“...it might well be said that one’s education is not complete without a study of comparative religion or the history of religion.”

United States Supreme Court Justices Clark and Goldberg
in Abingdon v. Schempp


The Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania offers a wide range of courses, undergraduate Majors and Minors, and a renowned PhD program. With particular strengths in the study of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and the African-American religious experience, it emphasizes historical and critical approaches, as well as interdisciplinary exploration within and beyond Religious Studies.


Chair of the Department: Justin McDaniel
Graduate Chair: Anthea Butler
Undergraduate Chair: Justin McDaniel

Featured Story

Tim Powell, Awarded an NEH Preservation and Access Grant, $300K

Tim Powell was awarded an NEH Preservation and Access grant ($300K) to serve as the project director overseeing the creation of a new digital guide to the Native American collections at the American Philosophical Society library.

Congratulations Tim! 

Penn Lightbulb Cafe presents "Why There’s Opposition to Depictions of Muhammad"

Jamal Elias, Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities in the Department of Religious Studies

After events like the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical weekly that routinely published caricatures of Muhammad, and on other satirists and cartoonists in Europe, many may be wondering if depictions of Muhammad are actually forbidden in Islamic scripture. From where does this aversion to pictorial representations arise? And are all Muslims similarly offended? Elias’ talk explores such questions within a broader context of cultural and political conflicts.

Event Date: 
04/07/2015 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Location: 
World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street