Studying the world's religions is a central part of understanding human cultures. Religions shape how human beings interpret and interact with other humans, with nature, and with what we take to be most sacred. If you find human beings interesting, you'll find studying the world's religions interesting.

The principal mission of the Religious Studies Department is to help students at Siena understand and appreciate the meanings and roles of religion in human culture. The academic investigation of religion is a component of a liberal arts education and clearly has an important function at a college sustained by the Franciscan tradition.

The Department presents in its courses a critical study and appreciation of the various religious traditions of the world. Through this approach to Religious Studies, the Department provides students with an opportunity to explore the significance of human existence in its relation to the sacred, and alerts them to the importance of religious beliefs and practices in the political, social, aesthetic, and economic arenas.

Our courses are designed for all students, regardless of their personal religious stance, and approach religious experience from cross-cultural, multidisciplinary and global perspectives.

Siena’s Religious Studies Department seeks not to persuade students to become religious or to adhere to one religion rather than another. We explore the historical and contemporary diversity of the world’s religions, helping students better understand the roles religions play in society, in politics, in the arts, and in economics.

Program Highlights

  • Fieldwork that allows students to learn firsthand about the experiences of local religious persons.
  • A focus on improving our students’ abilities to analyze complex arguments and to articulate and defend reasoned responses to them.
  • Students develop marketable skills such as communicating ideas clearly, listening carefully, valuing teamwork and appreciating the impact of beliefs and practices others typically take for granted.
  • Internationally recognized faculty experts with degrees from top U.S. universities.
  • Preparation for a wide-variety of career paths, including teaching, social service, counseling, various forms of ministry, law, medicine and business.

Requirements for the Major (36 credits)

  • RELG101 - Religion in Western Culture 3 credits


  • RELG121 - Intro to Biblical Studies 3 credits


  • RELG141 - Intro to Religious Thought 3 credits


  • RELG181 - Experiences of the Sacred 3 credits

Historical Studies (RSHS) (3 credits)
Scriptural Studies (RSSC) (3 credits)
Religious Thought (RSRT) (3 credits)
Ethics (RSET) (3 credits)
World Religions (RSWR) (3 credits)


  • RELG490 - Seminar in Religious Studies 3 credits

Religious Studies Electives (15 credits)
*INSA 400 and INSA 480 may be counted as elective Religion credits by Religious Studies majors.
Students are encouraged to take advantage of religious studies course offerings in the Hudson-Mohawk Association of Colleges.

Auxiliary courses (6 credits)

Two semesters in the same foreign language.
These languages include: French, Spanish, German, Latin, Russian, Greek, Italian or Arabic. *American Sign Language does not fulfill this requirement.

Program taught in:
  • English (US)

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This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2020
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