Academic Programs

Department of Religious Studies

A Religious Studies Degree You Can Use Every Day

UWest’s Religious Studies Department specializes in the study of Buddhism and comparative religion, with a strong emphasis on real-life application. The Religious Studies Department works closely with other departments, particularly Buddhist Chaplaincy and Psychology, providing a bridge between the study of religion—past, present, and future—and the problems of modern life. Our faculty are involved in groundbreaking research projects, including the detailed study of ancient Buddhist texts and the study of Asian religions in the contemporary world.

Through our program, students acquire a deep understanding of the history and cultural impact of religious practices, ideas, outlooks, and concerns. Asian religious traditions, particularly Buddhism, provide the core focus of the program. The department is dedicated to open academic inquiry and religious diversity and committed to fostering an environment that furthers religious understanding between East and West. Students from all religious backgrounds are encouraged to bring their own unique and enriching perspective to the study of religion.

UWest offers two advanced degrees in Religious Studies. The Master of Arts in Religious Studies allows students to gain a critical appreciation and understanding of different facets of religion. The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Religious Studies is an advanced research degree leading to a dissertation, with concentrations in Buddhist Studies or Comparative Religious Studies.