Comparative Religion

The comparative religion minor at Pacific University teaches students how to study religion: one of the central ways that human beings comprehend their world. Courses engage students to participate in active study and dialogue on the topics of religion and faith. Students are taught to examine the philosophy of religion in an ethnographic context.


  • Find a safe place where students can talk openly about religion and faith, regardless of views
  • Develop a basic understanding of different world practices
  • Study ethics in a global religious context
  • Produce ethnographies to conceptualize logic through field work
  • Develop researching skills by immersing themselves in religious traditions or places of worship in the surrounding communities
  • Synthesize and integrate knowledge and research through a process of analysis into coherent, descriptive documentation
  • Become versed in research, both field and textual, strategic thinking and organizational writing


Pacific's comparative religion courses encourage students to explore religion in a global perspective through a cultural lens. Courses approach religions from the standpoints of anthropology, sociology, art, history and philosophy. Faculty members specialize in different areas of religious study including Asian religions, such as Buddhism and Hinduism; Abrahamic religions, such as Christianity and Judaism; and Caribbean religions, such as Santeria and Vodou.

Students are required to visit places of worship of their own choosing, that are outside their current religion, and attend religious ceremonies or observe or interact in cultural practices.

Comparative religion minors work with faculty members to formulate projects and complete significant academic field research, sometimes for presentation at national or regional conferences. External resources serve as learning materials in the form of guest speakers and class trips to religious centers including churches, temples, mosques and more.


Students who complete a minor in comparative religions are thoughtful and active citizens. They gain a broad understanding and appreciation of spiritual perspectives, both individually and collectively. They learn to see connections with people and the values of many faiths, and they come to see the interconnections between personal spirituality and global communities. Their experiences and insights are useful for careers in ministry, counseling and social service agencies. Our graduates are ministers, social services workers, and employees in hospice centers, correctional facilities and military bases.

Sociology & Anthropology Department

The comparative religion minor is part of a department that also offers programs in sociology, anthropology, social work and public health.

Director of Center for Peace and Spirituality, University Chaplain, Instructor
Associate Dean & Director, School of Arts & Humanities