Is Dominican University Of California A Religious School?

If you think of religious schools as places where religion dominates campus culture and is emphasized through the curricula, you may see that the Dominican University of California is not expressly one of them. However, if we define religious schools in terms of affiliation to a particular faith, then it is. Let’s find Is the Dominican University Of California is A Religious School?

Is Dominican University Of California A Religious School?

Founded by Religious People and it Evolved  

When some Catholic missionaries laid the foundation for the Dominican University of California in the 1800s, operations may have been influenced by religiosity. But today, even though the school still houses a convent in the heart of its campus, and offers Religion as part of a minor graduate course, it does not train its students to become members of its founding faith. It is not recognized as a prayer ground either. If anything close, the school ultimately molds students’ character to become socially responsible. Let’s explore the evolution of the university in a factual context.  

Some key facts about the Dominican University of California  

  1. It was formerly named Dominican College of San Rafael until the early 2000s. 
  2. The university had begun diversifying its curriculum some eight decades before the millennium. 
  3. The new millennium helped the university define its purpose within a global outlook and away from any religious emphasis. During this time, the school was granted university status.
  4. At least 60 programs of study, including the liberal arts, sciences, and professional courses, are currently available to both female and male students in the school.
  5. Further committed to diversity and inclusion, the university fosters a sense of community through several active student clubs and organizations. 

Gaining admission into the university

The Dominican University of California values diversity in all aspects of its operation including admissions, thus the requirements for gaining entry are not discriminatory. It is a co-educational institution, which means that it admits both male and female students, even though women were the primary recipients of its B.A. degrees before 1971. 

You are also not required to be Catholic or a member of the Christian faith to be a student. According to the school’s official website, some basic criteria for admission are a Grade Point Average (GPA) indication, transcripts, and SAT/ACTs. The university also gets to know you better beyond your scores. 

Religious Activities on Campus

As already established, the Dominican University of California is not outrightly a religious school, even though it exudes a religious aura that has contributed to its success in shaping students’ world perspectives. There are a few routine religious activities in the university, like the baccalaureate mass and tree-lighting ceremony where students get invited to attend, and at the very least network, and make memories. 

Getting a Religious Education from the School

Philosophy and Religion are offered in the university, but the course contents are not primarily based on the tenets of a particular religion, such as Catholicism. Rather, students learn to investigate the complex nature of our world. T

hat being said, the university does not provide academic training for you to become religious, an expert in religion, or even a priest. Any chance at such would be on a different path of joining the Dominican Sister of San Rafael in the affiliate convent on campus where you can focus on the things of God, like understanding and preaching His word. 

This is the closest you get to religious education within the university, especially if a young Catholic woman.

Is it Beneficial to Go to a Religious School? 

What exactly is good about enrolling at a faith-based institution–whether Catholic, Jewish, Pentecostal, or even Islamic? Is it all about studying the holy books during school sessions? Are you being prepared for the priesthood or life alone in the wilderness, fasting and praying? These are some of the questions many families have, especially in preparing their children for the future. Well, the private Gilmour Academy, a catholic boarding establishment in Ohio provides some genuine answers via its official website, where it subtly expressed that not all religious schools are entirely religious and that gaining exposure, belonging to a community, growing in a stable environment and receiving good education are some key benefits to consider. 

So, a religious school can facilitate the all-around development of a student, and more so around discipline in faith and spirituality. 

Are there many religious schools in California?

A simple internet google search entered as “Religious Schools in California ” would reveal a long list of religious schools in California that offers religious education, especially as a degree program. 

There are also dozens of them, particularly Christian schools in San Rafael. It is often important to visit the official website of a preferred searched school or call the information lines so you can make a good decision about your personal and professional goals. 


A lot of schools founded by missionaries do not necessarily operate a faith-based curriculum. The Dominican university in California is one of them as it is affiliated with the catholic church but still teaches secular courses. Such schools ultimately serve the educational needs of their immediate community and often present an opportunity to do good in society for those enrolled, especially in the area of peace and social justice. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Can you join a religious school without test scores?

Like most formal institutions, there are major testing requirements you must fulfill to be considered for any enrolment. 

2) Does the religious school make you a good person? 

Religious schools can provide direction on how one can live a morally upright life. However, you have to decide to do good on your own and always because it helps make the world a better place. 

3) Is it mandatory to follow the rules in a religious school? 

Religious schools are like sacred places with a lot of discipline. The atmosphere is often determined by a particular doctrine that every student is required to heed. 

4) Who heads a religious school?

Usually, a tined, senior spiritual leaders like a bishop, a priest, a nun, a sheik, or an imam supervises operations.