Your major in World Religions will give you an understanding of the historical development of major world religions along with their specific worldviews. You’ll explore primary sacred texts of major world religions and learn about how they live out their faith. You’ll investigate how contemporary world events are shaped by religious convictions and traditions.
You’ll take courses in Judaism, Islam, Religions of India, and Religions of China and Japan. When you graduate, you’ll be prepared to pursue additional graduate study in religion, explore a career involving international travel, or answer a calling in service, ministry, or education.
GWU’s Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy promotes an environment of supportive discussion, respectful debate, and increasing self-awareness. The professors in the Department are committed believers with an openly confessional stance. Yet they will challenge you to think for yourself and to examine many points of view. Raising questions, engaging in discussion and participatory learning are central to the classroom experience. You will be encouraged to gain understanding of your own culture, values, and faith and to develop practical plans for lifelong learning and service.
Our faculty members are dedicated to lives of scholarly exploration of our Christian heritage and living lives reflecting these ideals. We’re passionate about communicating these ideals to our students, our campus, and our community.
As a GWU student in the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy, you will have the opportunity to benefit from enriching and challenging extracurricular experiences such as study abroad, travel to regions of historical and religious significance, or local, national, and international mission opportunities.
Christian Service Organization
Gardner-Webb's Christian Service Organization provides scholarships for deserving, financially needy students who are preparing for full-time Christian vocational service.
Religious Studies Association
Religious Studies Association is a peer organization for Religious Studies majors and minors but is open to students of any major. It is student-led and provides opportunities for fellowship, learning and service. Religion majors and minors are required to attend four out of six yearly meetings.
Theta Alpha Kappa
Our campus chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa, the national honors society for religious studies and theology, recognizes students for outstanding academic achievement and offers opportunities for professional advancement.
Philosophy Reading Group
The Philosophy Reading Group provides students with opportunities for learning and community outside the classroom. Led by Dr. Perry Hildreth, Professor of Philosophy, students recently have read and discussed the writings of Wendell Berry, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Saint Augustine.
Campus Ministries United (CMU)
Through the Office of Christian Life and Service, Campus Ministries United (CMU) sponsors a number of organizations offering student opportunities for fellowship and service. These include: Verge (student worship service), Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Fellowship of Christians United in Service (FOCUS), Missions Possible, Prison Fellowship, prayer ministry, small groups, and Celebration Week.
A degree in World Religions offers excellent training for many careers in service and ministry. You will develop valuable skills in communication, critical thinking, research, and interpersonal relationships. Possible career choices include, among others: counselor, community organizer, educator, minister, youth pastor, nonprofit administrator, missionary, and social worker. You will also be well prepared for further studies at the graduate level.
GWU alumni from our Department have gone on to pursue graduate degrees at universities such as Gardner-Webb University, Baylor University, Harvard University, Mercer University, Vanderbilt University, Emory University, Duke University, and Wake Forest University. Others are serving as ministers at local churches, chaplains in the military, missionaries, or are working with non-profit or para-church organizations.