Acting Department Chair
Bradley E. Starr
University Hall 313
M. Zakyi Ibrahim, Paul Levesque, James Santucci, Jeanette Reedy Solano, Bradley Starr, Mugdha Yeolekar
The mission of the Department of Religious Studies is to describe and interpret the developments, worldviews and practices of religious traditions in a nonsectarian, academic manner for the benefit of students, faculty from other fields and the greater Orange County community.
Within a public university, religion must be approached with academic objectivity and without favoritism for any one tradition. Yet, religion must also be studied with sensitivity and empathy for the millions of believers whose lives are shaped by their faith.
Religious Studies examines the spiritual quest of humankind, especially as it has manifested itself in the world’s living religions. These include Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other less familiar traditions. No other academic field looks at the origins, sacred writings, rituals, beliefs and world views of the various religions for their own sake rather than as an aspect of another field of study.
Because the major consists of 36 units of coursework (less than some other fields), it may be possible to add a second major in, for example, Communications, History or Philosophy. Such double majors may strengthen a student’s job preparation or background for graduate studies.
Minors in religion are offered in four areas, depending on a student’s particular interest: Religious Studies (comparative emphasis); Christian Studies; Jewish Studies; and Islamic Studies.
The Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies is designed for those who: 1) want a humanities undergraduate background focusing on religion as a preparation for further study in such fields as education, law, politics, social work, counseling and government service; 2) wish to pursue graduate studies in religion with the aim of teaching and/or conducting research in the subject; 3) are considering a career in various religious ministries or in religious education. The curriculum provides new ways of understanding the world, exciting methods of analysis, and sophistication in the interpretation of religious texts, beliefs and practices. Interacting with each other and outside communities, students learn to think, write and speak with clarity and precision, conduct research on complex issues and listen and relate to others with understanding and respect.
Learning Goals and Student Learning Outcomes
Programs and Courses Offered
ProgramsBachelor of ArtsNon-Degree