Religious Studies Internships & Travel Opportunities

Increasingly, opportunities for cross-cultural experience are coming to Indianapolis. As mentioned elsewhere on this web site, Indianapolis is home to an increasingly diverse population of people representing not only the ethnic and cultural communities, but also the religious heritage of the world’s major traditions. Whether one wants to experience worship in a Protestant, Catholic, or Eastern Orthodox church, a Hindu temple or Islamic Mosque, one need not look further than the urban setting of Butler University. However, there is no experience in this country that will facilitate one’s understanding not just of other cultures, but also of one’s own, in the way that is possible through time spent in another country and culture. For this reason, Butler works hard to provide the widest possible range of opportunities for students to do precisely that.

Butler’s study abroad program is closely linked to the Institute for Study Abroad, which is housed in the Interfaith Center not far from the Butler campus. In addition, external grants for study trips involving collaboration with a professor are available on a competitive basis. The Compass Center works closely with Butler’s Religion program to provide relevant internships and travel opportunities that focus more specifically on areas of interest to religion majors. Whether your interest is in church ministry, religious publishing, inter-faith dialogue, or something else, chances are that it is not only possible to arrange such an internship, but that one or more students has already done just the sort of internship that interests you, leaving a precedent and established relationships that either the Department of Philosophy and Religion or The Compass Center can draw on to provide you with practical internship experience to complement the academic side of your education.

The Compass Center, through the generosity of the Lilly Foundation which provided the grant that established it, provided several subsidized field seminars in religion, which enabled groups of students to travel with faculty members from Religion and other programs to interesting destinations such as Nicaragua, South Africa, and Latvia. Another grant allowed a small group of professors and students to explore aspects of how science, technology and society intersect in India, with particular focus on religion and contemporary practice of Ayurvedic and Western medicine.

Whether encountering vibrant communities engaging matters of social injustice, or traditional congregations struggling to navigate the new situations facing increasingly secularized Europe, whether standing at an important place of pilgrimage or a site where thousands lost their lives in the Holocaust, students in the Religion program at Butler have had their horizons broadened through the opportunities for real-life experience that Butler University provides.

In May 2012, Dr. James F. McGrath took students on a 9 day trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories, and he just returned from a trip again in May 2014. For more information, please contact Dr. McGrath at A syllabus for the course can be found here, and the itinerary and other relevant details can be found on the EF Educational Tours website.

Campbell Fund

Thanks to a bequest from Mabel L. Campbell, the Religion Program at Butler is in a position to offer financial support to Religion majors and minors to facilitate off-campus opportunities for intellectual or vocational development. Activities that might qualify include:

  • Travel to academic meetings
  • Travel to workshops (writers’ conferences, etc.)
  • Travel to pre-professional events, such as visit days at graduate schools or theological seminaries
  • Travel related to domestic or international service
  • Conference fees and expenses connected with an approved event, in Indianapolis or out of town
  • Support for internships related to religion or social service (school year or summer)
  • Support for study-abroad venues focused on religion
  • Support for research expenses connected with an undergraduate thesis or independent study project
  • Support for student-initiated and student-run workshops, seminars or teach-ins on the Butler campus

Requests for support must be submitted in writing (typescript required). Download an application form to apply for the Campbell Fund.

The Religion faculty will review proposals monthly from October 1 through April 1, on or shortly after the first of each month. Applicants will be informed of the disposition of their application within two or three weeks.

Support from the Campbell Fund is designated for majors and minors in Religion at Butler University. Combined majors in Philosophy and Religion and students with a strong record of activism in The Compass Center.