Online Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies – Religion, Politics and Global Affairs

When you pursue a bachelor’s degree in religious studies with a concentration in religion, politics and global affairs, you’ll explore how the study of religion has shaped the modern world. You’ll learn how religion influences political culture, communal formation, nationalism and citizenship in local and global contexts. You’ll also gain theoretical training and research skills. These will enable you to analyze the role religion has in shaping political values, social movements and communal norms.

What is religious studies?


Religious studies is rooted in the humanities and fosters an appreciation for how humans express themselves through religious beliefs, practices and traditions. The academic study of religion can illuminate the complex relationships between religion, social structures, political power and globalization.

What is religion? Religion is a social-cultural system that has an enduring impact on human community and identity. Religious traditions shape responses to global challenges, such as health, migration and the environment. Indigenous communities have used notions of sacred land and ritual space to secure land rights. Refugees, migrants and asylees have established new transnational networks of belonging and support through religious institutions. Faith-based nonprofit organizations are essential elements of public health in sub-Saharan Africa.

Many degrees in religion or religious studies focus on Christianity, with an emphasis upon preparation for Christian ministry. By comparison, Arizona State University’s religious studies degrees are global and comparative, examining multiple traditions, religions, practices and beliefs, including but not limited to Christianity. ASU also offers two concentrations: religion, culture and public life versus religion, politics and global affairs.

The religion, culture and public life concentration focuses on particular religious traditions, such as Buddhism, Islam and Christianity, as well as in-depth examinations of particular places and times. The religion, politics and global affairs concentration is more thematic and contemporary. This concentration examines broader political movements, international relations and ethical trends across societies.

What will I learn in religious studies?


The Bachelor of Arts in religious studies with a concentration in religion, politics and global affairs explores religion’s impact on all aspects of life. You’ll examine cultural diversity and investigate issues from different perspectives. Your coursework may cover a variety of themes, such as bodily norms, dietary practices and the rites marking life transitions.

Our religion, politics and global affairs concentration gives special consideration to the religious intersections of nationality, ethnicity, race, gender and other facets of human community and identity. You’ll gain an ability to articulate how religious communities, traditions and beliefs impact and are impacted by globalization and world events. You’ll also gain a capacity to observe religion’s complex roles in conflict, peacebuilding, health care and politics.

Program Field of Study
Bachelor of Arts
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Religious Studies
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Religious Studies – Religion, Politics and Global Affairs (BA)
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ASU instructor John Carlson lectures students on the study of religion.
Program Description Intro

Are you passionate about exploring how human beings have answered the “big questions” about life? What about combining philosophical and practical knowledge to understand today’s social problems? If so, the Bachelor of Arts in religious studies with a concentration in religion, politics and global affairs may be ideal for you.

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Courses in the religion, politics and global affairs concentration tend to focus on the modern world, addressing topics and issues in the 20th and 21st centuries. You’ll learn about religions around the world, such as African American religion, modern Buddhism and Islam. You’ll also take courses on nationalism, ethnic conflict and moral issues. Browse some featured courses below.

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College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Humanities and Social Sciences Programs
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Religious studies courses
Learn from experienced religious teachers and professionals

From Royal Society and American Academy fellows to Marshall and Barry Goldwater Scholarship recipients, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is home to prestigious students and faculty members. Religious studies faculty have received fellowships at the National Humanities Center and research grants from the ACLS, Luce Foundation, Templeton Religion Trust and National Endowment for the Humanities.

  • Fulbright American Scholars.
  • Guggenheim Fellows.
  • MacArthur Fellows.
  • Nobel laureates.
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Enroll in one of the leading schools in the study of religion and religious studies
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The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences takes a transdisciplinary approach to education with a vast spectrum of degrees in the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities. We inspire students to be socially aware critical thinkers and global citizens.

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currently enrolled students.

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million in research expenditures in 2018.

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interdisciplinary schools and departments.

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undergraduate degrees.

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graduate degrees.

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Top 20
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for humanities research, according to the National Science Foundation.

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Admission requirements for religious studies
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Major in the study of religion
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Does my religious studies major say 'online'?

No, Arizona State University’s diplomas don’t specify whether you earn your degree online or in person. All diplomas and transcripts simply say “Arizona State University.” That’s because ASU Online students learn from the same faculty and receive the same course content as in-person students receive.

Please note your diploma will state the degree you earn: Bachelor of Arts in religious studies. Your concentration in religion, politics and global affairs will not appear on your diploma, but it will be noted on your transcripts.

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