- About the Department

The Department of Religious Studies seeks to inquire into the true faces of religion. Subject studied include the faith and form, structure and function of religions situated in various cultural contexts and societies at various periods in history, as well as their myths, rituals, symbols and world-views. The study of religion entails the consideration of both the composite nature and the universal character of religious phenomena, which in turn fosters an understanding of other's religious cultures as well as that of one's own. Those engaged in the study of religion do not seek to defend the beliefs of particular religions. Rather, they suspend all normative judgment on religion and attempt to record, analyze and interpret innate human religiosity and their forms of expression. Thus religious studies is a humanistic discipline which views religion as a reality to be studied objectively. Given-that religion has the power to move individuals and communities and is a force for dynamism in human life, the study of religion is bound to contribute to human self-understanding and development. Religion has always changed appearance in accordance with the times, and takes different forms according to change in socio-political structure, the particular traits of a people, geographical conditions, cultural traditions, social class and even styles of individuals. The study of religion takes all these factors into consideration. Therefore the study of religion is an appropriate discipline not only for those with an intellectual interest in religion, but also for those who are earnestly drawn to questions concerning history, culture and society, regardless of their religious affiliation.

Student extra-curricular activities within the department revolve around the Department of Religious Studies Students Association and various academic societies. The students association is vigorous in its defence and promotion of student autonomy, and is responsible for organizing events such as freshman orientation, alumni night, departmental sports festival, volunteer work in farms, and field trips. It also serves as the forum for the exchange of views between junior and senior students and coordinates student opinion on a diverse range of subjects. The academic societies were formed as a response to the demands of students of the department for a deeper and more through inquiry into diverse academic subjects. There are three notable academic societies that have been in existence for more than ten years : the philosophical society, the literature society, and the religion society. The student association and the academic societies played a pivotal role in the creation and subsequent operation of the Korean University Religion Majors Union, which has served as a lively arena for debate on salient religious issues. The departmental student groups have also played host to the second cultural festival and academic conference held in the name of Union. Student activities in the department have always kept in sight the importance of fostering a community spirit among its members, and of keeping the line of communication open with others in the field. Graduates either go on to further studies in graduate school or serve in religious circles. Many graduates also find employment in journalism and the cultural sphere. In an increasingly pluralistic world, those imbued with a deep understanding of culture and humanity are urgently needed in all fields.

Choi, Jong-Seong
Chair, Department of Religious Studies