About The Department of Religious Studies

The Religious Studies Department at UC Santa Barbara is the largest religion department in the University of California system, and one of the most diverse religion departments in the world. With an internationally recognized faculty of twenty-three professors, two permanent lecturers, and more than twenty affiliates and visiting scholars, the Department prides itself on both the breadth and depth of its course offerings and programs. Many of the languages necessary for the study of the religion — Arabic, Hindi, Persian, Punjabi, Sanskrit, and Tibetan — are taught within Religious Studies. Our department celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014 and has since continued to celebrate the achievements of its esteemed students and scholars.

The Department offers Bachelor’s and Master of Arts degrees as well as a Ph.D. in Religious Studies. Our undergraduate majors often double-major in another field (including the sciences). While these students may go on to conduct graduate research in the academic study of religion, they just as often delve into other professions. According to our BA graduates, the education they received as Religious Studies majors prepared them well for a broad range of careers, including law, medicine, journalism, non-profit and NGO work, and more. If you would like more information on becoming a Religious Studies major, please visit the Undergraduate Program web-page, or contact Kailee Lencioni, the Undergraduate Advisor.

For those interested in graduate study, our master’s and doctoral programs are known for their strengths in several different areas. Students often work comparatively across these areas of study, focusing on more than one religion, culture, or methodology. Graduates from our Ph.D. program fare well in the highly competitive job market of academia, as reflected by our superb placement statistics. If you are interested in applying to the graduate program, visit the Graduate Program web-page or contact the Faculty Director of Graduate Studies, Prof. Rudy Busto.

Last page update: 08/09/23