This is an archive of the 2017-2018 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit

This is an archive of the 2017-2018 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit

Program: B.A., Religious Studies

Program Description

The Religious Studies major is designed to provide a liberal arts education with an emphasis on the critical study of religious phenomena. The Religious Studies major provides an excellent basis from which to pursue careers requiring imagination, problem-solving and communication skills, and awareness of human diversity.

Program Requirements

1. Lower Division Required Courses (6 units)

Select two courses from the following:

RS 100 Introduction to Religious Studies (3)
RS 101 The Bible (3)
RS 150 World Religions (3)
RS 160 Religion in Western Civilization (3)
RS 240 Approaches to the History of Religions (3)

2. Upper Division (36 units)

a. Required Junior-level Course (3 units)

RS 395 Theory and Method in Religious Studies (3)

b. Religion in the United States (6 units)

Select two courses from the following:

RS 305 New Religious Movements in America (3)
RS 306 American Religious Diversity (3)
RS 307 Religion in America (3)
RS 308 Native American Religions (3)
RS 378 American Jewish Experience (3)

c. Religious Traditions (9 units)

Select three courses from the following:

JS 300 Humanities in Jewish Society: Ancient and Medieval (3)
RS 345 Christianity (3)
RS 365 Islam (3)
RS 380 Asian Religions: Communal Traditions and Transitions (3)
RS 385 Hinduism (3)
RS 390 Buddhism (3)
RS 426 Religions of China: Taoism (3)

d. Sacred Texts of the World (3 units)

Select one course from the following:

RS 320 Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) (3)
RS 325 New Testament (3)
RS 327 Teachings of Jesus (3)
RS 375 Classical Judaic Texts (3)
RS 383 Asian Religious Texts (3)
RS 384 Approaching the Qu’ran (3)

3. Upper Division Electives (12 units)

Choose from any upper division Religious Studies courses through consultation with an advisor. Two years of the study of a foreign language at the university level (or its equivalent) may be used for one 3-unit elective in the major. Students may apply an Experimental Topics in Religion course (RS 396A-Z) to the appropriate category listed above. Consult with the department chair for approval.

4. Proseminar (3 units)

RS 497B Proseminar in Religious Studies (3 units)

5. General Education (48 units)

Undergraduate students must complete 48 units of General Education as described in this Catalog.

Total Units in the Major: 42

General Education Units: 48

Additional Units: 30

Total Units Required for the B.A. Degree: 120


Chair: Rick Talbott
Staff: Anita Simon, Jennifer Elliott
Santa Susana Hall (SN) 224
(818) 677-3392

Student Learning Outcomes

A Religious Studies major will be able to:

  1. Interpret texts and other cultural phenomena that have religious presuppositions or implications (such as rituals, texts, architecture) in their historical, social and political context.
  2. Think both empathetically and critically about conflicting religious claims.
  3. Acquire knowledge of the history of more than one major religious tradition.
  4. Apply intercultural methods to religious inquiry and analysis.
  5. Articulate a perception of one’s role in society, in both career and public-service options.