Department of Religious Studies

About Us

Established in 2007, the Department of Religious Studies at The University of Texas at Austin offers multidisciplinary curricula at the undergraduate and graduate levels that explore the ways in which the formation and practice of religious ideas, texts and behaviors are embedded within particular cultures.

The core faculty in the Department of Religious Studies comprises some of the foremost scholars of religion in the country. Working at the forefront of emerging disciplinary trends, our faculty's in-depth knowledge of religious texts and traditions is complemented by their methodological and theoretical interests, such as the translation of religious phenomena across time and geography and the development of comparative and theoretical perspectives for the study of religion. Our faculty has particular strengths in the following areas: religion in Latin America; religion in the United States; ancient South Asian religions; religion in contemporary Japan; religion in the ancient Mediterranean world; ancient Judaism and Hebrew Bible; Christian origins and ancient Christianity; and religion in medieval Europe and the Middle East. Faculty members have won a number of prominent awards and prestigious fellowships for scholarship in these areas.

Drawing on the broad expertise of our outstanding faculty, our undergraduate majors investigate multiple traditions, cultures, and religious phenomena while developing expertise with one particular tradition or geographic area. The Honors Program in Religious Studies provides students with the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member on an independent research project, which culminates in a senior thesis. Our graduates have gone on to diverse careers in law, public policy, medicine, academia, ministry, teaching. Others have pursued service opportunities through organizations such as the Peace Corps and Teach for America.

The Graduate Program in Religious Studies enrolled its first students in the Fall of 2011. Its distinctive curriculum balances thematic and theoretical approaches to the study of religion with in-depth research into the religion(s) and culture(s) of particular regions and historical periods. In addition, all students take core courses in theory and method and participate in on-going colloquia that bring together faculty and students from across the department to share works-in-progress and read published works of common interest. In the process, students develop a disciplinary identity in Religious Studies that enables them to work within and across different subfields.