Religious Studies Department
Why Study Religious Studies at Fisher?
Within a well-rounded liberal arts program, the field of religious studies plays an important role in helping students appreciate the values and heritage of people living in the intercultural milieu of twenty-first century America. Among the benefits of religious studies in this era of globalization are the following opportunities:
- to explore the "big questions" of life from a variety of perspectives;
- to deepen understanding of one's own religious tradition as well as those of different religious backgrounds;
- to gain fuller insight into the political, economic, social and artistic behaviors that reflect religious traditions and commitments;
- to enhance ethical awareness and promote social responsibility in personal and professional life.
Mission of the Religious Studies Department
The mission of the Religious Studies Department at St. John Fisher College is to foster the academic study of religion in all its diversity in order to equip students to live in and appreciate a culture of religious pluralism. The department welcomes constituents of all religious or cultural backgrounds and identities.
Textual analysis, critical moral inquiry, and cultural sensitivity fostered through religious studies constitute excellent preparation not only for further graduate study in the field, but also for graduate work in law, business, and the health care professions.
Several career opportunities are, moreover, open to graduates who major in the discipline. These include the following:
- entry level positions for lay ministers in parish settings such as pastoral worker, religious educator, liturgical coordinator, and youth minister;
- entry level chaplaincy roles in such settings as high school or college campuses, hospitals or nursing homes, and correctional facilities;
- entry level positions in agencies such as Catholic Charities;
- preparation for teaching religion in Catholic schools at the elementary and secondary levels.
Additional education toward certificate and degree programs is widely available for those who wish to dedicate themselves to the rapidly expanding field of lay ministry.
Supervised Internship Program
To provide religious studies majors with hands-on experience in ministerial settings, the Department sponsors a co-operative program with local churches. A recent participant made the following comment:
“I took away more than knowledge from this co-op. I acquired further inspiration for my academic study of religion and aspiration to grow spiritually. I think of the parish staff as mentors, teachers, and friends.”
Recent supervisors have likewise expressed their satisfaction with the program, noting that it “was a very worthwhile experience” and how they “would love to have this as an on-going working relationship.”
The Religious Studies Club is designed to be an opportunity for students to discuss current issues, view films, participate in community service, and attend field trips. Membership in the club is open to students, irrespective of religious affiliation.