Religion and philosophy majors typically choose one of two paths: one to seminary, church-related vocations or graduate school, and the other to bring greater meaning and purpose to another field with ethical and analytical skills, and widened perspectives. Field experiences and internships in congregations, camps, nursing homes, social ministry organizations and nonprofit service agencies offer academic credit.

May Term courses led by religion faculty travel to Tanzania, Turkey, Israel, Palestine, South Africa, Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Germany, as well as an urban ministry in metropolitan Denver, Colo.

Undergraduate research experiences in religion and philosophy can lead to conference presentations and publications.

The department offers courses in:

  • Biblical Greek
  • Biblical Hebrew
  • Majors, Minors, and Concentrations


    Theta Alpha Kappa
    Theta Alpha Kappa is a national honor society for theology and religious studies. Founded in 1976 at Manhattan College in Riverdale (the Bronx) New York, Theta Alpha Kappa is the only national honor society serving the needs of those involved in the study of religion and/or theology at both the baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate levels of higher education. Honoring excellence in these academic fields is its primary purpose, and it currently hosts over 200 local chapters throughout the United States at institutions both large and small, public and private. Membership is open to students of any major. However, undergraduate students must have:

    1. completed at least three semesters (or five quarters) at an institution having a local chapter in good standing,
    2. completed a minimum of twelve (12) semester credits (or eighteen quarter credits) in courses representing Religious Studies or Theological Studies,
    3. attained a grade point average of at least 3.5 (B+) in such courses,
    4. attained at least a 3.0 grade point average (or B) in their total academic program to date, and
    5. been ranked in at least the upper 35% of their class in general scholarship at the time of induction.

    Philosophical and Literary Society
    Open to all students interested in issues associated with philosophy and literature.

    Campus Ministry
    Includes numerous programs including outreach, dramatic, publication and music groups.

    Alumni Outcomes

    Wartburg graduates find satisfying jobs and are admitted into top graduate and professional schools. Wartburg alumni can be found in all 50 U.S. states and over 70 foreign countries. Below is only a sample of the types of positions Wartburg graduates from the Religion and Philosophy Department have had in the past.

    Sample of Alumni Positions from the Past Five Years:

    • Youth/Child/Family Ministry Assistant, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Cedar Falls
    • Director of Student Ministries, Grand View University, Des Moines
    • Graduate Student – Master of Divinity, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.
    • Intern Pastor, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Stillwater, Minn.
    • Pastor, Zion Lutheran Church, Princeton

    Sample Stand-out Alumni Positions:

    • Associate Professor, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Huntington, W.V.
    • Camp Director, Sugar Creek Bible Camp, Ferryville, Wis.
    • Program Manager, Gretna Glen Camp and Retreat Center, Lebanon, Pa.
    • Research Associate, American Association for Palestinian Equality, Washington, D.C.

    Sample of Alumni Positions from the Past 15 Years:

    • Assistant Director of Conflict Resolution Program, The Carter Center, Atlanta, Ga.
    • Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn.
    • Enrollment Specialist/Program Director, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dean County, Madison, Wis.
    • Director of Youth Ministry, Comm
    • English Teacher, Amity Foundation, Janjing, Jiangsu, China
    • Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Forest City
    • Graduate Student – Princeton Theological Seminary


    Brian Beckstrom

    Dean of Spiritual Life/Moehlmann Chaplaincy Chair

    Abbylynn Helgevold

    Assistant Professor of Religion

    Caryn Riswold

    Professor of Religion/McCoy Family Distinguished Chair in Lutheran Heritage and Mission

    Justin Jeffcoat Schedtler

    Assistant Professor of Religion

    Kunihiko Terasawa

    Associate Professor of Religion

    Kristin Wendland

    Assistant Professor of Religion