important aspects of human cultures and their relationships with one another, understandings that are essential for becoming an engaged citizen of the world.

The academic study of religion involves looking at religious beliefs and practices in a careful, analytic, and objective manner, studying them in their own contexts, and recognizing religion’s intersections with class, gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity. The study of religion is an interdisciplinary field, approaching our subject using the disciplines of history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and literature, among others. Just like you don’t need to be an ancient Greek to study ancient Greece, you don’t need to be religious to study religion. You just need to be interested in better understanding how human societies work and interact.

A degree in religion from Otterbein University prepares students to apply for a variety of humanities disciplines and professional programs including graduate study in religion and/or theology, law, business, nursing, education, and nonprofit management. Otterbein alums report back that our courses introduce lifelong learning skills, not just in knowledge content, but also in critical thinking and writing, and global interest and ethical notions for one’s personal living.

The American Academy of Religion has a survey on what students can do with a degree in the Study of Religion:

Find out more about the Study of Religion at the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature websites:

  1. https://www.aarweb.org/
  2. https://www.sbl-site.org/
Student Learning Outcomes University Learning Goals (KMERI*)
1. Students will be able to articulate the differences between a confessional approach and the academic study of religion. Knowledgeable
2. Students will know the history, beliefs, and practices of the world’s major, enduring religions. Knowledgeable
3. Students will know the contributions of the major historical figures in the world’s major, enduring religions. Knowledgeable
4. Students will be able to converse knowledgeably and in depth about one topic in religion. Inquisitive
5. Students will engage in academic research and argumentative writing, i.e., develop skills in the basic methods of the discipline(s). Multi-literate
6. Students will master the basic methods of discipline by demonstrating the ability to exegete texts from multiple religious traditions. Multi-literate
7. Students will be able to converse knowledgeably about particular topics in religion, and lead a discussion and field questions about their research. Students will progress from brief in-class presentations or discussion (2000-3000 level courses) to a senior seminar presentation in a “conference” setting. Inquisitive
8. Students will be able to articulate and defend the value of respect for the diversity of religious perspectives among human beings. Responsible
9. Students will be able to articulate the value of fair, reasoned debate and critical discussion of ideas that disagree with their own. Engaged
10. Students will value lifelong learning about, and exploration of, the depth dimension of life, whether the focus is intellectual or personal and spiritual. Inquisitive
11. Students will value the importance of doing one’s part to care for the earth and all living things. Responsible

*NOTE: KMERI refers to Otterbein's learning goals. It stands for KnowledgeableMulti-literateEngagedResponsible, and Inquisitive. To learn more about KMERI, visit our University Learning Goals page.