Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2021-2022

Religious Studies

College of Humanities and Sciences

 
Program description

The Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies provides students with knowledge of the nature, history, diversity and common themes that characterize religious traditions. The study of humanity's diverse and developing religious traditions is vital to understanding what it means to be human and how to live wisely as members of the world community. The curriculum offers students the opportunity to study Eastern and Western traditions and to explore the artistic, ethical, literary, psychological and social dimensions of religions, as well as the relationship between religious ideas, institutions, and practices and gender, sexuality, race, nationality, health, social justice, human rights and nature.


Combining classroom-focused and community-based learning through study-abroad programs, internships, and community research, the program provides students with opportunities to study lived religions and participate in the work of building a truly multi-religious democracy that supports religious understanding and collaboration to address such issues as socio-economic empowerment and environmental protection.

Career opportunities

Religious Studies emphasizes excellence in written, oral and visual interpretation and communication, critical thinking, informed dialogue, cross-cultural understanding, the ability to see the world from diverse perspectives, and global citizenship. In so doing, the program provides students with an abundance of knowledge and skills that are highly appreciated and sought by businesses, government institutions and agencies, and non-profit organizations that are comprised of and engage with diverse individuals and communities.


A degree in Religious Studies strengthens students’ capacity to empathize with others and to facilitate meaningful dialogue to build stronger, more cohesive communities. Students will find opportunities for work in social justice organizational management, leadership, and advocacy; humanitarian relief; refugee assistance; research analyst for organizations and institutions that focus on barriers to and support for development, democracy, human rights, and environmental restoration, preservation, and protection; international cultural ambassadorship and cultural affairs; international journalism, reporting, communications; global business affairs; civil rights and legal aid/advocacy.


We encourage students to double-major in Religious Studies and one of the other majors degrees in the School of World Studies: Anthropology, Foreign Languages or International Studies, as doing so strengthens their cumulative knowledge, experience, academic record and resume for success in whatever path they choose after graduation.

Change of major requirements

Submit a change of major form to declare. Schedule an advising appointment with an academic advisor in the School of World Studies via Navigate or via telephone at (804) 827-1111 prior to approval.


Bachelor-level job titles
  • Blogger/Vlogger
  • Community and Social Service Specialist
  • Community Health Worker
  • Director of Youth Ministry
  • Director, Religious Activities and Education
  • Funeral Director
  • Market Research Analyst or Marketing Specialist
  • Paralegal and Legal Assistant
  • Regional Planning Aide
  • Religion Teacher, Postsecondary
  • RELS Professional Organization Staff
  • Social and Human Service Assistant
Graduate and professional level job titles
  • College Professor
  • Higher Education Administrator
  • Nonprofit Director
  • Religious Leader, Clergy, or Chaplain
Degree requirements in Bulletin
Plan of study in Bulletin
Highest level of math required
  • Quantitative Foundations requirement only
Science required
  • Natural Sciences requirement only
Foreign language requirements
  • Yes
Additional tuition/fees
  • No
GPA requirements (to progress/graduate in the major)
  • 2.0+ cumulative GPA, 2.0+ major GPA
Department name:
School of World Studies
Building/room location:
312 North Shafer Street
Campus (where 75% of courses are taken):
Monroe park
Phone:
(804) 827-1111
Email:
info-sws@vcu.edu

Major map compass icon
Major map

Explore
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor to explore minors, certificates, and plan your required REAL experience.
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide.
  • Talk to professors about your research interests, electives, and strategies for success in your classes.
  • Explore innovation and business/non-profit creation classes with the da Vinci Center.
  • Take core courses such as RELS 311, RELS 312, and RELS 340.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Attend one of our Dialogue Forum events at VCU.
  • Consider short-term, semester-long, or year-long study abroad opportunities.
  • Make friends with diverse perspectives and join a cultural or identity-related student organization.
  • Explore social issues, develop cultural competency skills, and engage with faculty through iExcel pop-up courses.
  • Investigate globally-focused courses in your major by pursuing language coursework or setting language proficiency goals with advisors and faculty.
  • Apply for the Critical Languages Scholarship.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Complete a gap analysis with your career advisor to identify key skills required for your professional field.
  • Create an ePass online portfolio.
  • Interact with diverse religious traditions in the Greater Richmond community and beyond.
  • Seek out practical experience through independent skill-building, internships, shadowing, or part-time work.
  • Explore global career options with a career advisor to set goals for getting your dream job.
  • Organize examples of your academic and professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections in an ePortfolio.
  • Attend career and internship fairs and other professional development events.
  • Pursue a digital badge to highlight the knowledge, skills, and experiences employers and graduate schools value.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Connect with alumni on VCULink for career advice, industry contacts, and meaningful professional relationships.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of professional interest.
  • Ask a faculty or staff member to be your academic and professional mentor and to provide future letters of recommendation.
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
  • Attend career and internship fairs throughout the year to explore your interests.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Continue developing your ePass portfolio.
  • See your academic and career advisors to discuss graduation progress and career planning.
  • Students considering graduate school should discuss research projects with SWS faculty.
  • Enhance your business, software, technology, and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Build language proficiency and cultural competence by carrying out your plans for study abroad, internships, and service-learning.
  • Get required REAL experience and effect community change by using iExcel’s Active Citizen’s Toolkit to vote and volunteer.
  • Explore new cultures at one of Richmond’s wide array of festivals.
  • Prepare for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams by showcasing your interpersonal skills on your resume.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Explore research or volunteer opportunities requiring in-depth knowledge of religious traditions and practices.
  • Take advantage of mock interview opportunities through InterviewStream or meeting with a career advisor.
  • Update your ePortfolio.
  • Apply for the Graduate School Mentorship Program to learn more about graduate school and the graduate student experience.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Discuss career paths with a career advisor or faculty mentor.
  • Make a plan with your academic, career, and faculty advisors for applying to graduate school or land a micro-internship.
  • Study for and complete any standardized exams required for graduate school the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.

Excel
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor the semester before you graduate to ensure that all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Choose REAL electives to diversify your skillset and round out your degree.
  • Take RELS 490 Senior Capstone.
  • Complete World ePass by middle of final semester.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Carry out globally-oriented research projects with multilingual faculty and international partners.
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Master your answers to interview questions about your experience working with diverse populations.
  • Plan for how you will grow your cultural agility after graduation.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Prepare for graduation by making a plan to complete licensing exams, applications, and self-marketing activities.
  • Single out prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed by Career Services. 
  • Connect with the Office of VCU Alumni Relations at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and the VCULink Industry Network or alumni chapter.
Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2021-2022

Religious Studies

College of Humanities and Sciences

Concentration(s):
No concentration
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE GET REAL EXPERIENCE PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
Explore Year 1
Experience Year 2
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor to explore minors, certificates, and plan your required REAL experience.
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide.
  • Talk to professors about your research interests, electives, and strategies for success in your classes.
  • Explore innovation and business/non-profit creation classes with the da Vinci Center.
  • Take core courses such as RELS 311, RELS 312, and RELS 340.
  • Attend one of our Dialogue Forum events at VCU.
  • Consider short-term, semester-long, or year-long study abroad opportunities.
  • Make friends with diverse perspectives and join a cultural or identity-related student organization.
  • Explore social issues, develop cultural competency skills, and engage with faculty through iExcel pop-up courses.
  • Investigate globally-focused courses in your major by pursuing language coursework or setting language proficiency goals with advisors and faculty.
  • Apply for the Critical Languages Scholarship.
  • Complete a gap analysis with your career advisor to identify key skills required for your professional field.
  • Create an ePass online portfolio.
  • Interact with diverse religious traditions in the Greater Richmond community and beyond.
  • Seek out practical experience through independent skill-building, internships, shadowing, or part-time work.
  • Explore global career options with a career advisor to set goals for getting your dream job.
  • Organize examples of your academic and professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections in an ePortfolio.
  • Attend career and internship fairs and other professional development events.
  • Pursue a digital badge to highlight the knowledge, skills, and experiences employers and graduate schools value.
  • Connect with alumni on VCULink for career advice, industry contacts, and meaningful professional relationships.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of professional interest.
  • Ask a faculty or staff member to be your academic and professional mentor and to provide future letters of recommendation.
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
  • Attend career and internship fairs throughout the year to explore your interests.
Year 3
  • Continue developing your ePass portfolio.
  • See your academic and career advisors to discuss graduation progress and career planning.
  • Students considering graduate school should discuss research projects with SWS faculty.
  • Enhance your business, software, technology, and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • Build language proficiency and cultural competence by carrying out your plans for study abroad, internships, and service-learning.
  • Get required REAL experience and effect community change by using iExcel’s Active Citizen’s Toolkit to vote and volunteer.
  • Explore new cultures at one of Richmond’s wide array of festivals.
  • Prepare for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams by showcasing your interpersonal skills on your resume.
  • Explore research or volunteer opportunities requiring in-depth knowledge of religious traditions and practices.
  • Take advantage of mock interview opportunities through InterviewStream or meeting with a career advisor.
  • Update your ePortfolio.
  • Apply for the Graduate School Mentorship Program to learn more about graduate school and the graduate student experience.
  • Discuss career paths with a career advisor or faculty mentor.
  • Make a plan with your academic, career, and faculty advisors for applying to graduate school or land a micro-internship.
  • Study for and complete any standardized exams required for graduate school the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
Excel Year 4
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor the semester before you graduate to ensure that all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Choose REAL electives to diversify your skillset and round out your degree.
  • Take RELS 490 Senior Capstone.
  • Complete World ePass by middle of final semester.
  • Carry out globally-oriented research projects with multilingual faculty and international partners.
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Master your answers to interview questions about your experience working with diverse populations.
  • Plan for how you will grow your cultural agility after graduation.
  • Prepare for graduation by making a plan to complete licensing exams, applications, and self-marketing activities.
  • Single out prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed by Career Services. 
  • Connect with the Office of VCU Alumni Relations at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and the VCULink Industry Network or alumni chapter.