The Religious Studies Department specializes in the study of Buddhism and comparative religion. It offers two graduate-level degrees, an MA and PhD in Religious Studies. A ThD in Applied Buddhist Studies is soon to be released, pending WASC approval. In addition to their teaching mission, faculty are involved in various research projects, including detailed study of Chinese-, Sanskrit-, and Pali-language Buddhist texts and the study of Asian religions in the contemporary world. 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.
Philosophy & Objectives
Through the study of religion students acquire a deep understanding of religious practices, ideas, outlooks, and concerns that have influenced and continue to influence human culture and existence. Asian religious traditions, particularly Buddhism, provide the core focus and foundation 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.
Master of Arts in Religious Studies
The Master of Arts in Religious Studies is a two-year, full-time degree program that allows students to gain a critical appreciation and understanding of different facets of religion. In close consultation with a faculty advisor, students design a course of study tailored to their own interests and needs. Students may draw on courses offered at UWest to create an emphasis in Buddhist history and texts, comparative religions, Humanistic Buddhism, Chinese religions, South Asian religions, Buddhism and psychology, Buddhism and contemporary culture, Buddhist theology and ministry, or an area central to their particular interests.
UWest is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.