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Religion

Overview

The study of religion examines the way beliefs and practices shape the world. At Hofstra University, religion majors learn to think critically about life's big questions as they prepare for vibrant careers in health care, law, international business, journalism, nonprofits, the arts and other professions. Hofstra's religion program encompasses an introspective look at a wide range of rituals and customs. The university offers a degree in Jewish Studies, as well as courses in Catholic Studies, Sikh Studies and more.

Religion majors can select course work in Buddhism, Greco-Roman philosophy, Christianity, ethics, atheism, humanism and other areas of interest. Students may combine majors in other disciplines with a concentration in the study of religion. Courses in religion give students a competitive edge, whether seeking a graduate degree, or embarking on a career.

Just 25 miles east of New York City, Hofstra's Religion Department offers access to internships and cultural experiences at some of the region's most dynamic organizations and landmark institutions. Students also enjoy opportunities to attend lectures with renowned visiting scholars and to network with national and international leaders and influencers.

Career opportunities for religion majors vary, depending on the industry and your role. In the New York region, graduates with a bachelor's degree in religion/religious studies earned an average annual salary of $53,443, and job growth for this major is projected to increase 9.4 percent by 2026, according to New York area labor market data retrieved in July 2018 by Burning Glass Technologies.

Curriculum

Religion majors develop skills in communication, analysis and research. They gain insights into the totality of human interaction, preparing them to achieve success in a complex world. Students select the courses that fit their academic needs and interests, including western religious traditions; mysticism; the New Testament, religion and medicine; religions of India; Irish spirituality; paganism; religious ethics; global perspectives of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and racism; and more.

Students may choose to take religion as a social science component. Some may find Hofstra University's innovative vocational bridges programs relevant to their career goals. Students may enroll in courses focusing on health, healing and religion; journalism, art and religion; and global politics and religious diversity.

Students are encouraged to attend lectures, broadening their perspective on a diversity of faiths. Special events include the awarding of the Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize, an honor bestowed every two years to an individual or an organization with a mission of  increasing interfaith understanding.

Hofstra is one of few academic institutions in the country to house programs in Catholic, Jewish and Sikh studies. In 2011, the University launched the Sardarni Harbans Kaur Chair in Sikh Musicology, the first program of its kind in a western university.

Up-to-date information about required classes and more is available in the Hofstra Bulletin.

BA in Religion Requirements

Recent Alumni Outcomes

Many of Hofstra University's religion majors attain positions with prestigious employers. Others pursue graduate degrees at top educational institutions. Recent alumni work at Mount Sinai Health System, Hofstra University, Institute of Southern Jewish Life, Three Village School District, IMP Promotions and other distinguished organizations. Those furthering their education have continued their studies at Bank Street College of Education, Hebrew Union College and Hofstra University.

99% are employed, grad school or both
89% accept a position within six months
$46K median salary
Get More Info on Program Outcomes

What You'll Learn

Students in lab

As a Religion major at Hofstra, you will gain the intellectual resources and hone the necessary research skills to navigate a world influenced by religious experiences, communities and institutions. You will:

  • Develop and apply critical and analytical skills to connect the role of religion with societal values and norms
  • Recognize the diverse impact religion plays in public life, especially as it shapes social, political, and economic views
  • Experience and understand how religions interact with and influence one another
  • Distinguish the many forms of human religious expression and rituals, from ancient times to the modern era

While some religion majors decide to enter the clergy, many bring their knowledge and skills into secular careers that require an acute ability to recognize one's worldview while appreciating diverse perspectives.

Hofstra University's distinguished faculty members provide an abundance of expertise both in and outside the classroom. Many of the Department of Religion's faculty members are authors of published books and scholarly writings. Professors serve as advisors and mentors, counseling students on paths of study and research as well as on internship and career choices.

Internships

Internships are strongly encouraged prepare students as they transition to the workplace. Through internships, students learn firsthand how to apply their classroom-based learning into real-world applications. The department chair assists students in identifying internships that are suitable to their specific field of interest.

There are a multitude of internship opportunities in a wealth of fields.

  • Religion majors who are interested in health care can pursue chaplaincy internships at Long Island Jewish Hospital and the Zen Center for Contemplative Care in Manhattan.  There are also opportunities to interview patients at nearby hospitals.
  • Students exploring interfaith studies might intern at the Interfaith Center of New York in Brooklyn and the Interfaith Community on Long Island.
  • Those studying public policy and faith-based initiatives can intern with local, national and international agencies.
  • Others interested in museum work can find opportunities at institutions such as the Rubin Museum of Art and the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County.
  • Those studying women and gender issues may seek internships with Planned Parenthood of Nassau County, a domestic violence shelter and elsewhere.
  • Those seeking to reduce hate crimes can intern with local nonprofits promoting anti-bias initiatives.

On average, 62% of religion majors make an internship part of their academic experience. Many have more than one during their time at Hofstra - the average is 2.2.

Experience

Religion Evolves

With its small class size, Hofstra University's Department of Religion offers students personalized attention so that can tailor their course work to suit their interests. And the department's seminars and conferences heighten the understanding of faith, community, spiritual awareness and more. Speakers include an array of faculty, guest lecturers, artists, journalists, directors and others who cast a light on religious traditions, past and present.

Meet Emily Natale

 
 

A double biology and religion major, Emily Natale says her studies prepare her for a successful health care career. As a pre-med student, Natale sees lots of potential in studying religion. After taking one religion course, she enrolled in additional courses because she liked the subject and her professors so much. Her course work features a concentration in health and religion, and has a focus on the healing of mind and spirit, as well as bodies. At her internship at Northwell Health, Natale visited patients who spoke about their faith, and through these spiritual conversations, was able to offer comfort and develop listening skills.