In its entry for the University of Calgary the 1969 edition of the Guide to Religious Studies in Canada (ed. C.P. Anderson) noted that there were no Religious Studies courses required for a B.A. degree, no department or programme in Religious Studies, and only three undergraduate courses pertaining to religion in all the departments of the Faculty of Arts and Science. Addressing this gap in its Humanities area coverage, the University began to make academic appointments in Religious Studies in the early 1970's. In 1971 a new Religious Studies programme was started, offering three courses. Twelve years later (1983) the programme had grown to become a department, offering fifty courses to some 450 enrollees. In 1984 the programme expanded to include a graduate level (MA). Last, a PhD programme was added in 1996. With an annual enrollment of approximately twenty-five graduate students, the department presently offers more than seventy-five courses with 2500-3000 annual undergraduate course enrollments.
Once overshadowed in western Canada by older and larger departments at the University of Alberta and U.B.C., Calgary's department of Religious Studies is now the only department in the province of Alberta. The department is nationally distinguished by its balanced coverage of the field and the major traditions in world religions.