perceptions on faith

Explore the phenomenon of religion as well as religious traditions throughout the world with a major or minor in Religious Studies. You’ll study religion through different lenses including historical, theological, sociological and ethnographic and graduate with a diverse awareness of religion’s role in the lives of individuals and the greater society.


Student SpotlightSophia Mughal '25

majors: religious studies, political science

"Religious Studies has expanded my knowledge of different faith traditions, which has allowed me to better understand the foundations of various societies and how many choose to make meaning. One of my favorite classes has been "Torah and Testament," co-taught by Professor of Religious Studies Michael Dobkowski and Professor of Religious Studies Richard Salter, which explores seminal texts, fictional works and academic commentaries from Christianity and Judaism to explore the similarities and differences between these traditions.

I also had the transformative experience of participating in the biennial March: Bearing Witness to Hope Trip in Germany and Poland, which provided us with the opportunity to learn about pre-WWII Jewish life, the Holocaust, and engage in remembrance, preserving memory, and carrying it forward. Through the Religious Studies department, I have also become involved with the Human Rights and Genocide Symposium, which hosts events each semester to educate and engage our HWS community on issues relating to human rights." 



And Research

Religious Studies students looking to engage more in their work can study and complete Honors and research projects in their chosen topic with the guidance of a faculty mentor.

Past examples of Honors projects include:

  • Andrew Frank Broering '22: The Fray
    Richard Salter, Adviser 
  • Walker Anderson’21: An Examination of the Role of Clergy Spouses in Two Churches in the Finger Lakes
    Janette Gayle, Adviser
  • Liam Sullivan ’20: Faith in a Deeper World: The Vision and Praxis of Deep Ecology in Buddhism and Islam
    Shalahudin Kafrawi P'20, Adviser
  • Stephen Clogston West ’19: Connecting Past and Present: The Muslim Struggle for Claims of Authority in the American Context
    Shalahudin Kafrawi P’20, Adviser
  • Massimigliano P. Jones ’18: Black Liberation Theology: The Christian Faith as a Tool for Oppression and a Source of Liberation
    Richard Salter, Adviser


Experiential EducationBuild Connections& Explore Beliefs

Shabbat Dinner

Attend Shabbat dinners at the Abbe Center for Jewish Life or explore various faiths through the Office for Spiritual Engagement.

At Hobart and William Smith, learning goes beyond textbooks and classrooms. You’ll gain high-impact practical experience that deepens learning and opens doors.


No Borders:Global Education

Explore religion’s influence on cuisine in Argentina or multiculturalism in the Czech Republic.

Hear the stories and visit monuments, museums and memorials of the Holocaust in Germany and Poland through The March: Bearing Witness to Hope.

Wherever you go, our top-ranked global education program will allow you to apply classroom knowledge, develop cultural understanding and build global connections that expand your personal capacity and sense of purpose




Gain insight into faith, religious texts and how religion shapes people – and people shape religion.

REL 109 – Imagining American Religion(s)

Explore the question: what does it mean to imagine an American religion?

Rel 211 - Buddhism

Discover the rise and historical development of Buddhism in South Asia and its spread into Southeast, Central and East Asia. 

REL 279 – Torah and Testament

Become familiar with central texts of Jewish and Christian traditions and key methods of reading and interpreting those texts.

REL 286 – Islam and Environment

Learn key concepts in Islamic environmental ethics, Muslim responses to environmental catastrophes, and the link between local and global forces in Islamic societies and their impacts on environment.


Alum Impact

alyssa capuano '21 

Majors: Religious Studies and Psychology
Minors: Education and Asian Studies  

"Whether we are born into a religious family or not, religion shapes our lives. It influences our views, morals and actions, and is a foundation in our encounters with others, shaping our culture. Understanding the many religions of the world and how they merge, we can better comprehend the human psyche and realize that the majority of people are looking for the same things and work to find solutions to current events. Religion truly plays a part in all life subjects."

Companies That Employ Our graduates

  • All Kids Count
  • Bard College
  • Getty Images
  • Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington
  • National Geographic
  • NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services
  • Peace Corps
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • University of California - Davis
  • University of Southern California
  • Wesleyan University  

universities where our graduates are studying

    • Columbia University
    • Duke University's Divinity School
    • Emory University
    • Loyola University School of Law
    • Xavier University
    • Syracuse University Law School
    • University of California - Berkeley
    • University of Chicago Divinity School
    • University of Connecticut
    • University of Michigan Law School
    • Yale Divinity School