Religious Studies


Religious identity is deeply ingrained in the human condition. The Department of Religious Studies offers an undergraduate program that explores the religious dimension in human life and the role of religion in human affairs. Our study is both historical and contemporary in that we seek to understand religion today, in all its variety, as an outgrowth of its past context. Our study is both comparative and critical in that we seek to understand the actual impact of religion on society. 

The academic study of religion is integral to a liberal education. It provides you with an opportunity to discover the breadth of religious experience, sharpen your appreciation of diversity in human culture, and probe questions of human values.  Students gain fluency and literacy in religious texts, practices and values for constructive engagement in public dialogue, and leadership in community-building.


Majors in art, child development, dance, education, history, music, psychology and social work find religious studies professionally enhancing. In fact, many students choose a double major, combining religious studies with another area to achieve their educational goals. The religious studies minor aims to complement the student’s chosen field of study.

In addition to standard courses, you may wish to benefit from individualized directed study, independent study, field education, and service learning. Students with appropriate professional experi­ence may receive limited credit for their prior experiential learning. Cumulative average of 3.0 (B) or better in the major or minor courses is required.

Areas of Concentration

  • Bachelor of Arts, Major in Religious Studies (B.A.)
  • Religious Studies Minor


As religious diversity plays an increasing role at the local, national, and global levels, students in our program attain the framework, knowledge base, and skill set needed to help individuals and communities navigate challenging and complex questions. Religious studies prepares students for careers in both secular and traditionally religious work environments. Students who pursue the major and minor in religious studies are able to tailor their coursework to their personal and professional goals.  Those majoring in religious studies may pursue careers in religiously affiliated areas, as well as within a variety of human services professions. The multicultural awareness gained in the study of religions is valued by a wide variety of employers.  An undergraduate degree prepares students for professional and graduate study in business, law, theology, higher education, and other fields.


Those with a major in religious studies will be prepared for careers such as the following

  • Ministry (clergy, chaplaincy, mission work, local ministries, religious education, counseling/recovery, music ministry)
  • Social services (advocacy, community development, crisis services, nonprofit organizations, hospice)
  • International public service (humanitarian aid and development organizations, federal government agencies with an international focus, faith based diplomacy, policy development, peace-building and conflict resolution)
  • Communication (religious journalism, publishing, radio)


Curricular Strengths and Scholarship Opportunities

The Marygrove Religious Studies Program has particular strengths in Continental Philosophy of Religion and Christian Social Ethics.  We also have regular offerings in the study of Biblical texts and aim to prepare students who are interested in advanced academic study in theology or seminary training. Our students have presented their original work at conferences and symposia and conducted research with the faculty.

Interfaith and Interreligious Dialogue

The religious studies program is concerned to prepare our students for life and careers in an increasingly diverse world, and diversity of religious beliefs is an important part of living in a pluralistic society.  We stress gaining foundational literacy in a broad array of world religions and new religious movements.  Building upon this, we are concerned to give students skills in interfaith dialogue and partnering for the promotion of shared values and common goals.

Experiential learning

We offer students the opportunity to incorporate field ministry experiences of their own choosing into their studies.  This may involve work through a traditional church youth, educational, or music ministry, or it could involve participation with a local social services ministry.  We will work with you to find a placement if needed. 


The field of religious studies in inherently interdisciplinary, involving textual criticism, history, the arts, literature, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, and sociology.   Students are encouraged to bring all interests to the study of religion and to create a personal learning agenda which crosses disciplinary boundaries.

Contact Us

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  • Name

    Sarah Heidt, Ph.D.
  • Address

    Madame Cadillac Building, MC 349
  • Direct

    (313) 927-1840
  • Email

Financial Aid Available

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