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Students from the "Prayer, Community and Transformation" class service-learning overnight trip to the New Hope Catholic Worker's Farm near Dubuque.
  • Careers/internships
  • About the program
  • What students say

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.

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..

Vicky 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."

The Rev. Eric C. Fistler '03, religion and philosophy, minor in classics
Pastor, Suffield Congregational Church, West Suffield, Conn.

"My experience as a religion major at Augustana opened so many doors for me. It prepared me for the classes and challenges of seminary and continues to serve me in my ministry as a local church pastor. Augustana introduced me to the Holy Land and led me to become an active peacemaker there working on the ground with Israelis and Palestinians as part of the World Council of Churches and Church World Service. Augustana opened my eyes to those around me and led me to put theory and theology into practice, which in turn led me to be a founding member of Cathedral in the Night, an ecumenical street ministry."

"Augustana introduced me to new ways of using technology and social networking to reach out to fellow ministers and people of faith, which inspired me to co-host a weekly lectionary podcast that serves over 3,000 people each month. Most importantly, Augustana helped me explore my dreams, to build my faith and to better serve God and the world."

Lecture to discuss challenges of Nazi looted art

Dr. Jonathan Petropoulos will discuss the history of Nazi art looting and attempts to restore works to their owners in this year's Stone Lectureship in Judaism. 

Stewart discusses gender in the ancient world

Augustana's Dr. Eric Stewart, assistant professor of religion, talked about gender in the ancient world as a guest on the ROI Relevant or Irrelevant radio show. On the show, events of history are examined through the discussion of books, journal articles, papers and presentations. Then historians and history buffs ask the question, "What is relevant or irrelevant in today's world?"

Geifman Prize in Holocaust Studies 2016

The Geifman Prize in Holocaust Studies is an annual student competition, "Responses to the Holocaust," with awards up to $500. This is the 23rd year of the competition.