Welcome to the Department of Religious Studies. We are an active, thriving community where students attain knowledge of the religious and cultural activity that has molded human civilization and acquire intellectual skills that serve them throughout their educational endeavors and beyond. In our department, we challenge students to study the practices, beliefs, texts and languages of ancient and modern societies. Through these studies, students learn about the phenomena that have shaped Western culture and Eastern foundations.
Religion has historically shaped and continues to influence cultures and institutions worldwide. It is useful to explore spiritual traditions in order to examine ultimate religious and ethical questions. Our coursework provides perspectives that prepare students to engage these matters in a thoughtful, humane, historically broad, and intellectually rigorous manner.
On the value of studying religion
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor encourages University of the Pacific students to study the Liberal Arts, especially religion.
Students experience practical aspects of religion through field work in local places of worship, including Confucian, Hindu and Sikh temples; Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhist temples; a Greek Orthodox Church; a local synagogue; and St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, which has one of the largest social help programs in the Central Valley.