Religion shapes the way people interpret the world and their place in it. It conditions how they feel and what they imagine to be possible and informs the way they relate to others. Religions and religious ideas are connected to every aspect of modern life and culture.

The major in Religious Studies enables students to develop the critical skills and strengths to thrive in an increasingly diverse and interconnected world.

Why Iowa?

The Department of Religious Studies is committed to producing new knowledge about the world's religions. Students are exposed to local and global religious developments, long-standing and contemporary ethical issues, new perspectives on religious history, and innovative approaches to the discovery and interpretation of ancient texts.

We offer programs that are designed to help students think in new ways about religion, in all its diversity; how religion operates in peoples' lives; and how it shapes the communities in which we live.

Students can integrate the study of religious ideas and phenomena with other areas of interest, such as literature, art, music, politics, law, international studies, medicine, history, psychology, or business. Many students pursue a double major in Religious Studies and another field or minor in Religious Studies while majoring in a complementary area of study.

Admission Requirements

Students in this major need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


Religious Studies
Religious Studies
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.

Because religion and religious traditions impact every aspect of culture and society, this major prepares students for many different career choices. In an increasingly interconnected world, employers look for people who have experience working with persons from different cultures and religious backgrounds.

Religious Studies majors have gone on to careers in media and communication, social work, nursing, public health, government, and nonprofit organizations. They also have pursued advanced degrees in the humanities, social sciences, law, and medical professions.

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500 student organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100 study abroad programs and multiple undergraduate research opportunities.


The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the  Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college. 

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.


Students majoring in Religious Studies earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. The program of study for the major includes one course in each of the following core areas:

  • Social Justice, Equity, Inclusion, and Religion
  • Religion in History
  • Religion in Global Context
  • Religion, Values, and Culture
  • Special Topics and Current Events

The remaining 15 s.h. required may be taken from any core area or the list of elective courses. Students are encouraged to work with their advisor to choose the electives that best fit their particular academic or career goals. In addition to coursework required for the major, students must complete the requirements of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences GE CLAS Core

Some of the languages taught at the university are particularly useful in Religious Studies: Greek, Latin, some modern European languages, Japanese, and Chinese.

View Religious Studies in the UI General Catalog to learn more about the major or minor and graduating with honors.