The Department of Religious Studies uses a variety of methods (historical, textual, ethnographic, philosophical and social scientific) to study of the religious dimensions of world cultures and traditions. Its program offers concentrations in a variety of religious traditions: (Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Native American and indigenous) and areas, with particular strengths in South and East Asia, the Middle East, the ancient Mediterranean world, and North America. Faculty teach, research and publish in the study of sacred textual traditions, religion in public life, sacred space and pilgrimage, healing systems, race/ethnicity and pluralism, religious experience, religious movements, religious violence, and the implications that nationalism, globalization, science and the new media hold for the development of religion in the modern era. Cross-cultural research and interdisciplinary approaches -- involving disciplines such as history, sociology, philosophy, anthropology, psychology, gender studies, art history, comparative literature, and political science -- are especially encouraged by the Department and supported by faculty affiliates across the university.

Mailing Address

Department of Religious Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara
4001 Humanities and Social Sciences Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-3130

Degree icon Degrees Offered

Address iconDeadlines

Fall Admission Only:

  • December 15, 2023 (by 11:59 PM PST)

Requirements Icon


  • Online application:
  • Statement of Purpose, Personal History and Diversity Statement, and Resume or CV (submitted in the online application)
  • Three Letters of Recommendation (submitted online)
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended (submitted online)
  • English Language Exam Scores (if applicable): TOEFL Internet-Based Test (IBT) total score of 80, or TOEFL Paper-Based Test (PBT) total score of 550, or IELTS Overall Band score of 7, or Duolingo English Test total score of 120, or higher
  • Writing Sample (submitted in the online application only)
  • Supplemental Information Form for Graduate Program Applicants
  • Final/Official transcripts will be required for all applicants who are admitted and have indicated their intent to enroll at UC Santa Barbara by submitting a Statement of Intent to Register (SIR). UC Santa Barbara reserves the right to require official transcripts at any time during the admissions process, and rescind any offer of admission made if discrepancies between uploaded and official transcript(s) are found.

Ancient Mediterranean Studies; Cognitive Science; European Medieval Studies; Feminist Studies; Global Studies; Translation Studies; Writing Studies (All Ph.D. only)