The Department of Religious Studies, University of Cape Town


The Department of Religious Studies, University of Cape Town

Religion has been studied at the University of Cape Town since 1967. Grown from humble beginnings, the Department today is home to four journals, three Institutes, and has consistently maintained a post-graduate enrolment of around 70 students. The Department has made important contributions to South African society, including playing a central role in designing a new curriculum for religious education in schools.

The Department of Religious Studies is located at the heart of the University’s Upper Campus and the Graduates from our department have gone on to make significant contributions to South Africa’s social and political transformation.

The Department of Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town is committed to research and teaching which will contribute to public life in our local, regional, national and continental context. The Department is dedicated to:

  • An open, plural, intercultural, and interdisciplinary study of religion in all its forms
  • The in-depth study of African religious traditions
  • The creative and critical analysis of religion as a force in personal, social, economic and political life
  • The promotion of quality education and research in the study of religion as a vital contribution to the transformation and development of South Africa

The mission statement is implemented through degree programs that focus on the broad theme of religion, culture and identity. The Department offers a systematic study of religion in public life, its meaning and significance in South Africa in particular and Africa in general.

The broad theme reflects the various research projects of the faculty members and institutes presently housed in the Department. In the first instance, the theme is explored in core courses team-taught by faculty members. These core courses provide the thematic, methodological and theoretical foundations for all students who choose to pursue degrees in the Department of Religious Studies. Additional courses continue this focus within the established areas of specialization: African Studies, Christian Studies, Comparative Studies, and Islamic Studies.

The Department has links with many international institutions and offers opportunities for student exchange with various universities, including the University of Uppsala (Sweden), Birmingham University (UK), Nairobi University (Kenya) and Emory University (U.S.A.)

The Clough Travel Scholarship offers students the opportunity to travel and study Eastern religion in an Asian country of their choice. As a student, you can gain valuable work and research experience with any of our research institutes and the opportunity to work with academic staff on various exciting research projects. As part of our commitment to creating a learning environment that is creative and stimulating, the Department hosts regular seminars delivered by staff members and visiting scholars.

The Department is home to three institutes dedicated to quality research in the study of religion in Africa. Each Institute is directed by leading researchers on the relationship between religion and developments in contemporary African culture and thought:

  • The Centre for Contemporary Islam (CCI)
  • The Research Institute on Christianity and Society in Africa (RICSA)
  • The International Religious Health Assets Program (IRHAP)

There are also three journals published through these institutes.


  • Address: Dept. of Religious Studies, UCT, Rondebosch, Cape Town, 7700, South Africa
  • Phone: +27 21 650 3452
  • Fax: +27 21 689 7575
  • Website:

Leave your thought here

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.