Undergraduate Programs in

Religion

The study of religion examines the way beliefs and practices shape the world. If you choose to major in religion at Hofstra University, you will learn to think critically about life's big questions as you prepare for a vibrant career in health care, law, international business, journalism, nonprofits, the arts, or other professions. Hofstra's religion program encompasses an introspective look at a wide range of rituals and customs.

Located just 25 miles east of New York City, Hofstra offers access to internships and cultural experiences at some of the region's most dynamic organizations and landmark institutions.

Department Highlights

  • Seminars and conferences that heighten the understanding of faith, community, and spiritual awareness

  • Guest speakers - including an array of artists, journalists, directors, and others - who cast a light on religious traditions, past and present

  • Courses that complement specific career goals in health and healing, journalism and media, diversity, and global politics

Programs and Majors

In addition to the religion major, the department offers a specialized major in Jewish studies; and courses in Catholic studies and Sikh studies; classes about the "spiritual but not religious” phenomenon as well as atheism, humanism, and skepticism; and concentrations within other majors in the School of Health Professions and Human Services and the Kalikow School of Government, Public Policy and International Affairs.

More about our degree programs:

As a religion major you will:

  • Develop and apply critical and analytical skills to connect the role of religion with societal values and norms

  • Recognize the role 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

A minor in religion is also offered.

In the Jewish studies program, we survey all dimensions of Jewish life, past and present. We particularly focus on studies exploring post-Holocaust life and thought, Judaism and global politics, anti-Semitism and other racisms, Jewish history throughout the world, intercultural ties of diverse branches of Judaism, interfaith studies, Judaism and sexuality, and Jewishness and media (movies, internet, TV). A minor is also available in Jewish studies. 

More about the major in Jewish Studies

If you are a pre-health studies major, take religion as your social science concentration and make your medical school application stand out!

The BA in Pre-Health Studies with a concentration in the humanities or the social sciences prepares students for medical, dental, or veterinary school by requiring – within the context of a broad education in the liberal arts and sciences – the courses in the sciences and mathematics needed for admission to professional degree programs in the health sciences, as well as a concentration in one specific field within either the humanities or the social sciences. Religion may be chosen as this concentration.

Also to consider

  • Catholic Studies explores (in classes, programs, and events) how religion works – specifically Catholicism – in the past and present, in institutions and systems, and in the everyday life of individuals, families, communities, and global citizenry. Religion Department Chair, Dr. Julie Byrne, is also Hofstra's Msgr. Thomas J. Hartman Chair for Catholic Studies.

  • The Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies is endowed by Ishar Singh Bindra and his family in honor of Mr. Bindra's wife and family matriarch, Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra. The chair promotes the academic study of the Sikh religion, culture, and history. The endowment supports the appointment of a faculty member in Sikh studies, helps build the University library's holdings in Sikhism, provides scholarship assistance to students interested in Sikh religion and culture, and funds conferences and lectures directed toward the academic community as well as the general public.

    Because of this chair, Hofstra is known internationally as a center for the study of Sikh religion and culture. The Bindra family also established the Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize at Hofstra, an international award that recognizes significant efforts to promote interfaith harmony. 

In the Classroom

Learn from the Experts

We offer small classes that allow students to receive personalized attention and instruction that is tailored to their interests.

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.

Experiential Learning

Internships

On average, 72% of students majoring in the social sciences make an internship part of their academic experience. 

Some examples:

  • Chaplaincy internships at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and Manhattan's Zen Center for Contemplative Care

  • Brooklyn's Interfaith Center of New York and the Interfaith Community of Long Island

  • The Rubin Museum of Art and Nassau County's Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center

  • Planned Parenthood of Nassau County and domestic violence shelters

  • Nonprofits that promote anti-bias initiatives and work to stop hate crimes

The Outlook

Career opportunities for religion majors vary, depending on the industry and your role.

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.

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% by 2026, according to New York area labor market data retrieved in July 2018 by Burning Glass Technologies. 

Information on alumni outcomes

100%

of recent alumni responding to a survey reported they had landed employment or were attending or planning to attend graduate school within a year of graduation.

100%

of students reporting employment responded that they had landed their positions within six months of graduation. Examples of places alumni are working include: 

  • Abrams Books publishing

  • Holocaust Memorial And Tolerance Center Of Nassau County

  • Mount Sinai Health System

  • Navasky Hebrew School

Advanced Studies

Hofstra religion students have gone on receive advanced degrees at prestigious institutions like

  • American University

  • Brown University

  • Columbia University

  • George Washington University

  • Johns Hopkins University

  • New York University

Contact Us

Department of Religion
Room 104 Heger Hall
Phone: 516-463-6023
Fax: 516-463-2201

Visit our department website

Senior Executive Secretary Joanne Herlihy
Email

Department Chair

Julie Byrne
Room 104C Heger Hall
Phone: 516-463-9570
Fax: 516-463-2201
Email