Religious Studies

  • various items symbolizing different religions

Religious Studies


Welcome to the Department of Religious Studies located on the campus of California State University, Northridge.

The program is designed to provide a liberal arts background with an emphasis upon a critical study of religious traditions and phenomena.

Our faculty approach the subject of Religious Studies across many contexts and disciplines including history, sociology, psychology, anthropology, literary, philosophy, and cognitive science. This cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approach emphasizes the woven ties of religion to other areas of culture enabling students to better understand and appreciate diverse cultures.

In addition to courses exploring the development of all the major religious traditions of the world, we offer courses that look at the role of religion in ethics, gender constructs, literature, economics, the visual arts, and numerous contemporary social and political issues.

Our department is non-sectarian and aims to serve all students with or without religious affiliation. Students of all religions and ethnic backgrounds are welcome to enroll in Religious Studies courses.

About Us

The Department of Religious Studies at California State University, Northridge was founded and began offering courses in 1969.  In 1971 the program inaugurated major and minor B.A. degree programs in Religious Studies. Since its beginning the Department has typically served between forty and sixty majors each year. From the start, the Department also has offered an array of courses in General Education. The Department has assisted several other programs on campus by providing various service courses and through the participation of Religious Studies faculty in interdisciplinary teaching.

Religious Studies is one of seven academic departments and eight interdisciplinary programs in the College of Humanities at California State University, Northridge. In spring 2009 the Department of Religious Studies has nine tenure-track faculty, two lecturers teaching full-time loads, and eleven part-time lecturers. This semester there are forty students majoring (and thirty-eight minoring) in Religious Studies. (Among our majors we include the 40 students with a single major in Religious Studies, as well as students majoring in R.S. with a second major in another program, as well as those seeking a second B.A. degree by majoring in Religious Studies.) With a full-time-equivalent-student (FTES) count of 420, the faculty of the department are teaching about 2,100 students. The department mounts major and minor degree programs and serves the General Education Program at CSUN.

The department offers courses in comparative religion, Asian religions, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, ethics, literature, art, film, critical thinking, history,and theory and method. The department offers approximately 55-60 classes per semester as well as summer session classes. Classes are also offered at night for working students to finish the degree.