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Explore the religious studies bachelor's degree program at UW-Eau Claire

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's religious studies bachelor's degree introduces you to the fascinating world of religion and the various beliefs, practices, texts, ceremonies and theologies associated with it.

Rooted in rich history and cultural exploration, the program's curriculum will introduce you to religions across the globe, from Christianity to Judaism, to Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism and Shinto. Examine topics like the meaning of religion; the nature of religious thought; and issues around God, salvation and evil. Coursework, including unique research projects and classroom discussions, will provide you with a better understanding of the way people think, feel and act. 

Religious studies majors are highly encouraged to take their education to the next level by exploring the world around them. Discover new customs, traditions and lifestyles in countries like Ghana, Japan, Austria, Greece, Ireland, Italy or Scotland while studying abroad. Or spend a semester at one of more than 200 universities participating in the National Student Exchange program. Cultural immersion programs will take you out of your daily routine and immerse you in unfamiliar cultures, catching a glimpse of how others experience life.

Home to one of the few philosophy and religious studies departments in the state, the religious studies major will prepare you for graduate school or immediate entry into the workforce. Our alumni go on to pursue a variety of careers, including those related to religious organizations, the government, law, education and fundraising. No matter your path, you'll find a major in religious studies benefits you on both a professional and personal level.

Bon Iver at Eaux Claires

A place to pursue your passions

UW-Eau Claire is a place to pursue your passions. Just ask UWEC grad Justin Vernon, founder of the American indie-folk — and Grammy award-winning — band Bon Iver. But his choice of study may surprise you, as Justin didn't major in music. Rather, Justin's interest in people and a desire to answer life's difficult questions led him to religious studies.

"I felt like emotionally I understood enough about what I wanted to do with music, and I wanted to branch out a little," he explained. "I was always kind of a spiritual kid, and I was always real interested in people and why things like love and memory or any of those things are important." 

Justin quickly found a sense of home within the philosophy and religious studies department, finding himself challenged and inspired by his courses. In fact, just one class led him to pursue a topical minor in the philosophy of feminism. "It just seemed so obvious that our society, at its really deep core, is so patriarchal, and it seemed so important for me, and everyone, to understand that something is really wrong with that," he said. 

His desire to help others has continued to influence many of his career choices. Justin has played a number of benefit concerts, with proceeds going to places like Eau Claire's Bolton Refuge House, a shelter for women and children escaping domestic abuse. And his music continues to move and positively impact his listeners. 

UW-Eau Claire prides itself on all its graduates who, like Justin, are full of compassion and on a mission to make the world a better, more beautiful place.

Religious studies degree scholarships

Religious studies majors are eligible for a variety of scholarships offered through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. For example, the Willis and Betty Gertner Religious Studies Scholarship awards $1,000 to a deserving religious studies major who demonstrates academic excellence. Religious studies students who are studying abroad can also apply for the Richard deGrood Scholarship, worth $800. 

Learn more about additional scholarships and resources available to you by checking out our scholarships page.

Financial aid at UW-Eau Claire

Working to make your college education affordable is very important to us. We are here to walk you through the financial aid process and make applying for aid and paying your bill as easy as possible. 
To get this process started, please contact our staff at Blugold Central — our one-stop shop for tuition and financial aid. They will help you learn how to pay for your education and minimize debt, freeing you up to focus on academics and your religious studies degree.  
Learn more about our financial aid process at UWEC

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Quick facts

Religious studies program details
  • Program length: four years
  • Offered: in person
  • Campus: Eau Claire
  • This major requires a minor or certificate.
  • This program is also available as a minor. 
  • Students majoring in this program may choose either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree.
Student organizations
  • Theta Alpha Kappa
  • Philosophy Club 

Religious studies bachelor’s degree program highlights

Research experience. As part of a capstone course, you'll complete a rigorous research paper on a topic of your choice. In addition to being a compelling addition to your resume and portfolio, this paper will give you real-world experience conducting and presenting research. 

Enhanced skill set. Religious studies majors take away valuable skills, including critical thinking, communication and abstract reasoning. Your ability to interpret and analyze complex information will prepare you for a variety of different roles and organizations. 

Supportive faculty. While at UWEC, you'll learn from some of the best. Our accomplished and enthusiastic faculty go out of their way to ensure you are inspired, motivated and on track to finding a career you love. 

A versatile, meaningful degree. Religion is persistent and a part of virtually all civilizations and cultures. While some degree programs may come and go, the study of religion is always relevant and adaptable, as it is continually explored through new lenses. The world will always need religious studies majors and minors. 

Connection to local employers. Annual on-campus Career Conferences and a Non-Profit and Government Career Fair bring potential employers right to you. These events are excellent opportunities to network and submit your resume for current and future job openings. 

What jobs can you get with a religious studies degree from UWEC?

The religious studies curriculum provides an excellent framework for graduate school and a variety of career paths. The major provides rich preparation for jobs that require specialized knowledge, writing, sensitivity, understanding of complex documents and the ability to relate to people of various cultures. You may choose to teach, conduct research at a university, or hold a range of roles at libraries, nonprofit organizations or museums. 

Where are religious studies alumni now? 

Our religious studies alumni have gone on to earn positions at places like the Smithsonian Institution, Teach For America, Interfaith Network, Freedom From Religion Foundation, United Way and Veterans Affairs. Jobs range from a college recruiter to youth services coordinator, to public relations specialist, lawyer, psychologist, family counselor and minister.

Religious studies careers

Religious studies teaches you about people, yourself and why we are where we are today. It forces you to think critically about the tough questions in life and dig deep to find out who you are as a person. Just like art and music, religious studies plays an important role in shaping a well-rounded individual.

Ashlei Buhrow Religious Studies

Religious studies bachelor’s degree program curriculum

Curriculum within the religious studies major focuses on the history of religion and the interaction of religions and cultures across the globe — and across time. Coursework explores how religion has shaped the world’s history, literature, art, culture, politics, ethics and economics, and how religious traditions have laid the foundation for human rights, social justice, tolerance and world peace. 

Classes for religious studies majors may include:

Learn more about the religious studies major in the UWEC course catalog.

Learn more about the religious studies minor in the UWEC course catalog.

Related programs at UW-Eau Claire

Thinking about a bachelor’s degree in religious studies? Here are other programs you may be interested in exploring.

Department information

Learn more about the philosophy and religious studies department

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