Student speaking to an audience with a PowerPoint presentation behind her

The Department of Comparative Religion is relatively small, with a few dozen majors and minors. This gives you greater opportunities, compared to a larger department, to work one-on-one with faculty—either assisting with the faculty's research or developing your own research projects.

Some past student projects:

A member of the Westboro Baptist Church holds up signs with confrontational religious messagesSeveral students have joined professor Hillel Gray on study-away trips to Kansas and New York as part of the Empathy and the Religious "Enemy" project. The students met members of two controversial religious groups—Westboro Baptist Church and Neturei Karta—and recorded video interviews with them.


Officials from the Defense Department and the PentagonSarah Manning, a double-major in religion and international studies, wrote a senior thesis, mentored by professor Nathan French, in which she critiqued the decision-making process of U.S. government officials that led to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Sarah advocated a new national security strategy that includes civilian expertise in areas like anthropology and religious studies.


Closeup of a photo of Nidal Hasan in his US military uniformKatie Poppe, a double-major in religion and history, researched the religious worldview of Nidal Hasan, a Palestinian-American sentenced to death for a mass shooting at Fort Hood in 2009. With mentoring from professor Nathan French, Katie developed her research into a paper, which she read at a professional conference; she later published her work on this subject.


Soldiers carrying and saluting US flagsJackie Wagner, a double-major in religion and zoology, conducted survey interviews to explore individuals' personal understandings of patriotism, conceived as a form of "civil religion." Jackie carried out this research as an Undergraduate Summer Scholar, to contribute to a then ongoing discussion about creating a memorial to four Miami University alumni who were killed in the 9/11 attacks.


Photo credits

Westboro Baptist Church picketer by Flickr user Everfalling, licensed under CC BY 2.0; cropped from original.

Donald Rumsfeld Tommy Franks.jpg by Helene C. Stikkel, from Wikimedia Commons, public domain; cropped from original.

Nidal Hasan.jpg by Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, from Wikimedia Commons, public domain; cropped from original.

Oregon National Guard by Flickr user The National Guard, licensed under CC BY 2.0; cropped from original.