Religion in College: Programs and Affiliations
Find out how attending a religiously affiliated college will affect your educational experience.
Plenty of great colleges are affiliated with a certain denomination of Christianity or other religion. Whether you’re religious or not, it’s important to understand how a school’s curriculum is affected by this connection.
Generally, your specific major or program shouldn’t be impacted (unless, of course, you’re majoring in religion). The affiliation will mostly just affect the college’s core curriculum, meaning that you’ll probably be required to take one or more courses in religion as a general requirement. Requirements will vary depending on the school, so research a school’s core curriculum to know what you’re getting into.
Because some religiously affiliated schools have more requirements than others, take the time to look at the curriculum in order to find out if it’s right for you.
Catholic colleges often require students to take one or two religion courses. For example, College of the Holy Cross requires every student to take a course in religion. But even though the college is Catholic, students can fulfill the requirement by taking a course on another religion, like Judaism, Islam or Buddhism. University of Notre Dame, however, requires students to take two theology courses, most of which do revolve around Catholicism.
Davidson College, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian church, requires students to take one course in religion, but again, not all of these courses focus on Christianity. United Methodist universities like Emory University tend to not require any religion course at all.
Students at Brigham Young University, which is affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are required to take a host of courses on the Mormon religion. The American Jewish University requires students to take a course in Israel Studies.
Because some religiously affiliated schools have more requirements than others, take the time to look at the curriculum in order to find out if it’s right for you. The role religion plays in your education is an important piece to evaluate in finding a good college match, so make sure to consider your personal preferences and comfort level.