Religious studies becomes new major at Georgia Southern

Emma Smith

In addition to the new academic buildings coming to campus soon, Georgia Southern University has also added a new major into the mix.

Effective this semester, students now have the option to major in philosophy with a religious studies concentration. Until now, religious studies was only available as a minor.

According to Daniel Pioske, a professor in the philosophy and religious studies department, religion is a very popular minor here, so he expects a fair turnout for the number of religion majors come advisement time.

“This is the first time it will be possible for anyone to sign up for this major,” Pioske said. “I don’t know how many students we’ll have, but we’ll definitely have some. We won’t have numbers until spring time.”

Expanding Religious Studies

The religious studies program at GS is relatively new, roughly 15 years old, according to Pioske. There were originally none, but after Hemchand Gossai, the school’s first religious studies professor, was hired interest in the topic grew among students and professors until it became a minor and eventually a major.

“We now have four full time religious studies professors and with that kind of increase in demand, we were like, ‘why don’t we try this out, because students want it,’” Pioske said.

Religious studies majors will be required to take a handful of philosophy classes, which will lie heavily on the religious spectrum for the most part. As usual, the students will have to earn a minimum grade of “C” in their required philosophy courses to graduate with the major.

Pioske also says that students can do just about everything in their future careers with a degree in religion.

“You would be able to get any career that you would apply a humanities degree to,” Pioske said. “Obviously you’re not going to become a neurosurgeon, but businesses want religious studies folks because having a sense of the religious background in other parts of the world is really important.”

GS takes on religion

Miranda Swaim, senior communications major, also thinks this new major could end up being a turning point for students interested in the religious field of study.

“I think the department will gain more momentum,” Swaim said. “I wanted to major in religion when I entered college but couldn’t because Southern didn’t offer it. I’m excited to see the major being offered now.”

If a religious studies major might be something you are interested in, more information can be found here. You can also contact the Center for Religious Studies at (912) 478-0222.