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At Defiance College, religious studies seeks to understand not only historic and contemporary religious ideas, values, and practices within Christianity and other religious traditions, but also religion’s role in shaping society’s moral, political, and cultural practices. Professors encourage student growth within a biblically- and historically-grounded ecumenical Christian tradition. They invite open inquiry, dialogue, and sharing in an environment that values people from different religious and cultural traditions.

Religious StudiesStudents question what things mean, explore differing views, study relevant archaeology and anthropology topics, and consider ways to address the world’s problems. They explore vocation and career choices through opportunities that enrich their leadership skills, further their understanding of peace, justice and inter-religious issues, and develop their personal and spiritual lives.

The religious studies major provides pre-professional as well as graduate school preparation through an excellent overview of important theories, methods, and areas of study in the field. Students who are thinking of attending seminary should consult with the faculty in religious studies for planning to achieve their personal goals. In addition, DC’s religious studies students benefit from professional networks of scholars, practitioners, and clergy.

Student internships take place in a wide-range of religious institutions and agencies where students work with leaders to develop and nurture their vocational calling.

The religious studies major includes required courses in Bible, theology, church history, world religions, issues in 21st century religion, ethics and morals, field experience/internship, and a senior capstone. Optional coursework is available in spirituality and wholeness, special topics, and any of the courses listed in the ministry studies major. 

Benefits of the Program

  • Distinctive professional experiences with individual attention from faculty
  • Engagement with off-campus church and/or community organizations involved with social responsibility and justice initiatives, interfaith initiatives, and so forth
  • Meeting with recognized scholars and practitioners in critical thinking settings
  • Participation at professional conferences; opportunities to co-present with faculty
  • Trip opportunities to special museum exhibits, lectures, and seminars
  • Participation in special on-campus events such as Advent and Lenten lunch series, Ash Wednesday service, and development of a Community Interfaith Service for Peace and Understanding
  • Work with faculty on writing/publishing projects 

Related Programs
See also: Ministry Studies major 

Second Major
Students are able to creatively match a major in religious studies with a second major in order to reach their individual personal and career goals. Examples include: ministry studies, design, psychology, social work, and criminal justice.

Religious or Ministry Studies as a Minor
Both the religious and ministry studies program minors work well in tandem with other majors. Recent graduates and current students added religious or ministry studies minors to majors such as: criminal justice, English, exercise science, communication studies, social work, and psychology.

For further information, consult with your advisor and/or a member of the religion and ministry studies faculty.

After College — What’s Next?

Both the religious and ministry studies programs offer students the opportunity to explore their vocation and calling as faith community leaders, religious educators, and practitioners through two programs of study that allow for focus in:
- Religious studies
- Religion and service
- Church leadership
- Faith formation and Christian educational ministries
- Youth and family ministries
- Youth and recreation ministries

Graduate School
Seminaries and graduate schools attended by our graduates include Harvard, Eden, Lancaster, Andover-Newton, United of the Twin Cities, Chicago Theological Seminary, The University of Chicago, Yale Divinity School, The University of Dayton, United Theological Seminary of Dayton, The University of Denver, Loyola University, Methodist Theological School in Ohio, Christian Theological School Disciples of Christ, and Concordia Theological Seminary. 

Placements Rates
- 100% acceptance rate in theological school/seminary
- 100% placement rate in church education/faith formation and youth ministry positions
- 100% placement rate for church professionals in youth ministry, lay ministry, or director of Christian education

In Their Own Words
"The religious studies program at Defiance College is phenomenal! It is informative, challenging, and exciting. Dr. Marian Plant, and the rest of the professors that work in the religion department actually care about your education. It is truly refreshing to know they care so deeply about their students. Predominantly, my professor was Dr. Plant and there are few professors that can match her enthusiasm for religion or her 'joie de vivre.' It is said that the more you learn, the more you realize how little you know; however, I have found that Defiance College and the religious studies program has given me a wonderful advantage. Teaching me the history of the Bible and the regions surrounding it was a crucial leg up. I did not realize at the time how essential the terminology I learned was, but without it I would have been very lost in my theological studies. With the help of the religious studies program, I feel knowledgeable and confident while I further my education. I can say, without a doubt, I have never felt so proud of anything in my life. I am proud of my education and I am proud to call Defiance College my alma mater."
--Stephany Blackston, 2014 Graduate


Marian R. Plant, Ed.D.
Professor of Religious and Ministry Studies
Schauffler Chair of Christian Education
Phone: 419-783-2338

Janice Bechtel
Adjunct Instructor


Jeffrey Lauer
Adjunct Instructor