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Religion

Students gain perspective on the religious, theological and ethical issues of human life.

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Augustana offers a major and minor in religion, as well as a pre-seminary advising program.

Careers and internships

As a church-related but non-sectarian college, Augustana has a long and rich history of preparing students for entrance into seminaries and divinity schools to pursue careers in ordained ministry and other church leadership.

Augustana’s graduates of religion also pursue careers in medicine, law or public policy, social work, education, business administration, international relations, politics and public relations, non-profits and non-governmental organizations. Many religion majors do a service-oriented "gap year" after graduation (e.g., Young Adults in Global Mission, Lutheran Volunteer Corps, Peace Corps, etc.) to hone their skills and further reflect on their emerging vocations. (More about career fields)

A sampling of graduates

Jenelle Kreiling '11 is an economic development specialist at Clinton Regional Development Corporation.

John Joyce '14 is the area representative at Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Kristen Skvarenina '12 is a Spanish and religion teacher at St. Monica Academy, Chicago.

Allyson Frueh '14 is a staff associate at Young Life.

James Dicken '08 is assistant men's lacrosse coach and associate director of wellness at Centenary College of Louisiana.

Courtney Bruntz '06 is a visiting assistant professor of Buddhist Studies at Oregon State University.

Distinctions

holden village
Students at Holden Village, a Lutheran wilderness retreat center in Washington.

Augustana offers a 28-credit major in religion, an 18-credit minor in religion, and a pre-seminary advising program.

As in other pre-professional studies, pre-seminary students complete requirements for the bachelor of arts before applying to seminary or divinity schools. These schools look for a strong liberal arts background including coursework in religion, philosophy, English, music, Greek, sociology and other disciplines. Augustana pre-seminary students usually major in religion.

The college also offers a related minor in ethics, with a curriculum and faculty based in religion and philosophy, and a minor in Greek for New Testament studies, based in the classics department.

Augustana’s liberal arts environment is ideal for religious studies. Courses in the department also connect to the college’s programs in Africana studies, anthropology, Asian studies, business, classics, education, pre-medicine, music, and women’s and gender studies.

Students of religion gain perspective on the religious, theological and ethical issues of human life. They learn about religious meanings, practices and beliefs, and the questions of existence and values found in diverse traditions.

Facts and distinctions

Augustana's liberal arts environment is ideal for religious studies. Courses in the department connect to the college's programs in Africana studies, anthropology, Asian studies, business, classics, education, pre-medicine, music, and women's and gender studies.

Affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Augustana welcomes all faiths. The broad range of religious thought on campus is reflected in its many student groups, which include the Catholic Organization for Religious Experience, Hillel (Jewish student group), the Muslim Student Organization, and Interfaith Understanding.

The size and diversity of the Quad Cities are an advantage, offering access to communities representing all of the world’s primary faith traditions, and opportunities for out-of-class service learning, such as tutoring, leading youth groups or activities, and working with social organizations.

Augustana’s many and far-ranging study-away programs include the religion course Faiths in Dialogue, which spends two weeks in Rome and Vatican City, and a five-week program in Holden Village, a remote religious community in the Cascade Mountains of Washington. At Holden, students study religion, ecology and U.S. history. Students generally use their Augie Choice $2,000 for study-away travel expenses, research or an internship.

What students say

icky Gillon '16, religion and sociology, 
In master of divinity program at Union Theological Seminary, New York City

"Out all of the schools I visited, I remember the people at Augie being especially warm and welcoming. The small class sizes as well as the potential to form lasting relationships with faculty and staff members were important factors in making my decision. Dr. Mahn and Dr. Morris in the religion department have been awesome mentors, especially in my discernment process on life after I graduate. These individuals have not just been great academic advisors, but also wonderful life coaches and great friends. Four years ago, I thought I would be on my way to graduate school for school psychology. However, being a part of Interfaith Understanding my first year really changed the course of my college education. I began to become more interested in faith, religion and different cultures. My sociology and religion majors have allowed me to think critically about the society that I live in."

Meagan Murphy ’15, major in religion, minor in women’s and gender studies
Giving a year of service to the Lutheran Volunteer Corps

"I never thought I would end up at Augustana. I transferred here and couldn’t be happier about my decision. I feel at home here. But I also feel like I have been challenged in a way I never thought I would be. I am so blessed with the family that I have found here in Augie’s students, professors, coaches and mentors. It will forever be my second home."

Saad Hassan Baig ’15, religion major
Graduate student in clinical counseling, Western Illinois University; Imam at the Islamic Center of the Quad Cities

"I chose Augustana because of its excellent reputation and highly qualified faculty. As a religious leader in the Quad-Cities, I visited Augustana frequently for presentations. I found it to be very inviting and a great environment in which to learn. Its small class sizes allowed for easy interaction with classmates and teachers. I am very grateful to have had this opportunity to learn at this prestigious college."

Sarah DuRocher ’14, religion and political science
Graduate assistant at Education Systems Center, Chicago

"I was fortunate enough to build lasting relationships with some of Augie’s most profound professors. The religion and political science departments in general were incredible places for support. My professors challenged and motivated me, while the friends I made would be the cornerstone for my adventures and individual growth. I honestly found surprises every day, but personally I found my love of education — for the sake of education — to grow unlike it had ever had before. I consistently found myself connecting ways that a liberal arts education prepared me for so much more than a career or further study. I never thought I would like change or like to be challenged, but this well-rounded foundation for life opened within me a thirst for adventure that can never be quenched."

Frieze Lectures look at Reformation starting Oct. 24

The Frieze Lecture Series is a 20-year partnership between the Rock Island Public Library and Augustana College. This year's theme is the legacy of the Reformation in this its 500th anniversary year.

mural wall sitters

Faith and filmmaking lead to new programs

Starting this fall, students can complete certificates in Entertainment & Media Industries and Interreligious Leadership. 

Zohra Sarwari

Augustana to host speaker for talks about Islam

Augustana College will host internationally renowned author and speaker Zohra Sarwari for two events on April 19 and 20. She will present “No, I am Not a Terrorist” on Wednesday, April 19 at 7 p.m., and “Are Muslim Women Oppressed” on Thursday, April 20 at 10:30 a.m. Both events, which are free and open to the public, will take place in Wallenberg Hall.

Frieze Lecture: Dr. Jason Mahn, "The Intellectual Legacy of the Reformation"

Dr. Jason Mahn, associate professor of religion at Augustana, will speak on the intellectual legacy of the Reformation. His is the first talk in the annual Frieze Lectures series. This year's lecture series will examine the Reformation, as it is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.