Religion has grown in importance in recent years as a topic of academic as well as public interest. Religious studies as an interdisciplinary academic activity is well established at the majority of colleges and universities across the United States-both sectarian and non-sectarian, private and public. It is the academic, analytic investigation of the world's religions, of religious history, and of the place of religion in world cultures and societies from the ancients to the present. Faculty involved in religious studies programs are drawn from a wide range of traditional academic disciplines-for example, anthropology, history, philosophy, classics, Near Eastern Studies, Asian Studies, literature, art history, political science, and sociology. Religious studies respects the beliefs and backgrounds of the students who pursue courses in this area, but it also approaches its objects of study in a thoroughly scholarly manner. At least in its public university settings, it avoids proselytizing and tries to maintain both intellectual openness and critical rigor.
The Wayne State Religious Studies Program, housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, at present offers an undergraduate Religious Studies Minor and and serves as an intercollegiate, interdepartmental, and interdisciplinary faculty body to sponsor visiting lectures and academic conferences on Religious Studies. Its Director works with a Faculty Steering Committee and group of faculty affiliated with the Program to develop curricular offerings and plan other Program activities.