United States Air Force Academy

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Gaining a Better Understanding


Cadet Chapel after May snowstorm

Cadets minoring in religion studies will consider questions ranging from the abstract—How might we define religion?—to the concrete—What distinguishes Sunni from Shia Islam?

The study of religions is important in developing an understanding of cultural and ethical issues within the United States and around the world. As human interaction becomes more global and as our military finds itself in foreign countries with peoples of varied religious beliefs, cadets and officers need to understand religion as a critical aspect of international, multicultural operating environments. Studying religion will also help cadets gain a better understanding of their own beliefs and worldviews, allowing them to engage more knowledgeably and respectfully with others.


Cadets will earn the minor by completing 5 courses (15 semester hours).

3 required courses (9 semester hours) that provide a basic understanding of the concept of religion and of faith traditions around the world.

  • Philos 401 – Comparative Religion
  • Philos 401 – Philosophy of Religion
  • Hum 499 – Religion Studies Capstone

2 elective courses (6 semester hours) that broaden cadets’ understanding of religion in the context of their academic majors. Department approval needed.

  • Behavioral Science: sociology, personality, social psychology, biopsychology—depending on section and syllabus
  • English: literature courses, depending on the syllabus in a given semester
  • History 325, 340, 342, 344, 346, 347, 373, 374, or 480
  • Hum 430, 461, or 463
  • Law 351 or 360
  • Mgt 440
  • Philos 382 or 392

For full program requirements and course descriptions, download the current Course of Instruction Handbook.


Dr. Paul Macdonald
(719) 333-8659