Religion is deeply intertwined with many aspects of human culture, connecting to morality and ethics, law and politics, science, art, and music. Lawrence's religious studies program offers courses in religious traditions from world religions, including Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam, as well as interdisciplinary courses that explore the broader implications of religious traditions throughout history and the world. 

Students of any religious affiliation (or none) and any declared major, can benefit from the academic study of religion. Entry-level courses (i.e., 100- and 200-level) require no prerequisite and consider an array of traditions, texts, theories, and/or topics, while upper-level courses explore specific subjects in greater detail. All our courses encourage students to think critically while fostering an understanding of diverse viewpoints and ways of being in the world.

Pull Quotes - Maddy Tevonian ’24 - Student | Religious Studies | Wilmette, Illinois

Student Perspective

“I've learned that I enjoy working to be part of the solution, such as returning items like totem poles to the Indigenous peoples they belong to and making models or 3-D scans so visitors can still learn about them.”

Maddy Tevonian ’24, Student
Religious Studies
Wilmette, Illinois 


Unbagging First-Year Studies

Martyn Smith, director of First-Year Studies, unbags the 10 works being used in First-Year Studies during the 2021-2022 academic year.

Aerial of a stupa in Namche Bazaar with the Konde Ri mountain in the distance
Study Off Campus


Combine classroom work with field study to explore Buddhism in Nepal during December Term.

Discover coursework in religious studies.

Lawrence offers both a major and minor in religious studies.

Learn more about the religious studies faculty.

Skyline image of mountains in Nepal

Experience religion through travel

Widen your cross-cultural understanding of religious expression through opportunities to visit regional religious communities and international sites in places like Nepal and Senegal.

Hand holding a magnifying glass inspects parchment

Connect the dots of human faith and culture with self-directed research

Delve deep into your particular interest within religious studies with independent research.

The Chandler Senior Experience

The Department of Religious Studies’ Senior Experience is a one-term senior seminar (usually taught in the Spring Term) that examines approaches to the study of religion selected from a school of thought or a more eclectic group of authors. Seniors will participate in an informal departmental colloquium, in which your work is presented and discussed by majors, minors, and faculty.

If you are pursuing double majors, double degrees, and education certification, we encourage you to consult with your advisors and relevant department plans to negotiate your overall Senior Experience as early as possible, especially if you're interested in pursuing an interdisciplinary capstone that integrates your majors or student teaching project.

Recent Senior Experience projects include:

  • I Love You God (P.S. We’re Breaking Up): How Emerging Adults are Navigating Religious Ambiguity Through Taizé
  • What Is the Meaning of Life?  An Examination of the Nature and Ramifications of the Pursuit of the Meaning of Life
  • The “Pure” Gods: The History of the Far-Right’s Longstanding Love Affair with Norse Neopaganism


Michelle Gibson ’17 works with students in her second-grade classroom at Appleton’s Lincoln Elementary School.

Religious Studies Outcomes

Studying the rich world of faith creates a solid foundation for a variety of advanced study and career paths.

Can you picture yourself at Lawrence? Apply for admission.

The best way to find out if Lawrence is the university for you is by visiting.

Your virtual tour starts at the Arch but be sure to check out Briggs Hall, to explore social science learning spaces.