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Studying religion at Calvin

In the religion department at Calvin, we study the Bible and theology and the religions of the world. Of course, religion departments at plenty of colleges and universities study these subjects.

Charlotte Sandy, a religion major
Charlotte Sandy (bottom left), a senior religion major, participated in a service-learning spring break trip to Pittsburgh. She is also a 2009 Jubilee Fellow.

So what makes religion at Calvin distinctive?

Consider the words of Charlotte Sandy, a senior religion major who transferred to Calvin from a state college in Michican:

"Coming from a secular religion department, Calvin was a breath of fresh air. I have been challenged and inspired by the breadth of material presented, all within a distinctively Christian lens."

Why study religion?

The religion classroom at Calvin offers a place to learn, to discuss and to reflect as you seek to better understand God, humanity, and the world.

We strive to take seriously your tough questions about the composition of the Bible, the problem of evil, the historical Jesus, the nature of the Trinity and religious plurality, helping you to develop a theological worldview sophisticated enough to help you navigate through this complex world.

Religion faculty have the resources to help you explore, both academically and spiritually, these questions in order to help you better understand how your faith is related to every area of life.

Religion and the liberal arts

Religion courses, taught in the tradition of the liberal arts, allow you to develop a number of skills that will make you a fruitful and versatile professional when you enter the workforce. These skills include:

  • perceptive reading
  • critical thinking
  • expressive writing

As you discuss issues of faith in your other courses—in biology, English, sociology, engineering and even mathematics—you will find yourself well-prepared to contribute theological insights to the discussion.

Indeed, in all of life, your study of religion at Calvin will help you engage the modern and post-modern world in a thoughtful manner. You will be equipped to be contributing member of society and a strong leader in the church.

Careers in religion

Whether you simply take courses in the religion department or choose to major or minor in religion, you will graduate with many professional options open to you, though some will require graduate study. Career options include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • teaching at the elementary or secondary level
  • teaching at a college or university
  • Christian ministry
  • publishing and journalism
  • law
  • politics
  • social services
  • international development work

Learn more about internships or careers for students in religion »

Learn more Calvin's pre-ministry advising program »

Opportunities outside the classroom

Take advantage of the many opportunities Calvin gives you to get leadership, research and internship experience while you are still a student. Some of these opportunities include:

  • The McGregor Summer Research Fellowship program pairs students in the humanities with professors to conduct scholarly research during the summer.
  • The Jubilee Fellows program accepts twelve juniors each year to explore Christian ministry through study, a summer-long internship and community service.
  • The Comenius Scholars program allows students from the traditional liberal arts to do paid internships with local non-profit organizations.
  • Study off-campus in 12 Calvin-sponsored programs to places like Hungary, France, Honduras, Ghana, Britain, Thailand and New Mexico, as well as many off-campus interim courses.
  • Over 50 students clubs and organizations.

Quick Facts

13 faculty members in the religion department hold PhDs in their fields.

45 semester-long courses are offered by the religion department.

Religion offers two majors and three minors.

The department maintains four scholarships for religion majors and minors and those interested in ministry.

Courses are offered in biblical studies, theological studies and religious studies.