“If I went back to college today, I think I would probably major in comparative religion because that’s how integrated religion is in everything we are now working on and deciding and thinking about in life today.” — John Kerry, American diplomat, politician and environmentalist; former U.S. Secretary of State
Religion grapples with our deepest questions about the meaning of life and how we are to live. Undergraduates in the religious studies program at The University of Toledo explore how the world’s religions answer these questions and how religion shapes the world’s political and cultural landscape.
Toledo is known for its rich, diverse religious communities. UToledo’s Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies is one of the country’s only departments to have community-funded endowed chairs in Catholic, Islamic and Jewish studies.
UToledo also is one of the first programs to offer a concentration in religious diversity. This concentration builds on our faculty's expertise in the field. Students study what happens when different religions encounter each other and how to make these encounters an opportunity for growth and understanding.
One-of-a-kind community partnership. Toledo has been nationally recognized for its religious diversity. UToledo is one of the only religious studies departments in the country with three endowed positions funded by the local community. This allows us to employ esteemed faculty in Islamic studies, Catholic thought and Jewish biblical studies.
Choose your focus. Students can work with a faculty adviser to create individualized programs and focus on their areas of interest.
Service learning is a highlight in religious studies courses. Students observe how religion effects positive change in Toledo and visit congregational spaces in all the major traditions. They may take part in community projects, such as joining a religiously diverse team of UToledo students to mentor at-risk, inner-city youth.
World-class, well-rounded faculty. UToledo’s professors are global leaders in their areas of expertise (Islamic, Jewish and Catholic studies, as well as philosophy of religion and religious diversity). All of our professors conduct, present and publish research.
Internships. UToledo’s religious studies majors work with local, national and international organizations, including UToledo’s Center for Religious Understanding. Students intern as teacher aides in religious school settings, and as pastoral associates and youth pastors.
Career-planning seminar. UToledo religious studies majors take a professionalization seminar to help them plan how to put their religious studies degrees to work. They do some soul-searching about their path and craft resumes, writing samples and more.
UToledo’s Center for Religious Understanding is housed in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. The center promotes religious education and interreligious understanding through lectures, dialogues and small-group forums.
Graduates from UToledo’s religious studies bachelor’s degree program are valued by employers for their:
UToledo religious studies graduates go on to graduate school or seminary, or find work in areas including:
"The religious studies program’s broad focus exposed me to other cultures and beliefs, which enriched my own worldview. The program provided me with ample opportunity for service and collaboration outside the classroom, exposing me not simply to the theory, but also the praxis, of religious studies. The University of Toledo is fortunate to have a gifted, first-class faculty. When I decided to apply to graduate school, my mentors in the religious studies program were invaluable and played an essential role in helping me gain entrance into a handful of the top graduate programs in my field."
Zachary Dehm, '13
"As a Christian, going to a secular university is seen as a dangerous environment amongst my peers. This, however, has not been my experience. What I have found is that the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at The University of Toledo has stretched me. I desire to understand opposing worldviews and philosophies to the extent that I can relate to another person with mutual respect. The department is filled with great faculty members who are passionate about what they do. They also are very approachable. One unique aspect of the department is that you can customize your degree. I am able to focus on the philosophy of religion, which will prepare me for my future education."
The mission of the Center for Religious Understanding at The University of Toledo is to promote a deeper understanding of religion on campus, in the greater Toledo region, across the nation and around the world.
For more information about the Center for Religious Understanding, visit them online or on Facebook.