The Study of Religion at Claremont
Claremont is synonymous with excellence in graduate religious studies. The programs are student-centered and characterized by personal attention and flexibility. Working closely with a responsive staff and engaged faculty, students have the opportunity to create, within the limits of degree requirements, a course of study and research that is best suited to their needs and interests. Claremont Graduate University’s broad-based humanistic training equips religion students with research capabilities, analytical methods, and writing and other communication skills that are valuable in many fields.
The faculty in the Religion program at Claremont Graduate University enjoy a national reputation for scholarship of the highest caliber. Religion faculty members are widely recognized for successfully combining traditional modes of scholarship with new methodologies in the social sciences and the humanities. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of academic programs at CGU, students and faculty in the field of religion may also avail themselves of a broader forum of inquiry, including literature, history, cultural studies, education, economics, political science, and philosophy. CGU’s rigorous academic training has helped recent graduates to secure research and teaching positions in higher education as well as leadership positions in nonprofit organizations and religious groups.
The CGU Religion program owes much of its character and richness to its close collaboration with the Claremont School of Theology (CST) and with the five undergraduate Claremont Colleges. Under a formal agreement, 15 CST professors each teach two seminars per year for the CGU Ph.D. program. In addition, the CGU Religion department draws on adjunct professors, visiting scholars, and the faculties of several of the undergraduate Claremont Colleges, resulting in a total faculty of more than 35. Because of the low student-faculty ratio, seminars in religion are typically quite small, with most doctoral seminars ranging in size from five to fifteen students.
The quality of the relationships between students and professors yields collaborative research opportunities that have resulted in students presenting papers at such professional forums as the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Academy of Religion, the Southern California Women’s Studies Association, the Oxford Patristics Conferences, and the annual conference of the Whitehead Research Project. Faculty members play a mentoring role in the student’s graduate career and in the opening stages of the graduate’s professional life.
Students in the CGU Religion program benefit, too, from the presence at CGU, at CST, and in the wider Claremont intellectual community of such impressive resources as the Blaisdell Programs in World Religions and Cultures, the Institute for Signifying Scriptures, the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center, and the Center for Process Studies, as well as such regularly scheduled programs as the Patricia A. Reif Memorial Lecture, the Brownlee Memorial Lecture, and the Claremont Philosophy of Religion Conference.
Visitors to Claremont in recent years have included Hans Küng, Pope Shenouda III of the Coptic Church, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Mary Daly, and the Dalai Lama.
In addition to more than two-million volumes and over 70,000 journals available at the Claremont Colleges library system, CGU students in religion have access to the CST library, which contains over 250,000 volumes in the field of religion.