Prayer flags against a blue sky.

Religious Studies

Discover the many different ways in which humanity has understood and practiced their religions, and how influential these remain for shaping our world today.

Religious Studies provides expansive, critical and rigorous knowledge of the world’s religions. Such knowledge is increasingly necessary to navigate changing global political and economic contexts, as well as for learning how to appreciate our neighbours down the street.

One of the largest programmes of its kind in Australasia, Religious Studies at Victoria University of Wellington focuses on what makes religion relevant today. We study religions in their interactions with politics and society, morality and ethics, and in the shaping of human imagination and experience.

Religious Studies staff teach and research on the big issues of human existence—from evil and salvation, violence and peace, environmental crisis and mortality, to the politics of ethical action. You’ll learn about ideas, beliefs and practices in a range of religions using a variety of methods.

Our 100-level courses introduce students to religious traditions, influential ideas about religion, and the roles religion plays in the contemporary world. We explore major religious traditions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, alongside other and lesser known traditions. You’ll also consider atheism and emerging forms of spirituality.

200-level and 300-level courses focus on important themes in the study of religion, including salvation, death, community, politics, ecology, and the interpretation of religious texts. Students go deeper in the study of particular traditions, and also engage with more advanced debates about the nature of religion and how to study it.

Events and seminars

The Religious Studies programme hosts a rich calendar of events, offering opportunities to hear from leading international scholars and learn about the latest Religious Studies research. This includes a regular seminar series and the St John's Visiting Scholar public lectures, as well as conferences and workshops.

Over 2020-2022 the Religious Studies Programme celebrated their 50th anniversary. This was marked by a series of events and the establishment of two scholarships.

Sign up to our Religious Studies mailing list to to hear about upcoming events and news, or visit our School events page to see all upcoming events in the School of Social and Cultural Studies.