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. Find out about upcoming events

Trinity Newman Library collection

The Trinity Newman library is a small, dedicated collection of books and reference works in the fields of Christian theology, history and ethics, and in Christian studies generally. It was established in 2005 with a grant from the Trinity Newman Foundation. Housed in beautiful glass door cabinets in the Religious Studies Library in 14 Kelburn Parade, the books are available for use by staff and students, and may be borrowed with permission from the programme administrator. Members of the wider community are also welcome to use the library.