Department of ReligionAcademics

About the Department

Current Perspectives on Old Questions

The Department of Religion at Gustavus focuses on interdisciplinary religious studies to help students contribute to a better world community. In our classes - and in undergraduate and faculty research - we seek to contextualize religious traditions and beliefs with their real-world implications. Students learn to not only understand the core content and beliefs of diverse religious traditions but also how they manifest in the world. Studying religions provides perspective on how they coexist in dialogue and tension with different worldviews and philosophical and ethical cultures.

As a Religion student, you will develop skills that will enrich and reward you for the rest of your life. Our classes strengthen students' abilities to interact and engage with people from diverse backgrounds, religious or otherwise. By studying the origins of beliefs and practicing interreligious dialogue, Religion majors, minors, and general education students greatly improve their interpersonal communication abilities, constructing a diverse set of social, analytical, and philosophical tools that can apply to any pursuit beyond the classroom.

Majors and minors credit the Department's focus on writing, small-group learning, faculty-student mentorship, and the communal atmosphere of our student cohort as leading to their post-collegiate success.

Areas of teaching and research focus in the Department include Biblical Studies, Bioethics, Theology & Ethics, and Liberation Theology, as well as diverse broader religious traditions including Catholicism, Lutheranism, Buddhism, and Judaism.

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Study Religion Under Top Scholars

When you become a student in the Religion Department at Gustavus Adolphus, you're joining a curious and supportive community of learners. The Gustavus Adolphus campus in St. Peter, MN, is a fun and safe place to learn and form supportive relationships with proximity to big-city communities and experiences. You're just minutes away from Mankato and less than an hour from the Twin Cities, where you will meet with a diverse group of religious communities.

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Discover your path:
Majors, Minors, and Related Programs

The vast majority of people worldwide identify with a religious or spiritual-philosophical tradition, and they have a momentous influence on every aspect of social, political, economic, and ethical life. A degree in religion from Gustavus gives you a broad framework and a deep background for understanding the moral and existential questions that connect (and cause conflict between) communities and nations. Through your courses, you will gain the essential tools for thoughtfully reflecting upon conflicts and commonalities in faith and practice around the world, while also exploring the history and development of your own belief and faith systems.

Our faculty are highly accomplished, presenting their work at national and international forums, and publishing on topics like sexuality and Christianity, Buddhist philosophy, children and theology, medieval Catholic thought, and prophecy in the Hebrew Bible and Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Religion Department also offers a minor in Interreligious Leadership in Civic and Professional Life, which allows students across disciplines to develop the knowledge and leadership skills needed to navigate religious diversity in professional and civic contexts.

Majors and Minors

Opportunities in Religion

Grow Your Self, In Community with Others

Scholarship is practiced in a community, which is why the Religion Department encourages you to engage in learning and interfaith and academic dialogues outside the classroom. You may also get involved in different social and religious groups on campus, including the Theta Kappa Alpha honor society. Faculty also organize visits to cultural and religious sites and communities in the Twin Cities to connect with the diverse religious landscape in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. You are encouraged to take your religious studies abroad to explore your interests further, traveling anywhere you wish to go in the world.

Explore Opportunities in Religion

  • Events — Regular campus and community events foster a greater appreciation for diverse religious and spiritual cultures
  • Undergraduate Research — Research opportunities throughout your program, along with a senior research project, deepen your knowledge, and develop critical thinking and analytical skills
  • Study Away — Gain fresh perspectives and deepen your skill set through a cultural immersion away from campus
  • Community-Engaged Learning — Several courses feature opportunities to connect with diverse religious communities and explore religious questions in real-world contexts
  • Student Organizations — Build your community and your leadership skills through events of the Chaplain's Office, one of the faith-based student organizations, or the Theta Kappa Alpha Honors Society
  • Careers and Graduate Studies — Faculty and staff support you all the way, helping you translate the skills and experiences gained to meet your career goals


The Religion Department's faculty and students form a supportive and close-knit community of fun and curious learners. Thought-provoking explorations and conversations continue after class time ends. Students are motivated to gain skills for a career and develop insights into the questions and wisdom that shape human existence. Explore how this energized, connective department is making waves in interfaith culture on and off the hill.

Meet our Faculty

Maddy Himmer ’23

Maddy Himmer ’23

Religion Minor

“I feel prepared through this department to engage in my workplace communities and to explore diversity in ideas in those spaces.” As a Communication Studies Major, Maddy’s passion for deliberation, communication, and navigating cultural differences led her to pursue a minor in Religion. Within the Religion Department, Maddy has found an environment in which her […]

Read more about Maddy Himmer ’23

Keep in Touch With the Department of Religion

The Religion Department will equip you to understand the context of complex and diverse world events. Through small-group learning, faculty-student mentorship, and a communal atmosphere, you will grow intellectually, personally, and socially with skills you can use to make a positive impact in an ever-changing world. Religious studies grow perspectives, build appreciation, and facilitate stronger communities. Now is your chance to contribute.

Contact Religion

Phone: 507-933-7548

Old Main, 202A
800 West College Avenue
Saint Peter, MN 56082

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