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Department of Religion and Culture

Religion and Culture is committed to creative teaching and strives to foster in its students the spirit of free inquiry, the determination to pose probing questions, and the critical skills and knowledge needed to study religion. Religion and Culture encourages the development of strong communication and writing skills. Graduates of the department include professors, teachers, social workers, counselors, librarians, editors, government workers, film makers, artists, religious leaders, and writers.

Religion and Culture supports three distinct degree programs: BA, MA and PhD.

Students in the BA stream study formative human values in a wide variety of geographical areas, historical periods, and cultural contexts. Courses explore the large, multinational religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as indigenous traditions, global movements, and new religions. Classes examine both ancient and contemporary religious experience using data such as sacred texts, oral narratives, and works of visual or performing art.

At the graduate level, the department offers opportunities to pursue research and scholarly interests in a personalized environment that fosters a high standard of academic excellence. Our community of scholars ensures that MA and PhD graduates are well-prepared to identify, to think critically about, and to contribute to solving problems and issues facing their discipline and society at large.

The MA program can be completed in 12 months, or extended to include the writing of a thesis. It fosters the understanding of a wide range of approaches in the study of religion, including fieldwork.

The PhD program, jointly run with the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Waterloo, examines religious diversity of North America. It aims to train students professionally as both academics and public intellectuals.

Contact Us:

Department Chair Meena Sharify-Funk (WLU): msharifyfunk@wlu.ca

Undergraduate Co-ordinator Erich Fox Tree (WLU): efoxtree@wlu.ca

Graduate Co-ordinator Ashley Lebner (WLU): alebner@wlu.ca

PhD Program Director Mavis Fenn (UW): mfenn@uwaterloo.ca