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Mission and Learning Goals

Siena Hall domeThe principal aim of the Religious Studies Department is to help students at Siena understand and appreciate the meanings and roles of religion in human culture. The academic investigation of religion is a component of a liberal arts education and clearly has an important function at a college sustained by the Franciscan tradition.

The Department presents in its courses a critical study and appreciation of the various religious traditions of the world. Through this approach to Religious Studies, the Department provides students with an opportunity to explore the significance of human existence in its relation to the sacred, and alerts them to the importance of religious beliefs and practices in the political, social, aesthetic, and economic arenas.

Our courses are designed for all students, regardless of their personal religious stance, and approach religious experience from cross-cultural, multidisciplinary and global perspectives.

Learning Goals

The Department has adopted the following learning goals for students who are majoring or minoring in Religious Studies:

At the end of their program in Religious Studies, our majors and minors should be able to

  • describe the meanings and roles of religion in human culture.
  • explain the significance of human existence in its relation to the sacred and the various religious traditions of the world.
  • identify and analyze the historical and contemporary variety that exists both within a specific religion and among the various world religions.
  • evaluate the importance of religious beliefs and practices in the political, social, aesthetic, and economic arenas.


These goals are also relevant for students who take our courses as core requirements or electives.

COMING events

    On Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. in Sarazen Student Union 243, Sr. Nancy Kehoe, RSCJ, Ph.D., will lecture on the topic "Wrestling with our Inner Angels: Spirituality and Mental Illness." The event is co-sponsored by the Consultation Center of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and Siena College’s Social Work Department, Psychology Department, Franciscan Center for Catholic Studies and Office of the Chaplain. All are welcome. For more information, contact Dr. Carla Sofka of Siena's Social Work Department. - See more at: http://webdev.siena.edu/academics/schools-departments/departments/religious-studies/religious-studies-department-coming-events/#sthash.NILM7Ok9.dpuf
    On Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. in Sarazen Student Union 243, Sr. Nancy Kehoe, RSCJ, Ph.D., will lecture on the topic "Wrestling with our Inner Angels: Spirituality and Mental Illness." The event is co-sponsored by the Consultation Center of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and Siena College’s Social Work Department, Psychology Department, Franciscan Center for Catholic Studies and Office of the Chaplain. All are welcome. For more information, contact Dr. Carla Sofka of Siena's Social Work Department. - See more at: http://webdev.siena.edu/academics/schools-departments/departments/religious-studies/religious-studies-department-coming-events/#sthash.NILM7Ok9.dpuf
  • On Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. in Sarazen 243, the Hayyim and Esther Kieval Institute for Jewish-Christian Studies will sponsor the Eighth Annual Town of Colonie Jewish Association Lecture. Fr. Dennis Tamburello, O.F.M., Professor of Religious Studies at Siena College, will speak on the topic "Interfaith Adventures in Israel."
  • On Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. in Sarazen Student Union 243, Sr. Nancy Kehoe, RSCJ, Ph.D., will lecture on the topic "Wrestling with our Inner Angels: Spirituality and Mental Illness." The event is co-sponsored by the Consultation Center of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and Siena College’s Social Work Department, Psychology Department, Franciscan Center for Catholic Studies and Office of the Chaplain. All are welcome. For more information, contact Dr. Carla Sofka of Siena's Social Work Department. - See more at: http://webdev.siena.edu/academics/schools-departments/departments/religious-studies/religious-studies-department-coming-events/#sthash.NILM7Ok9.dpuf

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