Stephen Covell, Chair
Main Office: 2004 Moore Hall
Telephone: (269) 387-4363
Kevin J. Wanner
Brian C. Wilson
Undergraduate Advisor: Kevin J. Wanner
Room 2007, Moore Hall
The major and minor programs in Comparative Religion are designed for those who, whether they are religious or not, want to know more about religion, the role and significance of religion in societies today and in the past, and the ways in which academics think about and analyze religion and related concepts. In courses offered by the department, students and instructors examine the concept of religion as well as specific religions from around the world and throughout history; analyze religion as a part of culture and in relation to other parts of culture; study components of religions like myths, rituals, doctrines, and institutions; and compare, evaluate, and employ academic definitions and theories of religion.
The Comparative Religion major and minor provide a solid foundation for graduate study in religion and related fields. Many students combine a major in Comparative Religion with another major from within the Humanities or Social Sciences. Comparative Religion courses also provide knowledge and skills relevant to and useful in a large and growing range of careers and professions, including health care, non-profit and public sector careers, culture and the arts, religious vocations, and business and marketing.
The Comparative Religion program emphasizes development of students’ writing and research skills. Comparative Religion majors will fulfill General Education Proficiency 4a: Advanced Writing by taking REL 2000 - Thinking about Religion, and will satisfy their Baccalaureate Writing Requirement by successfully completing REL 4500 - Capstone Seminar in Religion.
Many Comparative Religion courses satisfy General Education requirements.
Recognizing the growing demand for graduates with cross-cultural experiences and second language abilities, the Department of Comparative Religion encourages students majoring and minoring in Comparative Religion to participate in Western’s semester or year long study abroad program. Interested students should contact the chairperson of Comparative Religion and the Office of Study Abroad as early as possible upon their arrival at Western Michigan University.