Student studying in a hammock


qierra brockman

Think in Context

“When you study religion, you are reminded that things don’t exist in isolation. Religious studies forces you to examine texts as the words on the paper, as well as the meaning of that text in a historical and cultural context.” 

Qierra Brockman ’18

Why Religion at Coe?

The religion program offers courses that examine the histories, ideas and practices of religious traditions from around the globe. 

One of the main goals of the major is to look with curiosity and sympathy into the worlds of others — worlds that may be very distant from our own. Religion courses thus investigate how Buddhists, Christians, Daoists, Hindus, Jews and Muslims (to name a few) have formulated their own distinctive beliefs, rituals, cultural practices and philosophical views. Along the way, we get to see a variety of different answers to some of the great human questions: What is reality? What is the nature of the divine? What sense can be made of evil and suffering? What is moral action? What matters?

Looking into these topics requires care, precision and imagination. Coe’s religion courses provide the opportunity to develop and practice valuable skills regardless of your major or discipline. Among the most important of these skills are the abilities to think critically, to form arguments based on evidence and to read challenging materials and communicate about them accurately. We also hope our courses will broaden your knowledge of human experience and encourage a sense of curiosity about the diversity of human ideas and cultures.

kristine gift

Eye-Opening Experiences

Kristine Gift '13

“The diversity of the students who take religion classes makes the whole department stronger. Everyone has different backgrounds and perspectives, and that makes class discussions educational on many levels. Studying religion, either at Coe or anywhere, is an eye-opening experience. The study of religion helps you understand not only other cultures but also the people who live next door to you or in the dorm across campus.”

hassan selim

Genuine Connections

Hassan Selim ’19

“The department feels like a home to me, and all the professors and students, majors and minors, feel like a family. I love the meaningful, deep and insightful conversations we get to have in classes. In addition to the conversations, the small size of the department makes for genuine connections.”

Hassan says the foundation he’s gaining in world religions will help him pursue graduate study in religion or apply the skills and knowledge he’s acquiring toward the study of law, diplomacy or politics. His goal is to follow a career path that builds bridges between people, and he feels his education at Coe has prepared him well.