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 section “Graduate Education.”

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.


Applicants are admitted on a competitive basis based on transcripts, scores on the verbal and writing portions of the Graduate Record Examination, letters of recommendation, personal statement of research interests, and fit with the resources of the department. In addition to departmental requirements for admission, applicants must fulfill university requirements for admission to graduate status described in the chapter “Graduate Education at UCSB.” Applicants interested in pursuing a Ph.D. who have completed the M.A. degree in religious studies (or its equivalent) elsewhere may apply directly to the Ph.D. program. Others should apply to the M.A./Ph.D. program, which entails completion of the M.A. Plan 1. Applications for the M.A./Ph.D. program are accepted for fall quarter only; the deadline is early December. The same schedule is normally required for M.A. Plan 2 applicants.

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.