/ Religion Department

Special Programs and Opportunities

Whether in or out of the classroom, we offer many chances for our students to get involved in the life of the department and the college.

Off-Campus Study

We encourage students to study off campus! A number of opportunities are available for religion majors and minors.

Learn more about off-campus study opportunities 

Independent Study

  • Our students have the opportunity to pursue a project of their own interest beyond the course catalog offerings.
  • This intense study can be based upon readings, creative research and/or field projects, depending on your career interests and vocational calling.

Vita Scholars Program

The Vita Scholars Program is an accelerated 5-year pastoral degree program at Hope College and Western Theological Seminary. Program participants will acquire a B.A. in religion at Hope College, taking introductory and upper-level courses in biblical studies, church history and theology. And they will receive their M.Div. from Western Theological Seminary, taking courses in biblical studies, church history, theology and ministry.

Learn more about the Vita Scholars Program 


  • Peter Smith Religion Award
    2023 recipient: Logan Pitsenberger
  • Peter Smith Religion Scholarship
    2023 recipient: Karlie Platz
  • John Vanderwilt Award
    2023 recipients: Kathryn Kathloff and Grace Portenga
  • Verhey Award for Excellence in Scholarship
    2023 recipients:  Logan Pitsenberger

Saint Benedict Institute

  • The Saint Benedict Institute was founded by Catholic scholars at Hope College to engage the academy from an explicitly Catholic perspective and offer spiritual and intellectual formation to Catholic students.
  • Through a variety of initiatives and with the cooperation of Hope College’s Campus Ministries, the Hope Catholics student group and the Diocese of Grand Rapids, the Saint Benedict Institute provides an integral Catholic witness and seeks to strengthen Catholic identity among Catholic students as well as encourage all Christians in their faith on the Hope College campus.