The specialisation in Religion and Society trains students in the social scientific (especially the anthropological and sociological) study of religion. It develops skills in social theory and research methods when dealing with contemporary and sociocultural aspects of religion and spirituality. It also exposes students to current social and cultural issues with regards to religion in Australia and in the world.
The specialisation will attract social scientists who want to research deeper questions on religion in society, or theologian or religious studies trainees wanting to develop their social scientific skills when dealing with the religious field. It can be appealing for, among many professionals, theologians from any faith trained locally and/or internationally who want to develop their skills in social scientific theories and research methods as part of a Masters by coursework; a training that is not currently available in Australia. The Masters is also a pathway for our students majoring in the scientific (especially the anthropological and sociological) study of religion to continue their studies.
Students will not only gain stronger qualifications in the social scientific study of society and religion, but will also gain new skills in social theory and research methodologies. They will also gain a stronger grasp on how to live in multifaith society and continue to make Australia a successful country. Religious students will gain a stronger understanding of their own faith and their community, as well as the faith of others, while non-religious students will gain stronger insights on the religious phenomenon through a sociocultural point of view.
Western Sydney University has a strong focus on the social scientific study of religion. While other degrees tend to focus on the comparative study and history of religions, or on theology and religious education, this degree gives a strong grounding and new skills in the social theory and social research methods when studying religion. This degree is unique in NSW in the sense that it provides people with new aptitudes in studying religion in a social world and religious professionals who want to understand the sociocultural aspects of their community.
Western Sydney University is at the heart of one of the most multifaith locality in the world, and the greater western Sydney is a success story in religious and social cohesion. Further, Western Sydney University was ranked ‘at world standards’ in both the study of religion and of society and has staff with strong expertise in anthropology, psychology, sociology, and social geography. This specialisation is housed in the leading Religion and Society Research Centre which invites throughout the year international renowned scholars to speak at its various series of public lectures, conferences and symposia.