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Religious Studies: Engage in the questions that move the world

Ethics, spirituality, history, sacred literature, theology––all of these subjects open paths of inquiry into the religious diversity of the 21st century. Our students approach the study of religion from many different perspectives as they engage with the essential questions of human experience and prepare to move our world toward peace and justice.

Our aim is to help you expand your knowledge, appreciation and understanding of the beliefs and practices of various religious traditions as you develop analytical and critical thinking skills that will serve you well in life and career. As a Religious Studies major, you will be exploring the discipline that is fundamental to the identity of Iona College in light of our mission as a liberal arts institution in the tradition of the Christian Brothers and American Catholic higher education.

Exceptional faculty, focused on your success

Iona is a supportive, student-centered community where your passions can grow and flourish. You will learn in small classrooms under the guidance of dedicated and accomplished teachers who will provide personal, one-on-one mentoring as you pursue your unique interests.

Our Religious Studies faculty are engaged researchers and recognized scholars, many of whom hold offices in national and international academic societies. They will help shape your path to success, whether you choose to further your studies in graduate school or enter the workforce after graduation.

Rigorous preparation for the wider world

Religious Studies is a versatile, academically challenging major that provides a solid foundation for a wide variety of career paths. We offer many opportunities to put theory into practice through internships and service-learning experiences in New York City and elsewhere in the world.

Our graduates have gone on to advanced studies in religion and theology as well as many other diverse fields, from law and journalism to psychiatry and international business. Their career paths have taken them into the helping professions, as well as ministry, education, government service, business and a wide range of other professions.

Explore the issues and challenges of our times

Religious Studies offers Iona students in all disciplines a chance to investigate contemporary questions of ethics, morality, tolerance and injustice. Subjects such as Medical Ethics and Sexual Ethics, as well as Peace and Justice Studies, are popular campus-wide. They explore questions of ultimate significance and allow you to make the connections between these questions and your every day life.

Our students may also take advantage of these programs and resources to enhance their academic experience:
  • Peace and Justice Studies: This interdisciplinary minor draws from different subject areas that lend unique and critical perspectives into some of our most challenging global issues. Students explore a variety of disciplines including religious studies, economics, political science, sociology and philosophy. Peace and Justice Studies students are active participants in Students for Peace, which organizes campus-wide activities and events such as Week of the Peacemaker.
  • Iona Spirituality Institute: This center for the cultivation of the spiritual life offers lectures, concerts, workshops, retreats, pilgrimages and celebrations in a wide variety of spiritual forms. The Institute supports the Daggy Scholars program, which sends Iona undergraduates to the annual International Thomas Merton Society convention. The Institute also sponsors the Thomas Merton Initiative, which promotes the study of Merton’s work and legacy. The Institute’s Thomas Berry Forum for Ecological Awareness supports public programming around the ecological crisis facing humanity.
  • Brother John G. Driscoll Professorship in Jewish-Catholic Studies: A testament to the late President Emeritus Br. Driscoll’s legacy, this endowed chair supports eight public programs each year and brings scholars from around the world to the Iona campus. The Professorship also sponsors courses offered in a number of majors including Jesus and Judaism, The Bible as Literature, and Literature of the Holocaust, and it underwrites the spring break trip to Auschwitz, Poland.

Religious Studies students may have the opportunity to intern in many organizations

  • The Museum of Jewish-Heritage
  • Rice High School in Chicago
  • Holy Family Parish Religious Education Program
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • Interfaith Worker Justice
  • National Council of Churches
  • Religions for Peace
  • Tannenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding

Memory and Reconciliation: Iona in Poland

The Religious Studies Department at Iona offers a life-changing spring study abroad experience in Poland. Sponsored by Iona’s endowed professorship in Jewish-Catholic Studies, the program brings faculty and students to Auschwitz for an intensive week of study during spring break. Check out our blog to see photos and read about how students have confronted the tragedy and interpreted the meaning of the Holocaust.

Student Success

Iona has given me the chance to study what I truly love: Religion.

Lisette C. Noisette

Religious Studies major