Central College’s religious studies program infuses the core strengths of Central’s faculty to amplify biblical studies and world religion. By branching out from primarily Christian teaching emphasized at many colleges and universities, the religious studies program at Central gives students the unique opportunity to engage in study to understand society as well as themselves.
Students of the program have served communities as teachers in both schools and universities, as ministers, priests and missionaries, as lawyers and as employees and managers in various community-related services. Central also offers a pre-ministry program with an emphasis on Christian studies and ministry. Central students are engaged with research opportunities, both national and international, and with internships in preparation for work and graduate studies.
In a time in higher education when humanities courses are getting cut, Central College has given religion faculty members the opportunity to reinvent the religious studies major into a relevant program. Religious studies are important courses to the culture, history and environment of Central.
Central College is one of the most beautiful college campuses one will find. A perfect mix of old and new, the college's buildings reflect its history and its future. Central's distinctive library is a spacious and popular haven with more than 230,000 volumes, computer stations, a multimedia collection and an extensive online catalog.
Central students can study off-campus — both internationally or domestically in the United States. These opportunities give students the chance to prepare to be global citizens, equipped to compete in the global job market. Students can check out experiences led by Central faculty or attend select academic programs across the world that provide opportunities for study, service, internships and other types of experiential learning. Options include experiences in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Central America, Ghana, England, the Scottish Highlands and more.
Campus Ministries offers mission trips over fall, winter, spring and summer breaks to destinations like Kansas City, New Orleans, Mexico, Haiti, China and Ethiopia. Students also have opportunities to serve in leadership roles with Campus Ministries.
Jon Witt, professor of sociology, became a sociologist to better understand religious trends in the modern world. He wrote a two-part research summary for the Reformed Church in America publication.
A degree in religious studies gives students the skill sets to prepare them for ministry, law school, graduate school and more. Central College religious studies graduates can easily engage in any occupation with the ability to think on their feet, process analytically and think ethically and critically.
Religious studies students also gain experience through internships that prepare them for future employment or entrance into graduate school. Recent internships include:
Many religious studies students go on to pursue master’s degrees and doctorates from a sampling of the institutions below.
Religious studies at Central College includes courses in biblical studies, the history of Christian thought, world religions (such as Judaism, Islam Taoism and Confucianism), and ethics and theology, as well as courses in Christian ministry and doctrine. New courses include Race, Racism and Religion in America; Faith and the Search for Meaning; and Islamic Law, Theology and Philosophy.
Coursework emphasizes reading, critical analysis, distinguishing fact from fantasy, communicating (orally and in writing) and objectivity.
A member of Central’s religious studies faculty recently received his second Fulbright Scholarship; the first allowed him to study in Beirut, Lebanon, and the second in Amman, Jordan.
Learn more about this discipline in the course catalog.