Religious Studies

Explore the fundamental beliefs that bind us — and divide us

Who or what is the divine? What does it mean to be human? How do spiritual beliefs shape our world? In this program, you’ll examine how religions have influenced politics, economics, culture, art, science, and society throughout history — and continue to do so today.

Tailor your degree to your passions. We offer more than 100 undergraduate courses covering the religions of the world, Jewish studies, Christian traditions, and religious culture and society. Thanks to strong links with the Department of Religion and Culture at neighbouring Wilfrid Laurier University, you’ll have access to even more learning opportunities.

You’ll graduate equipped with the multicultural understanding, critical thinking skills, and historical knowledge to succeed in a variety of careers. And, if you take the co-op stream, up to two years of work experience on your resume.

An open book.

Get serious work experience

Explore careers and earn money to pay for school by completing four optional co-op work terms – and graduate 20 months of career-building work experience.

Visit holy sites in India

Round off your degree with a four-month guided trek across India to visit ashrams and other holy centres.


icon of the globeInternational exchanges in 25 countries

briefcaseAvailable as a co-op and regular program

icon of open bookAvailable as a major and minor



Apply to Honours Arts or Honours Arts and Business and choose Religious Studies as your major at the end of first year.

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First-year courses

September to December

  • RS 110 - Religions of the West
  • Arts First requirement 1*
  • Three additional courses

January to April

  • RS 100 - Religions of Asia
  • Arts First requirement 2*
  • Three additional courses

*The Arts First requirement consists of two first-year courses that are capped at 25 students: ARTS 130 - Inquiry and Communication and ARTS 140 - Information and Analysis. Instead of listening to a lecture and trying to capture notes, Arts First courses will have you and your classmates working together to respond to a challenge posed by the instructor.

After your degree

40% of the classes you’ll take will be Religious Studies courses. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo.

Sample upper-year courses 

RS 220 – World Religions and Politics
RS 266 – Death and Dying
RS 325 – Sex and the World Religions
RS 370 – Atheism, Skepticism, and Free Thought
RS 420R – Critical Encounter with Human Nature


icon of network of peopleOffered by the Faculty of Arts

Graduation capEarn a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies


Co-op = relevant paid work experience

By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your degree, you can explore new career areas and types of employers as your career interests evolve.

Sample co-op job titles

  • Internship programme
  • Technical analyst
  • Junior risk officer
  • English facilitation assistant
  • Business coordinator

Customize your Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies degree

You can add additional areas of expertise by including one or more of the minors available to all Waterloo students.

What can you do with a degree in Religious Studies?

Waterloo Religious Studies graduates commonly pursue careers as pastors, youth ministers, teachers, life coordinators, and facilitators. They work in churches, schools, hospitals, and child care services.

Recent graduates

  • Development Officer – St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation of London
  • Teacher – Durham Catholic District School Board
  • Executive Assistant – Good Samaritan Hospital
  • Minister – Anglican Church of Canada
  • Kindergarten Teacher – Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board
  • Registered Early Childhood Educator – Owl Child Care Services of Ontario
  • Administrative Assistant – St. Francis of Assisi Church

Learn about the future of careers in arts, humanities, social sciences, languages, and creative arts.

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