Photo of the United States capitol building

New online degree explores the idea of church and state

By

Rachel Bunning

Arizona State University's School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies’ new religious studies bachelor’s degree concentration in religion, politics and global affairs is now available as an online degree.

“We decided to launch the concentration online after witnessing the online success of our other bachelor’s concentration in religion, culture and public life,” said Leah Sarat, religious studies professor and faculty head.

The degree covers a long list of interests for students looking to broaden their global knowledge. It’s the perfect degree for students wanting to explore the human experience in a new way.

“This degree is more focused on the ‘macro’ picture, looking at how religion has impacted regional and international politics, shaped public policy and influenced health care or responses to climate change, among other things,” said Jason Bruner, associate professor of religious studies. “This program also illuminates the ways religion has affected conflicts as well as provided resources for peacebuilding. We think this degree is well suited for students who have interests in humanitarianism, nonprofit work, journalism and public service.”

Online religious studies majors now outnumber the number of on-ground majors, and the school wanted to offer the concentration for those students.

“The online format helps students in a number of ways,” said Peter Van Cleave, clinical assistant professor of history and director of online programs. “It is accessible, flexible and adaptable to meet the needs of the 21st-century learner. But more importantly, here in (the school) and amongst the religious studies faculty, it isn't just that online students receive the same degree, they receive the same experiences and opportunities as immersion students.”

Students from all over the world and of all ages can now enroll in the degree program meant to give students the tools to discuss difficult topics.

“It allows current and future ASU online students to work closely with our full-time, Tempe campus faculty on topics ranging from religious nationalism to the intersections of faith and the global environmental crisis,” said Matthew Casey, clinical assistant professor of history and assistant director of online programs.

Students can take classes in religions around the world, sustainability and religion, religion ethics and international politics, war and peace, Islam and world affairs, violence and America, and more.

Learn more about the degree or apply.