Religious Studies

Can you understand the world you live in without studying religion? Probably not. Underlying most human endeavors – whether politics, business, medicine, psychology, family life and personal fulfillment-is a complex array of religious beliefs, spiritual yearning and existential questions. The study of Religion explores the religious beliefs, actions and cultural practices of individuals and communities across the world and throughout history.

Through the course of their studies, our students gain an inter-cultural literacy and an appreciation for the worldviews of other peoples and cultures, as well as their own. Religious Studies courses offer you a variety of disciplinary perspectives on religion, including the spiritual, historical, literary, ethical, doctrinal, contemplative and social dimensions of religious people and cultures. Engaging the study of religions through academic inquiry, we seek to generate respect for the religious lives of all traditions. While many students find the study of religion fruitful for reflecting on their own religious identity, no particular religious position is privileged or assumed in any of our courses.

Religious Studies outside of the classroom

Religion can be found everywhere in the world.  Students can experience the different world religions by engaging with religious leaders during visits to campus, enrolling in a Study Abroad course, or by participating in one of our Religious Studies site visits to communities local to the Los Angeles area.  Recent Study Abroad destinations include: Copenhagen, Argentina, Morocco, London, Salzburg, Canterbury and Barcelona.

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Graduating with a degree in Religious Studies creates endless possibilities. Some of our graduates continue their studies in graduate programs at: Harvard Divinity School, Claremont Theological School, and Naropa University.  A few of our alumni are featured below.

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Department News & Events

Two become one, and stronger together

University of Redlands President Ralph W. Kuncl writes to the U of R community about the union of the University with San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS), creating a Graduate School of Theology and a Marin campus hosting programs from both institutions. Here is his text from his memo.

Bella stands behind a table with a pamphlet display and speaks to passersby.
U of R student embraces role as interfaith ‘vaccine ambassador’

Bella Sturr ’22, a religious studies and biology double major who is interested in going into medicine, combines her fields to serve the local community.

Professor of Religious Studies Karen Derris’s book reflects the wake of a terminal cancer diagnosis. (Photo by Tommi Cahill)
Reflections on impermanence

Following a terminal cancer diagnosis, University of Redlands Professor of Religious Studies Karen Derris turned to books and began reading ancient Buddhist stories—a practice that informed her latest work.