Welcome to the Department of Religious Studies!
Religion is a major force in human experience. It has shaped the world's history, literature, art, culture, politics, ethics, and economics. The Department of Religious Studies at UC Davis offers courses in the world's major religious traditions (Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, Chinese and Japanese religions), as well as cross-cultural courses dealing with religious symbols, myths, and rituals in written texts, art, theater, film, and the internet. We also offer thematic courses dealing with such topics as religion and the body, fundamentalism, religion and science, mysticism, meaning and identity, theories of religion, and religion and violence.
The major and minor in Religious Studies introduce students to an in-depth academic study of religion. Students can choose from a broad range of courses offered by Religious Studies as well as those offered in many other departments, including history, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, American studies, and classics. In addition to studying religious thought and practice 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. We encourage majors to undertake a senior thesis project in their final year, in order to have the opportunity to work one-on-one with a faculty member on a research project that meets the student's interests and curiosity.
For many students, Religious Studies is a flexible and engaging second major, and combines well with anything from philosophy to international agricultural development, political science, and the physical sciences. For students applying to law school, medical school, or business school, a second degree in Religious Studies can help distinguish them from the pack of competitors.