Subject at Iowa

Religion is a fundamental aspect of human life and culture. It is a profound expression of our commonality and our diversity. It deserves to be studied carefully, critically, and open-mindedly, especially within the context of public education.

Religion has been at the root of many humanitarian efforts, and it has inspired much artistic creativity. It has been integral to the development of civilizations. At the same time, religion has been at the center of a great deal of interpersonal and social conflict. It has been a cause of violence. Whatever we think about the value of this or that religion, there can be no doubt about the value of the critical study of religion. The future of life on our planet may depend on human beings’ abilities to appreciate and communicate effectively about global religious diversity.

One of the most interesting facts about religious diversity is that it, too, is continually changing. In our time, established religions are moving more and more online. Cultural exchange is stimulating an unprecedented amount of religious blending. New religions are appearing daily. The Department of Religious Studies seeks to be a leader in helping people to understand the many and changing faces of religion.

Why Iowa?

Bridge faith and reason while earning your degree

The department offers degree programs at three levels: Undergraduate, MA, and PhD. All of the programs place religion in a broad intellectual and cultural context; they have a self-conscious methodological dimension; they advance students’ abilities to think, write, and speak with care about “hot topics;” and they encourage students to do their part to educate the public about religious and cultural diversity. In addition, our programs pay special attention to the impact that the continual advancement of digital technologies is having on religion and on our humanity.

The Iowa experience

Many of our faculty study across several areas in religion and beyond. Tap into their knowledge and benefit from their experience as published researchers and authors.

Meet Our Faculty

Mission and focus

We cover a striking array of the world’s religions. Our mission is to be a hub of interdisciplinary inquiry into religious ideas, experiences, cultural expressions, and social movements.

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