If you want to study comparative religious perspectives or pursue a career in ministry or teaching, Central’s religion major provides the skills you need. Graduates of the program have careers as pastors, missionaries and teachers, as well as positions in non-profit management and social services. Central also offers a pre-ministry program with an emphasis on Christian ministries. 

languages are taught by Religion faculty: Greek, Latin, Hebrew and Arabic
  • Central Religion faculty regularly lead study trips to Turkey and Israel to expand campus course offerings
  • Religion majors are encouraged to study abroad during their junior or senior years

The Real World


Successful Careers

  • Pastor, Fairview Reformed Church, Fairview, Ill.
  • Associate director of student ministry, Parkview Church, Iowa City
  • Family therapist, Orchard Place Counseling Services, Des Moines
  • Religion and history teacher, The Pennington School, Pennington, New Jersey
  • Director of children’s ministries, The Bridge, Ottumwa, Iowa


  • Campus Ministries
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
  • Bread for the World

The Least of These

The Least of These

JJ (Johnson) ’98 and Tim TenClay ’97 help refugees transition to new lives in Italy.

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Graduate Placement

  • Western Theological Seminary
  • Princeton Theological Seminary
  • Talbot School of Theology
  • Aquinas Institute of Theology
  • University of London
  • University of Denver


Religion students also gain experience through internships that prepare them for future employment or entrance into graduate school.

Courses & Faculty

The religion department offers courses in biblical studies, the history of Christian thought, world religions (e.g. Judaism, Islam and South and East Asian religions), and ethics and theology, as well as applied courses in Christian ministry and doctrine.

Central’s religion major offers a very flexible schedule with no required religion courses or prerequisites—and therefore no typical sequence of courses. The department recommends that at least two “readings” courses at the 300-level be taken during the junior and senior years, and that independent study be taken during the senior year.  Majors are encouraged to study abroad during their junior or senior years. 

Learn more about religion courses in the course catalog.

Learn more about religion in the course catalog.

Religion photo
Meet the faculty:
  • Terence Kleven, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Professor of Religion, interest areas include Old Testament studies, classical Greek and Arabic political philosophy, Middle Eastern studies and Muslim-Christian relations
  • Mark Thomas, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Philosophy, interest areas include German Idealism, metaphysics, theory of knowledge and the relationship between faith and reason
  • David Timmer, B.A., Ph.D., Professor of Religion, interest areas include history of Christianity (especially medieval to modern), contemporary theology and ethics, Judaism, Asian religions
  • Elena Vishnevskaya, B.A., M. Div., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Religion, interest areas include the early church, Eastern Orthodoxy, World Christianity and spirituality.

Sample Schedule

First year

100-level religion course

200-level religion course

Core and elective courses

Sophomore year

200-level religion courses

Pre-Ministerial Seminar (for Christian Ministries Emphasis)

200/300-level electives

Junior year

200/300-level religion courses to complete focus areas

Study abroad

Cognate courses (e.g., philosophy, history, Greek, Hebrew, education, sociology, psychology)

Senior year

200/300-level religion courses

Senior independent study

Ministry internship (for CME)

The Central Difference


Central College is one of the most beautiful college campuses you'll find. A perfect mix of old and new, our buildings reflect our history and our future. Central's distinctive library is a spacious and popular haven with more than 230,000 volumes, computer stations, a multimedia collection, and extensive online catalog.

Study Abroad

Students are encouraged to study abroad with Central College to enhance their development as global citizens. Academic opportunities and internship programs also are available in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City. Learn more about Central’s study abroad programs.

Central College Religion Students

Ministry Opportunities

Campus Ministries offers mission trips over fall, winter, spring, and summer breaks to destinations like Kansas City, New Orleans, Mexico, Haiti, China, and Ethiopia. 

Students also have opportunities to serve in leadership roles with Campus Ministries.


David Timmer Named Chair in Philosophy and Religion

David Timmer Named Chair in Philosophy and Religion

David Timmer, professor of religion, has been awarded the Dr. Jacob and Gela Schnucker Sessler Chair in Philosophy and Religion.

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Chad Ray Retires After 41 Years
Chad Ray Retires After 41 Years

Since 1976, Chad Ray has been motivating Central College students to seek answers to life’s biggest questions.

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Central Hosts Racial Equality Workshop
Central Hosts Racial Equality Workshop

Central College hosts Jennifer Harvey for a racial equality workshop Sept. 20 as part of the college’s Learning for Justice Series.

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Learn More

Want to find out more about religion at Central? Contact us to learn more about this major and our other strong academic programs. Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.