College of Arts and Humanities
2530 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-8299
Fax: (808) 956-9894
*G. Tanabe, PhD (Chair)-Buddhism, Japanese religions
*H. J. Baroni, PhD-Japanese and East Asian religions
*D. W. Chappell, PhD-Buddhism, Chinese religions
*J. P. Charlot, DTh-Polynesian/Hawaiian religions
*S. C. Crawford, ThD-Asian and Christian ethics, Indian religion
*R. Lamb, PhD-methodology, South Asian religions
*L. A. Siegel, PhD-Indian religions
Cooperating Graduate Faculty
G. D. Panisnick, PhD-Western religions
Degrees and Certificate Offered: BA in religion, MA in religion, Graduate Certificate in
The Academic Program
In keeping with the purposes and ideals of the University, the Department of Religion (REL) endeavors to take advantage of Hawai'i's social and cultural ties with Asia and the Pacific and, simultaneously, to contribute to the enhancement of those ties. We in Hawai'i are the beneficiaries of a rich confluence of diverse ethnic, linguistic, aesthetic, political, and religious traditions. Within this extraordinary polycultural and multireligious milieu, the department serves as a link between the academic community and the many Asian and Pacific religious communities that flourish in the islands: Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, Hinduism, and Hawaiian and Polynesian religions. Given these resources, Hawai'i is an ideal site and context for a direct study of Asian and Pacific religious phenomena. The Department of Religion is dedicated to the cultivation of a broad humanistic appreciation of a wide range of religious traditions, diverse mythologies, ritual practices, philosophical speculations, ethical imperatives, and institutional histories.
Undergraduate education in religion includes survey courses in Western, Asian, and Pacific religions. There are also thematic courses dealing with such issues as sexuality and death, politics and ethics, and the relationship between religion and other disciplines, such as anthropology, political science, and sociology.
Students must complete 27 credit hours at the 200 level and above, including at least 9 credit hours in 300- and 400-level courses. Required course: REL 300.
Students must complete 15 credit hours at the 300 level and above. Required course: REL 300.
In its commitment to both scholarship and pedagogy, the department maintains two graduate programs leading to the MA degree: a thesis-based MA program (Plan A), in which students conduct advanced research in the religious traditions of a selected geographical area in Asia or Polynesia; and a cross-cultural and professional track (Plan B), designed to train students to teach religious studies at the community college level. All students are required to do a semester of fieldwork in religion either in Hawai'i or abroad.
Applicants to the MA program in religion must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. college or university or its equivalent from a recognized foreign institution of higher learning. An undergraduate major in religion is appropriate but not required. In support of applications for admissions, each student is required to send directly to the department prior to the application deadline (a) three original letters of recommendation from referees familiar with his or her academic work and (b) a specimen of his or her written work, preferably an academic paper previously written on some topic related to religion.
For complete details on the graduate program in religion, contact the department office.