Religious Studies
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The Religious Studies Program at Siena Heights University challenges students to engage in the academic study of religion, to construct an ethical worldview informed by faith, to strengthen their understanding of God and to hone tools and skills for life-long spiritual development.

A degree in Religious Studies prepares a student for a wide variety of post-graduate directions, including graduate studies toward careers in academia, parish work, religious education, journalism and more.

  • About: Religious Studies
  • Meet the Faculty
  • 3 Things: Religious Studies
  • Career Opportunities
  • Clubs & Organizations

The Religious Studies program at Siena Heights University attracts students for a number of reasons.

• Some are on fire with their faith and desire to learn more about it.
• Some want to serve people in their faith communities as youth ministers, teachers or pastoral counselors.
• Some students have questions about what they were taught as children and want to re-examine those teachings as adults to see if they make sense.
• Some students intend to go on for seminary study or graduate school, while other students are simply seekers, intrigued by questions of ultimate meaning and purpose. ("Is that all there is?")
• A number of students major in another field (psychology, business, social work, information technology) and choose to minor in Religious Studies for personal enrichment or in preparation for service in the community.

 Students who major in Religious Studies can choose from three areas of concentration:
  1. Pastoral Studies with an emphasis on ministry: Students selecting this concentration within the major will be encouraged to complement their religious studies education with courses from other disciplines that will help them with careers in parish ministry. In such a professional context, skills related to education, counseling, and group dynamics can be of great help, and students trained in these areas will be better suited for careers in ministry.
  2. Religious Studies with an emphasis on world religions and philosophy: Students selecting this concentration within the major will explore the historical development, beliefs and practices associated with some of the major religious traditions, become familiar with both phenomenological and philosophical approaches to the study of religion, and consider the intersection between religious belief and socio-political movements on the contemporary stage.
  3. Religious Studies with an emphasis on systematic theology, Scripture, and/or theological ethics: Students choosing this concentration within the major will be directed at a more specifically (though not exclusively) Christian education in religious studies. The goal of such a track will be to encourage in these students theological proficiency concerning such topics as the doctrines of the Christian faith, Holy Scripture, and contemporary issues with which the faith is engaged.
Bell, Ian

Bell, Ian

Professor of Religious Studies517-264-7682
Dunne, Thomas Aquinas

Dunne, Thomas Aquinas

Professor of Philosophy248-799-5490
Raab, Joseph

Raab, Joseph

Professor of Religious Studies517-264-7673
Sam, James

Sam, James

Professor of Social Sciences800-787-7784
Walter, Patricia

Walter, Patricia

Associate Professor of Religious Studies517-264-7674
#1. Two of the three full-time faculty have received the Eileen K. Rice Outstanding Teacher Award

#2. Religious Studies majors and minors gather several times a year for faith-sharing, meals and discussions with people with a Religious Studies degree about the sorts of careers they've had and how they are using that degree today

#3. The program is enriched by the diversity of students' religious traditions, cultures and reasons for joining the program

Learn about the career opportunities you can have with a degree in Religious Studies.

When you graduate with a degree in Religious Studies you are well prepared to embark on a wide variety of career paths, such as:

  • Journalism
  • Social services
  • Religious education
  • Graduate school/ higher education
  • Parish ministry/administration
  • Youth ministry
  • Hospital chaplaincy or Pastoral Counseling
  • Religious life/ecclesial vocation

Learn more about the clubs and organizations available to Religious Studies students.

Students who major in Religious Studies and meet specific criteria can be inducted into our chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa, the National Honor Society for Religious Studies and Theology. Many of our majors and minors are also involved in community service clubs on campus and Campus Ministry.

Additional Info


  • Bachelor of Arts


  • Division of Humanities


Meet Siena

Faculty & Staff

Profile photo

Sister Patricia Walter, OP, PhD

Associate Professor of Religious Studies; Program Director
Contact Us at (800) 521-0009.
Siena Heights University Main Campus. 1247 E. Siena Heights Dr. Adrian, MI 49221.