• Religion

    Religion plays a central role in human experience by providing a standpoint from which to discern meaning at a personal, social, and cosmic level. The religious studies program seeks to engage the student in a rigorous examination of the various forms that religion has taken and the particular standpoints they have produced. That examination includes the cultural, historical, systematic, and contemporary significance of religious texts, beliefs, and practices for the self-understanding of communities and individuals, and its embodiment in ritual and moral action.

    People study religion to satisfy both personal and professional needs. The department’s curriculum enables students to explore their own traditions and those of others on campus, in American society, and around the world; and it allows students to study in depth a particular area, such as the Bible, or tradition, such as the African-American church. Students often discover significant connections between another field—literature, anthropology, or philosophy, for example—and the study of religion. As with other liberal arts disciplines, and especially those in the humanities, the study of religion enables students to develop skills in research, problem solving, close reading of texts, critical and philosophical thinking, and interdisciplinary perspectives on human behavior and societies. Religion majors and minors may go on to seminary in preparation for religious work or on to other graduate schools in such fields as law, medicine, psychology, or the academic study of religion. Some go directly into K-12 teaching, into the business world, or into the nonprofit service sector.

    Of course, many nonmajors/minors also take religion courses, relatively few of which have prerequisites.

    Who We Are and What We Stand For

    Hamline's Department of Religion is made up of scholar-practitioners who seek to model the positive relation we see between the academic study of religion and the practice of it. As a church -related university, we strongly affirm the United Methodist emphasis on ecumenical openness to other faiths, and we embrace the global scope of the Hamline mission to prepare compassionate citizens of the world. We interpret our church affiliation as a charter of hospitality. While predominantly Christian, the department welcomes students of different religions and students of no religion, inviting all to deepen their understanding of their own values and commitments and to investigate other faiths with respect for their particular wisdom and intrinsic worth.

    Learning Outcomes

    The purpose of learning outcomes at Hamline University is to ensure that our mission and values are realized in what our graduating students know, value, and can do. View all learning outcomes for Religion.

  • News


    Professor Deanna Thompson, religion, and former Hamline colleague Beverly Wallace have been invited to give one of the keynote presentations at the Embodied Freedom Conference at Augsburg College, June 4-6. The conference commemorates the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation by focusing on scholarship of female scholars of Martin Luther and the Reformation.


    Religion Professor Deanna Thompson's latest book, The Virtual Body of Christ in a Suffering World, will be the featured book on Syndicate, a forum for scholars interested in not merely reviewing new work in the humanities but engaging it in substantive and diaological ways. Starting on Monday, April 24, 2017, Syndicate will host a symposium on The Virtual Body of Christ that will run for five weeks.


    A group of 36 Hamline students are in Memphis, Tennessee to present their collaborative research at the 31st annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). Students present original research with topics spanning across a variety of disciplines and programs, from social justice to business, and biology to history.