Religious Studies, Minor College of Letters & Science

Religion is a major force in human experience. It has shaped the world's history, literature, art, culture, politics, ethics, and economics. In addition to offering courses in all the major religious traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism,) the Religious Studies Program has developed cross-cultural courses dealing with religious symbols, myths, and rituals in written texts, art, theater, and film, and the Internet, as well as, thematic courses dealing with such topics as religion and the body, the rise of fundamentalism, religion and science, religion and ethics, and religion and violence.

The Program

The major introduces students to the academic study of religion. Students can choose from a broad range of courses both in the program itself and in other departments and programs-history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, anthropology, American studies, classics, and medieval studies. In addition to studying religious thought per se, students in the major can also study the way religion has shaped human behavior in such matters as family life, gender roles, ethics, artistic life, concepts of individual freedom, the pursuit of science, and economics. For some students, Religious Studies is an appropriate second major and combines well with anything from philosophy to international agricultural development, political science, and the physical sciences.

Career Alternatives

Because of the program's focus on developing critical thinking, writing, and reading skills, students who major in Religious Studies are well prepared to enter a variety of careers, including, the health professions, law, business, teaching, and government. In an increasingly global society, knowledge of the world's religious traditions and practices has become an essential part of a student's education.


A reading knowledge of a foreign language is highly recommended.

Course Equivalents

The major advisors have a list of lower and upper division courses that can be substituted for courses suggested above.

Honors & Honors Program

A student becomes eligible for graduation with honors by meeting the minimum GPA and course requirements established by the College of Letters & Science. Upon successful completion of the additional requirements of the College of Letters & Science Honors Program, individual students may be recommended by the program for graduation with high honors or highest honors on the basis of an evaluation of their academic achievements in the major.

Education Abroad Program

The Religious Studies program encourages students to study in the Summer Abroad program, the Quarter Abroad program, or the Education Abroad program. With the approval of a major advisor, applicable courses taken abroad may be accepted in the major or minor programs.

Teaching Credential Subject Representative

See the Teaching Credential/M.A. Program.


Students interested in Hebrew courses should see Hebrew.

Human Rights Minor

Students interested in the Human Rights minor should see Human Rights Minor.

Jewish Studies

Students interested in Jewish Studies should see Jewish Studies.

Major Advisors

Consult the Program office.

Choose one lower division RST course.4
Choose 16 units of upper division RST courses.16
Seminar (Recommended)
Some substitutions from other departments or programs allowed with consent of advisor.
Total Units20