Mar 04, 2024  
2013-2015 University Catalog 
2013-2015 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Comparative Religion, Department of

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Department Chair

Paul J. Levesque

Department Office/Website

University Hall 313


M. Zakyi Ibrahim, Paul Levesque, James Santucci, Jeanette Reedy Solano, Bradley Starr


The mission of the Department of Comparative Religion 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.

Comparative Religion examines the spiritual quest of humankind, especially as it has manifested itself in the world’s living religions. These include Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, 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.

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, 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.

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.

Learning Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

The following goals and learning outcomes have been established for students pursuing a degree in Comparative Religion:

Ability to conduct research and interpret materials

  • Analyze written materials related to the study of religion
  • Acquire information literacy in the study of religion

Effective communication

  • Write well-organized critical and analytical research papers related to the study of religion
  • Speak clearly and effectively using relevant and adequate supporting evidence

Demonstrate an understanding of religious traditions

  • Describe the basic teachings and practices of major religious traditions, and compare and contrast the principal similarities and differences between them
  • Identify the history and development of specific religions and their contemporary relevance
  • Compare key theories and theorists in the study of religion
  • Interpret key thinkers and figures within religious traditions

Programs and Courses Offered


    Bachelor of ArtsNon-Degree


      Comparative Religion

      Courses are designated as CPRL in the class schedule.

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