College is often the first time students can learn about world religions or American religious history. At UCI, Religious Studies features a major (12 classes) and a minor (7 classes) that gives students tools for systematic, empathetic, and critical inquiry of big picture ideas across time and contexts. 

With a RS major or minor, students gain knowledge of:
  • world perspectives in Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, new religious and atheist movements, indigenous and Africana perspectives/practices, among others, including each tradition's internal diversity
  • religious phenomena such as rituals, texts, ethics, and community practices beyond conversion or condescension
  • what different worldviews/traditions have actually taught and why, and the contexts and debates that informed their development 
  • critical modern issues such as religious ethics, religion and secularism, religion and law, religion and race, religion and science, religion and gender, religion and politics, religion and violence, religion and the environment, as well as the problems and potentials of ideas such as pluralism, "world religions," and multiculturalism, among others*
RS students also gain skills such as:
  • speaking with like- and non-like-minded others about religion and its practices
  • c​ontextualizing and complicating generalizations about religious groups, individuals, and practices 
  • analyzing religious arguments by examining issues of interpretation, audience, and authorities
  • fostering spaces for dialog about religion's roles, limits, failures, and responsibilities in personal, social, and professional spheres
  • examining religious texts, images, and media to discern issues of representation and transnational adaptations
  • understanding complex logic systems that include theology, ethics, and philosophy as applied to historical and contemporary issues such as justice, "just war," "natural law," creation, free will, causality, liberation, human-animal relations, and many other issues*
Our interdisciplinary faculty bring religious studies expertise from the Schools of Humanities, Social Science, Social Ecology, Medicine, and the Arts offering exciting classes and engaged learning to help understand the role of religion in human experience, thought, and action.
Majoring in Religious Studies prepares students for leadership in a diverse globalizing society and for careers in counseling or mediation, healthcare, nursing, medical humanities and research, teaching, commerce, law, journalism, public policy, equity advocacy, international relations, government, technology, and the arts, among others. It provides an effective springboard for graduate school in the humanities and social sciences or professional schools in medicine, law, and business.
We also welcome double majors and double minors from across campus and look forward to meeting you!


Click to learn more about the major and minor!

*Resources: Jodi Magness & Margaret M. Mitchell (2022). Religious Studies & the Imagined Boundaries of the Humanities. Daedalus 151 (3): 166–79