Cultivating a thorough understanding of the world’s religions and the roles of religion throughout history and in contemporary society is at the heart of the School of Religious Studies’ teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The School takes a multidisciplinary approach to scholarship on a plurality of religions and incorporates a broad range of perspectives and methods. In studying the world’s religious traditions, we emphasize the ways in which religious expression and practices are embedded in culture, politics, aesthetics, and social change.
The School of Religious Studies has enjoyed a long history at McGill providing a wide range of programs, including B.A. programs, theological programs, and several specialized graduate degree programs. The School’s expertise in world religions engages many methods and disciplines, combining the rigorous and historically focused study of religious traditions and contexts with approaches that explore contemporary expressions of religions.
The School is affiliated with the Montreal Diocesan Theological College of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Presbyterian College Montreal, and the United Theological College of the United Church of Canada. Each of these colleges is located close to campus. In 2013, a landmark gift from the Barbara and Patrick Keenan Foundation launched a series of major new developments including the establishment of the Keenan Chair in Interfaith Studies and a new flagship course, "World Religions and the Cultures They Create" (RELG 208). The gift also funds a number of major fellowships and internships to provide formation and support for graduate and undergraduate students.
The School of Religious Studies is located in the handsome William and Henry Birks Building, erected in 1931, formerly known as Divinity Hall, at 3520 University Street. Besides the usual classrooms, offices, and common rooms, this building accommodates the Birks Heritage Chapel and the Birks Reading Room.