The Department of Religious Studies at UC Santa Barbara is one of the major centers for the comparative and interdisciplinary study of religion in North America. It has a strong and diverse faculty and teaches approximately 2,000 undergraduates and some 75 graduate students each quarter.
Religious Studies is home to the prestigious Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life, and it maintains close ties with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. The Department also boasts several endowed chairs, including the XIVth Dalai Lama Chair in Tibetan Buddhism, the Virgil Cordano Chair in Catholic Studies, and the Tipton Distinguished Visiting Chair in Catholic Studies. Three other chair holders – the Karpany Professor of Sikh Studies, the Mellichamp Professor of Global Religions and Modernisms, and the International Shinto Foundation Professor of Shinto Studies – have partial appointments in Religious Studies.
A variety of research languages are taught within the Department, including Arabic, Aramaic, Coptic, Hebrew, Hindi, Persian, Punjabi, Sanskrit, and Tibetan. Besides its undergraduate major, Religious Studies also oversees undergraduate minors in American Indian & Indigenous Studies and Jewish Studies. Docotral students in Religious Studies can opt to add a Global Studies Emphasis, a Translation Studies Emphasis, a European Medieval Studies Emphasis, or a Women’s Studies Emphasis to their degree. Graduate study in the Department fans out into major areas that represent work in Buddhist Studies, the Philosophy of Religion, the Sociology and Anthropology of Religion, Religion and Culture, Mediterranean and West Asian Religions, South Asian Religions, East Asian Religions, Religion in America, Native American Religions, and Christian Traditions.