The Concentration in Religion and Public Engagement provides an opportunity for students to:

1)      Explore the intersection of religion and public life

2)      Engage in public work through community-based research, service-learning, and internships.


RPE fosters competence in public engagement in reciprocal collaboration with diverse communities regionally, nationally, and globally for educational, economic, cultural and political development.


RPE facilitates student and community development consistent with internationally accepted standards of human rights and the highest standards of teaching, research, and collaboration.

RPE Required Courses:

Core Course (1)
1. REL 332. Religion and Public Engagement.  (3h)Examines the interface between religious communities and the public sphere, and the potential for social change in contemporary global and local contexts through a range of readings, guest lectures, field trips, and films. Traditions and emphasis may vary with instructor.

Method or Theory Course (1)
1. REL 200. Approaches to the Study of Religion. (3h) – Explores the history of and methodological re-sources for the study of religion. Focus may vary with instructor, but the emphasis is on the ways religion has been defined, studied, and interpreted over the last several centuries.

2. REL 305. Ethnography of Religion. (3h) – Study of theory and method in ethnography of religion where students closely read ethnographies from a variety of cultures and discuss the practical, methodological, and ethical issues related to ethnography. Course culminates with students researching and writing their own ethnographies. (CD)

3. REL 336. Religious Traditions and Human Rights. (3h) – Study of relationships and tensions between religious traditions and human rights, with illustrations from historical and contemporary issues and movements.

4. REL 338. Religion, Ethics, and Politics. (3h) – Examines ethical issues in religion and politics using materials from a variety of sources and historical periods.

Elective Courses (2)
The elective courses can be chosen from the Department of Religion or other departments and programs with approval of the RPE committee.

A supervised internship with approved community partner for a total of one semester or one full summer (3h). The internship includes assigned readings, a sustained research and writing portfolio, and an oral presentation.

REL 288. Field Program in Religion and Public Engagement (1-3h).