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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.