UC Santa Barbara General CatalogUniversity of California, Santa Barbara

Religious Studies

Department of Religious Studies
Division of Humanities and Fine Arts
Humanities and Social Sciences 4001
E-mail: relst@religion.ucsb.edu
Website: www.religion.ucsb.edu
Department Chair: Fabio Rambelli

Graduate Program

The Department of Religious Studies offers training in the religious dimensions of the human experience in diverse traditions and cultures around the world and through time.

All programs emphasize a cross-cultural comparative study of religions and use multi-disciplinary approaches as appropriate to religious studies, incorporating such disciplines as philology, history, anthropology, sociology, comparative literature, psychology, and philosophy. The master’s programs provide a general orientation toward religious studies; the doctoral program offers specialized training leading to professions in teaching and research. In addition to departmental requirements, candidates for graduate degrees must meet the university degree requirements described in the "Graduate Education” section of this catalog.

The department has available a number of fellowships to support graduate study, including the J.F. Rowny Endowment Fellowship, the Father Virgil F. Cordano Endowment Fellowship, the Japan Bamboo Foundation Fellowship, and the Mendell Fellowship in Ethics offered throughout the university by the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life. Students accepted to the M.A./Ph.D. or Ph.D. programs typically receive a combination of fellowship support and paid Teaching Assistantships.


In addition to departmental admissions and degree requirements, student must meet university admissions and degree requirements, as described in the Graduate Education section of this catalog. Applicants will be evaluated on their statement of purpose, personal achievements statement, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and writing sample (plus the TOEFL or IELTS exam scores when applicable for non-English speaking applicants). Online applications are available September to December 15 for admission in the following year fall term.

Applicants interested in pursuing the Ph.D. must have an M.A. or its equivalent in Religious Studies from an accredited university by the projected fall quarter of admission. Others should apply to the M.A./Ph.D. program. Applicants to the M.A. program must have a B.A. or its equivalent from an accredited university by the projected fall quarter of admission.

Master of Arts – Religious Studies (Requirements - PDF)

Master of Arts & Doctor of Philosophy – Religious Studies (Requirements - PDF)

Doctor of Philosophy – Religious Studies (Requirements - PDF)

Optional Interdisciplinary Emphases

Students pursuing a doctoral degree in Religious Studies may petition to add the following Optional Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Emphases: Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Cognitive Science, European Medieval Studies, Feminist Studies, Global Studies, Translation Studies, Writing Studies.

Requirement sheets for each emphasis may be found on this page.