Feb 01, 2023  
Undergraduate Catalog 2020-21 
Undergraduate Catalog 2020-21 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Comparative Religion

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Stephen Covell, Chair
Main Office:  2004 Moore Hall
Telephone: (269) 387-4363

Alisa Perkins
Diane Riggs
Cybelle Shattuck
Cynthia Visscher
Kevin J. Wanner
Brian C. Wilson

Undergraduate Advisor: Tom Mills
College of Arts and Sciences Advising Office
Room 2318, Friedmann Hall
(269) 387-4366

The major and minor programs in Comparative Religion are designed for those who 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. There are three tracks within the major:

Track 1: World Religions, Society, and Culture

This track is designed to prepare students for careers in academia, education, government, law, and politics. Students receive training to be culturally competent global citizens. Students receive a grounding in academic study of religion as well as in the teachings, practices, and history of major world religious traditions.

Track 2: Religion, Spirituality, and Health

This track provides students with a cultural understanding of the body, illness, and health; and emphasizes practical tools for addressing religious, spiritual, and cultural diversity. It provides a firm foundation for students interested in understanding religion and the cultural aspects of medicine and healthcare.

Track 3: Religion in America

This track seeks to provide students with an understanding of the diverse religious history of, and issues in, religious practice in the U.S. Students also receive a grounding in the academic study of religion. Students interested in this track will be well prepared for careers in academics, law, politics, and government in the U.S.


Many students combine a major in Comparative Religion with another major from within the Humanities or Social Sciences. The Comparative Religion program emphasizes development of students’ writing and research skills. Comparative Religion courses 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.

Many Comparative Religion courses satisfy WMU Essential Studies 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 programs. 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.

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