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. 

Because religions and religious ideas are connected to every aspect of modern life and culture, the major is designed to allow students to tailor it to fit their personal and academic goals or interests. 

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

Why Study at Iowa

The Department of Religious Studies is committed to producing new knowledge about the world's religions and our faculty's active research programs ensures that our students always are at the cutting edge of the study of religion. 

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. 

Our department offers programs that are designed to help people 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.

Course Work

Students majoring in religious studies earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree.

The program of study for the major includes two core courses and 24 s.h. of elective courses. Students are encouraged to work with their adviser to choose the electives that best fit their particular academic or career goals. 

In addition to course work required for the major, students must complete the general education requirements of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Core Program

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

See Religious Studies in the UI General Catalog to learn more about this major and graduating with honors.

Minor in Religious Studies

See Religious Studies in the UI General Catalog.

Admission Requirements

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

Admission Requirements Tabs

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500 student organizations, Iowa students choose from multiple study abroad programs and Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

Faculty, Facilities, and Resources

Religious Studies faculty members represent a wide range of interests and teaching styles. Because of the department's relatively small size, students are able to develop close mentoring relationships with their favorite professors.

As vital partners in the department's instructional work, graduate student teaching assistants lead discussion sections and sometimes teach courses based on research gathered for their dissertations.


Iowa graduates have job placement rates ranging from 86-100 percent, depending on their area of study. 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. This program also develops critical thinking, speaking, and writing skills that prepare students for employment and graduate or professional study. 

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. 


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

Application Process

Application Process Tabs

Apply to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


Religious Studies (BA)
Religion and Media
Religious Studies
Honors Courses
Four-Year Graduation Plan