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Department ofReligious Studies

Core Curriculum

Courses & Core

The department's courses provide students the opportunity to engage in multiple approaches to religion and the world's religious traditions. The aim of the program is to foster an engaging, critical, and integrated understanding of religion in the University's tradition of Jesuit liberal education. The University community judges this an important enough component to merit three courses in the four undergraduate years (the RS component of the Core Curriculum).

Students of religion proceed with the conviction that a full understanding of human nature requires attention to the fundamental questions posed by the world's religions: the origin and nature of the human search for transcendence; the nature of religious faith and its diverse expressions; the relation between religious vision and morality; the role religious traditions play in culture; and the significance of religion in our modern secular world.

Religious Studies, then, consists of inquiry into the diverse forms and expressions of religious experience. This requires the use of a number of different methods: theological, psychological, historical, philosophical, and comparative. In light of Santa Clara University's commitment to the Catholic tradition, the Religious Studies Department puts special, though not exclusive, emphasis on the Catholic Christian tradition. In particular the Department strives to enable students to develop an appreciation of the Catholic tradition in light of the pluralism that is characteristic of modern society and higher education. For this reason the Department maintains a broad perspective in its inquiry into the religious dimension of life.

The three Core Religion, Theology & Culture (RTC) requirements are central to Santa Clara University’s undergraduate curriculum and must be completed according to the following rules:

Core Course Sequencing: Students must take the three RTC courses in sequence: first, introductory (RTC 1); second, intermediate (RTC 2); and third, advanced (RTC 3). If two courses are taken simultaneously, only one will count for the Core.

RTC 3 Units Prerequisite: All students, including transfer students who matriculate with 44 ore more units, will have to have completed 88 units by the end of the term when they register in order to enroll in a course satisfying RTC 3. However, transfer students who matriculate with 44 or more units do not have to complete RTC 1 or 2 before enrolling in RTC 3.

Only RTC 2 can be completed through study abroad courses. All requests for study abroad approval for Core Religious Studies requirements should be directed to the Director of Core Curriculum at

The Religious Studies Department routinely offers an array of RTC 1, 2 and 3 every fall, winter and spring quarter, and during summer sessions we typically offer courses at every level (including on-line options, as well).

Contact Us

David Gray, Department Chair

Vicky Gonzalez, Office Manager


Kenna Hall, 3rd Floor