Academics and Research / News

Religious studies to offer four tracks of study

As the world has become a more global society, people are seeing an increasing need to study religion.

To meet the need, DU’s religious studies department is offering a wider range of programs to help prepare graduate students for careers in related fields.

Historically, the department offered students a master’s degree in religious studies with no specialization. Starting this fall, students can choose to specialize by enrolling in a particular track.

New tracks include: biblical studies, Islamic studies, world religions, theory of religion, philosophy of religion and international and multi-cultural studies.

“It’s a global challenge to understand the complexity of religion,” says Carl Raschke, a DU professor of religious studies. “It will allow students to focus on some of the most pressing questions of today and tomorrow, whether by focusing on globalization, the Muslim world or American Christianity.”

Raschke explains that the department had been getting an increasing number of requests from people who wanted a more flexible degree program so they could acquire knowledge of different faiths. Some were students pursuing jobs overseas with nonprofits who needed to understand different cultures and religions and were interested in an “international studies” approach to religion.

“These new tracks will offer more flexibility in the degree,” Raschke says. “We think it will be a really good opportunity for people who are professionals to go back and get more in-depth education for today’s world.”

Raschke also believes the specialties will be a better way for graduates to market themselves in the professional world, especially overseas.

“Culture is meaningless without understanding its religious make up, particularly outside the secular West,” Raschke says. “Our students will walk away with the ability to put world news in context.”

At the same time, the new tracks help put DU’s religious studies program at the forefront of national trends. Many master’s programs in religious studies offer specialized tracks that allow students to follow their interests, prepare for doctoral study or pursue a professional career.

“We spent a lot of time studying other MA programs around the country,” says Andrea Stanton, assistant professor of Islam. “These new tracks, and particularly Islamic studies, put us right in line with national trends.”


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