Religious Studies

In Depth

Shaping the Soul
Students say they’re looking for ultimate meaning in their lives. Here's how Elmhurst helps them find it.
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Arguing in the Best Way

Voices at the Table

The Niebuhr Center provides an environment for open discussion and discernment that prepares students for a world of religious diversity.

Reinhold and Richard Niebuhr

Esteemed Alumni

The influential theologians who graduated from the College a century ago left a deep impact on Elmhurst and the world.

The Department of Religious Studies at Elmhurst, the oldest of the College’s departments, carries on the school’s tradition of religious scholarship grounded in a practical liberal arts education. What do we study? Anything and everything that humans consider religious or related to religion—in this department everything is on the table. The department offers a theological education that can help you develop critical thinking abilities, plumb the depths of social issues, find paths of self-discovery and grapple with fundamental questions of God and humanity—skills and knowledge that will lead you to a successful life whatever your career. Whether you plan a future in ministry or another profession, we can give you a solid foundation for the future.

Religious studies is comprised of a diverse and caring community of scholars, professors, and students that works together for the purpose of learning about spirituality, the religions of the world, and the ultimate nature of reality. Internships, international study and service learning are an important components of Elmhurst’s religious studies program. Recently, students have studied in India, Israel and South Africa, as well as tutored at-risk grade school students, helped Cook County inmates complete their GEDs, taught English to new immigrants and worked in homeless shelters.

A bachelor’s degree in religious studies can lead to a career in ministry or serve as a complementary program for work in another field. Students who pursue ministerial work will be well prepared to enter a seminary or other graduate schools. Graduates who have chosen a life of ministry have thrived as pastors, counselors, youth ministers, chaplains and ministers of music. Other students in the department have succeeded in law, teaching, nursing, medicine, social work, clinical psychology and human resource management.

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