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.


August 20, 2015

The faculty of the Department of Religious Studies are unanimously in support of the graduate student movement for health care, tuition waivers, and respect. The Department will place no sanctions on those who participate in next week’s planned walkout.

May 4, 2015

Professor Dennis Kelley recently discussed Native American student enrollment at MU:

March 5, 2015

Samuel Stella and Rachel Koehn have been named the Chapman Scholars of Religion for 2015, and Nicole Formhals is 2015 recipient of the department's Community Service Scholarship. Congratulations!

January 16, 2015

Prof. Carrie Duncan’s article on Gender and Economics in Early Judaism is included in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Gender Studies (Oxford, 2014).

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Professor Signe Cohen will be presenting a talk for the MU Honors College's "Speaking of Culture" series on Sunday, September 20. The title of her talk is "Romancing the Robot: Humans, Machines, and Doomed Romance in Ancient Buddhist Robot Tales." This series is free and open to the public! The event takes place at Orr Street Studies, 106 Orr Street in downtown Columbia. More information here:

This year’s Paine Lecture Series has been announced!

October 16, 2015
Dr. Kelly E. Hayes, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University
“Intergalactic Space-Time Travelers: Envisioning the New Age in Brazil’s Valley of the Dawn”

November 6, 2015
Dr. Kathleen Kennedy, Associate Professor of English at Penn State Brandywine
“The Puzzle of Abbot Islip’s Book, Tudor Pop Music, and King Henry’s Lady Chapel”

March 2, 2016
Dr. Brannon Ingram, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Northwestern University
“Of Books and Bodies: Economies of Knowledge in Modern Islam”

March 11, 2016
Dr. John Schmalzbauer, Blanche Gorman Strong Chair in Protestant Studies in the Religious Studies Department at Missouri State University
“The Unsecular Campus: The Diversification of Student Religious Life in America”

All Paine Lectures are free and open to the public.

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