An understanding of religion is essential to a true comprehension of human culture, world history, global politics, and international conflict—not to mention the worldviews of billions of people.

The Religion Department at Middlebury seeks to acquaint students with the world’s major religious traditions, with varieties of global religious experience, and with religious approaches to a broad range of topics and questions.

We emphasize the study of individual religious traditions, because we hold that a solid understanding of one is crucial for developing an appreciation for other traditions and for religion as a fundamental human experience. We also maintain, however, that it is important for students to have experience with comparative approaches to the study of religion.

A religion student at work in the library.

Why Study Religion?

Are you interested in how religious traditions have shaped, enhanced, hindered, and otherwise influenced human civilizations and cultures? Our curriculum strives to balance intellectual immersion in the thought and history of distinct traditions with comparative analysis across multiple religions. Explore the major.


Our courses invite students to immerse themselves in the rich and varied texts and traditions of Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Taoism (among others). They also challenge students to see the complex relationship these religions have had with each other in the arenas of politics, morality, and culture in the United States and the world.

Religious studies is a vital component to liberal arts education in today’s world, and the Religion department actively contributes to interdisciplinary programs at Middlebury like American Studies, Environmental Studies, Women and Gender Studies, and International Studies.

Our Alumni

A major in religion is an excellent foundation from which to pursue training and careers in medicine, law, education, business, religious leadership, and journalism. Middlebury alumni who majored in religion have been accepted into prestigious schools in each of these fields, as well as into the best programs in religious studies in the U.S. and Europe.

Because of its interdisciplinary nature, as well as its focus on critical reading and thinking, a religion major at Middlebury College is quintessential liberal arts education—superb intellectual preparation for an endless variety of career and life pursuits.

Read more about Our Alumni.

Upcoming Events

  • Laura Nasrallah:Speaking in/of Tongues: Ancient Christianity, South Korean Pentecostalism & Poetry of M. NourbeSe Philip

    According to a letter from the apostle Paul, Christ-followers in the Roman colonial town of Corinth in the midst of assembly were speaking in tongues which no one could understand. This talk is an experiment, bringing together recent analyses of speaking in tongues or glossolalia in South Korea (Nicholas Harkness) with a critique of the violence of language by Afro-Caribbean poet M. NourbeSe Philip.

    Franklin Environmental Center, The Orchard-Hillcrest 103

    Open to the Public
  • The Sexual Politics of Empire: Postcolonial Homophobia in Haiti

    Erin Durban, a scholar of queer anthropology, will discuss their book The Sexual Politics of Empire: Postcolonial Homophobia in Haiti. Evangelical Christians and members of the global LGBTQI human rights movement have vied for influence in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake. Each side accuses the other of serving foreign interests. Yet each proposes future foreign interventions on behalf of their respective causes despite the country’s traumatic past with European colonialism and American imperialism. As Durban shows, two discourses dominate discussions of intervention.

    Axinn Center Abernethy Room (221)

    Open to the Public
  • Queer Anthropology: A Dialogue

    Erin Durban and Lucinda Ramberg, two feminist, queer, postcolonial scholars, will have a conversation about queer anthropology: What does it mean to queer anthropology? How can we do anthropology, as well as ethnographic methods more broadly, in a queer way and for queer purposes?

    Axinn Center Abernethy Room (221)

    Open to the Public

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