As the largest department of religious studies at a public university, we embody the fragile proposition that informed participation in pluralist societies requires understanding religious worlds. Our faculty is uncommonly diverse, trained in many languages, traditions, and fields. It is also uncommonly pluralist in the range of research and teaching methods we employ; our curriculum includes courses taught through historical, philological, ethnographic, theological, philosophical, comparative, and literary approaches.
Since its founding in 1967, religious studies at UVA has played a national and international role in the study of religion characterized by free academic inquiry for the sake of public understanding. We collectively teach about four thousand students each year while conducting transformative research. In addition to producing world-class scholarship on the texts, practices, and ideas of many particular traditions, we have unique capacities of collaborative inquiry into democracy & religion, contemplative studies, environment & religion, and ethics.