Religious and Ethical Studies
Explore religion and ethics through a global lens.
As a religious and ethical studies major, you'll explore religious and ethical perspectives on human life. According to recent career surveys, multicultural competence and ethics are among the skills most desired by prospective employers.
Meredith offers an innovative and versatile major in Religious and Ethical Studies, a minor in Religion and an interdisciplinary minor in Ethics and the Public Interest.
You'll develop the global awareness, cultural sensitivity, and ethical decision-making skills that will not only help you in a variety of career paths, but also enrich your personal growth. Our religion courses broadly include studies of major world religions, biblical studies, philosophy of religion, and religion and culture.
As of 2011, Meredith College is the only college in the Southeast to offer a religion major that includes an equal emphasis on ethical studies, including courses in justice, environmental ethics, peace studies, biomedical ethics, and theological approaches to ethics.
The study of religion and ethics prepares students to live in our ever-changing world where multiple religious and ethical commitments both inform and challenge our understandings of how people inhabit, experience, and ultimately shape the world we all share. Majoring in religious and ethical studies enables students to take a leadership role in addressing the complex cultural and ethical issues in their future professions. Many students even choose to adopt religious and ethical studies as a second major, as a way of gaining cultural and ethical competence in their primary field of study.
Our innovative programs in religion and ethics prepare you for a variety of careers and graduate programs. The critical thinking and writing skills you will develop by exploring the complex and diverse world around us can be your entrance to leadership roles in ministry, law, education, counseling, business, public policy and international studies.
Religious and ethical studies majors have enriched their educations by studying abroad, whether by traveling to Greece to study Christian theology, to India to study women’s issues, or to Japan to study Buddhism and Japanese culture. Others choose to learn while serving through missions or volunteer work. Our faculty help students find internships to suit their needs, including placements at nonprofits and religious organizations in the community.
In addition to these opportunities, students often present their research at Celebrating Student Achievement Day. Recent topics have included depictions of women in the Bible, digital identity, the ethics of torture, and nature and Romanticism.
The religious and ethical studies major prepares students for success by teaching them critical thinking skills, writing skills, and making them confident public speakers—skills that are useful in a wide variety of fields and disciplines. Our students have put these skills to use in nationally recognized graduate programs, including:
- Duke University
- Emory University
- Vanderbilt University
- Wake Forest University
In addition, graduates have gone on to work at Credit Suisse and SAS Institute, and have pursued careers as diverse as the ministry, nonprofit organizations, library science, occupational therapy and acting.
The Religious and Ethical Studies program has several scholarships available specifically for majors and minors.
In addition to these discipline-specific scholarship opportunities, Meredith offers a range of merit and need-based financial assistance. Last year, Meredith coordinated $42.8 million in financial assistance.
Meredith’s student/faculty ratio of 11:1 and average class size of 17 ensure that students get to know their professors. In turn, our faculty know students by name and, just as important, are familiar with each student’s unique strengths and interests. This allows faculty to identify interesting research and internship opportunities for students, to write meaningful letters of recommendation, and to support students as they conduct in-depth undergraduate research. In fact, students and faculty frequently work together on such projects—more than 140 were conducted by student/faculty teams last year.
Religious and ethical studies faculty include:
- Bob Vance, Ph.D., teaches courses in the philosophy of religion, including Violence, War, and Peace; and Sin, Satan, and Evil. His academic interests lie in 19th and 20th century religious thought. His publications include the book Sin and Self-Consciousness in the Thought of Schleiermacher.
- Margarita M.W. Suarez, Ph.D., teaches courses in Christian theology and religion and culture, including Anthropology of Religion and Religions in the United States. Her current research interests include ethnography and Cuban religions. Her most recent publication is the article, “Cubana/os,” in the Handbook on Latino/a Theologies (2006).
- Shannon Grimes, Ph.D., teaches courses in world religions, early Christianity, and environmental ethics. Her research focuses on religion, science and magic in the Greco-Roman world. Her recent article, “Natural Methods: Examining the Biases of Ancient Alchemists and Those Who Study Them,” is the lead article in the book Esotericism, Religion, and Nature (2010).
- Steven Benko, Ph.D., teaches courses in religion, culture, and ethics, including Religion and Film and The Ethics of Love and Justice. He researches the ways in which religion intersects with technology, popular culture, and comedy. He is the author of “Ethics, Technology, and Posthuman Community” in the journal Essays in Philosophy and the co-author of a paper on teaching ethics in economics courses titled “Ethics Across the Curriculum, Application to Economics.”
For more detailed information about the religious and ethical studies major, please go to the program website.
For information about other majors at Meredith, return to the Admissions majors page.