Richard J. Callahan, Jr., Chair

221 Arts & Science Building, Columbia, MO 65211-7090 / 573-882-4769


The Department of Religious Studies offers the undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree with a major or minor in Religious Studies, and the graduate Masters of Arts degree in Religious Studies.

Our faculty members have won prestigious awards for their excellence in teaching and advising. They are nationally and internationally recognized scholars in the academic study of religion. We have particular strengths in the following areas:

  • American Religious History
  • Native American Religions
  • Biblical studies
  • History of Christianity
  • Islam
  • Judaism
  • Religions of East Asia
  • Religions of South Asia
  • Religions of Indigenous peoples

The Department is particularly interested in the intersections of religion with neuroscience, popular culture, gender, class, and society. Our methods and approaches are multidisciplinary, combining textual, historical, sociological, anthropological, psychological, comparative, and cultural studies perspectives.

Donate to the Jill Raitt Opportunities for Excellence in Religious Studies Fund


April 6, 2017

On March 14th, 2017, the MU Religious Studies Department hosted a town hall forum open to all and aimed at discussing the recent spate of anti-Semitic and Islamophobic incidents on our campus. A formal survey was administered to all attendees, asking two questions: “What concerns or fears do you have regarding attitudes or acts of antisemitism and/or Islamophobia on this campus?” and “Please tell us what you would like to see from MU’s Administration in terms of effectively responding to the above.” See the results of the survey here: TOWN HALL SURVEY FINDINGS

March 8, 2017

Dr. Dan Cohen’s research is noted in this news release: Researchers Find Neurological Link Between Religious Experiences and Epilepsy

March 1, 2017

Department of Religious Studies Response to Recent Anti-Semitic Incidents

The faculty of the Department of Religious Studies is disturbed by the recent news that two MU students have been arrested on suspicion of ongoing harassment of another student with anti-Semitic taunts dating back to August. We learn of this on the heels of news that more than 150 headstones were damaged at the Chesed Shel Emeth Society cemetery in University City, MO, last week. And the same thing happened at another Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia over the past weekend. Meanwhile, nearly 100 bomb threats have been called in to Jewish institutions across the country over the past 60 days since the start of 2017.


Current News » Archive »


Kristina Buhrman, assistant professor of religion at Florida State University and a historian of Japanese religions will present "Invisible Eclipses: Prediction and Ritual in Medieval Japanese Astronomy." Burhman will present scientific and religious texts from medieval Japan and discuss how the prediction and interpretation of eclipses shaped religion and political culture. Her talk also explains what has happened historically if clouds obscured the sky during an eclipse in Japan. This talk will be held in Room 114 in the Arts and Science Building on August 22nd at 5:30. This event is free and open to the public.

Kent Brintall (Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies Program, UNC-Charlotte) will present "Forgetting Freud: The Drive for Religion" on April 28 at 4:00 pm in Room 102, Tate Hall. This will be free and open to the public. Brintnall is the author of Ecce Homo: The Male-Body-in-Pain as Redemptive Figure (University of Chicago Press).

On Thursday, April 6, Dr. Winnifred Fallers Sullivan of Indiana University will be delivering our 9th Annual Distinguished Lecture in Religion and Public Life. The title of her talk is “Death-Qualifying the Jury, Constituting the People." Free and open to the public at 7:30pm in Jesse Wrench Auditorium in Memorial Union.

More information here

A Time to Listen: Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and the Mizzou Community. The Department of Religious Studies will be hosting a Town Hall Forum on Tuesday, March 14, in A&S 113, starting at 6pm. Free and open to students, faculty, and the public. Please come by!

More information here

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