Mission Statement

Mission Statement of the Department of Religious Studies

The Department of Religious Studies engages its students in the rigorous academic and non-sectarian study of religion, fostering learned understanding and critical knowledge of religion in the University and the public square.  The study of religion is non-reductive, multi-methodological, and indispensable to any adequate understanding of our complex globalizing and intersectional world.   

To Undergraduates:

The Department of Religious Studies seeks to foster a learned understanding and critical knowledge of the religion and spirituality that surrounds us all. The goal is to prepare you to meet the needs of a pluralistic world, with its great challenges of religions impacting nationality, race, power structures, and gender. A founder of the discipline argues: “To know one religion is to know none.” Thus the faculty encourage deep reflection upon, and comparison of, two or more religious realms because understanding religion helps us understand people.  Students from Atheists to Zoroastrians, take our courses and enjoy them!

Our students have pursued careers in numerous fields including law, medicine, business, entrepreneurship, writing and journalism, acting, librarianship, teaching, service in and management of not-for-profit organizations/NGOs, and professional ministry in Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, and other confessional contexts.

To Graduate Students:

The Department of Religious Studies employs an innovative set of courses in both graduate and undergraduate programs.  Established scholars within their respective fields, department faculty employ a wide array of theoretical and methodological approaches for the non-sectarian study of religion.  Our rigorous academic framework, in conjunction with focused mentorship, has seen many of our graduates go on to PhD. programs at top universities throughout the world.   

To the Long Beach and Southern California communities:

The Department of Religious Studies values the diverse religious viewpoints in our community, including from those communities that sometimes feel left out: agnostics, “nones,” evangelicals, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Indigenous Traditionalists, Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Jews, members of minority or emergent religions and pursuers of various spiritual paths. As a Department in a public university, we offer access to all, and offer ourselves as speakers to the community.