Theology and Religious Studies

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Fast Facts: Theology and Religious Studies

  • Develops and deepens students' ability to read, discuss and write about theological, religious and biblical topics
  • Provides opportunities to examine religions of the world to foster cultural competence and understanding of diverse beliefs and traditions
  • Students articulate the role of faith, religion and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition in shaping meaning in personal and public contexts
  • Majors analyze contemporary critical questions in light of human dignity, social justice and religious values
  • Strong focus on critical thinking, ethical decision-making and effective communication skills
  • Department faculty work with students to tailor the major or minor to their educational and career goals

Program Requirements

Major: 40 credits
Minor: 24 credits

Research and Internships

Numerous internship opportunities are available that offer students significant leadership experience in religious or theological education, child or youth ministry, retreat work, or social justice. Department faculty work closely with students to identify and secure internships.

Careers

Graduates of this program are prepared for careers in Catholic or Protestant parishes/congregations, and social justice and community organizations, as well as for advanced graduate studies in theology and philosophy or in law, medicine, non-profit management.

Sample Curriculum

Here are some classes you could take as part of this major or minor. Please note that you would not necessarily need all of these courses to fulfill a major or minor. This list doesn't include general education courses. Be sure to create your course plan in consultation with your advisor.

Course Creation Center

Expand and Collapse Coursework

Expand and Collapse TRS 1101 - Intro to Christian Theology

Introduces students to the academic study of Christian theology (both Catholic and Protestant). Students are encouraged to discover the historical, theological, spiritual and ethical foundations of theology. Students will explore the religious dimension of human experience, God, salvation, evil, ritual, scriptures and community. Special emphasis is placed on issues affecting 21st century Christianity.

Expand and Collapse TRS 1102 - Sin, Suffering, and Salvation

Introduces students to the diverse ways that sin, suffering and salvation have been understood throughout the two millennia of Christianity. Specific focus is paid to current understandings and debates regarding the meaning and/or purposes of sin, suffering and salvation. Students gain knowledge of the intersections between Christianity and selected contemporary issues, including ethics, social, political, economic, or cultural issues.

Expand and Collapse TRS 1103 - Introduction to the Bible

An introduction to the academic study of the Bible and survey of major portions of its writings. Designed to acquaint students with the historical, literary, and theological character of the Bible as well as the contents of the individual texts that comprise the Christian Scriptures. Students will acquire familiarity with the literature of the Bible, become self-conscious and critical readers and interpreters, and reflect on the role of readers in the construction of textual meaning and interpretation.

Expand and Collapse TRS 1104 - Intro to Hebrew Scriptures

An introduction to the academic study of the Hebrew Scriptures and a survey of major portions of its writings designed to acquaint students with the literary, historical, and theological character and contents of the individual texts comprising this collection. This course investigates the political, social, religious and philosophical, and literary environments in which the Hebrew Scriptures originated in order to contextualize adequately the reading and study of the documents. It introduces the methodologies employed in the investigation of the texts of the Hebrew Scripture during the modern period and the major scholarly issues that this research has addressed.

Expand and Collapse TRS 1105 - Intro to New Testament

An introduction to and survey of the New Testament designed to acquaint students with the literary, historical, and theological character and contents of the individual writings comprising this collection. It investigates the political, social, religious and philosophical, and literary environment in which the New Testament originated in order to contextualize adequately the reading and study of the documents. It introduces the methodologies employed in the investigation of New Testament texts during the modern period and the major scholarly issues that this research has addressed.

Expand and Collapse TRS 1110 - Introduction to Catholicism

An introduction to Roman Catholicism from the perspective of the American Catholic experience. The course reviews the history of Catholicism from the emergence of Christianity to the present, with special attention to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. It surveys the Church's beliefs and practices, the exercise of authority, its sacramental life and liturgical traditions, moral norms, and relations with Protestant denominations and other major religious communities. The course also encounters the Church in its local setting and explores issues that U. S. Catholics find most challenging.

Expand and Collapse TRS 1420 - Introduction to Spirituality

An examination of spirituality and spiritual practice in the Christian tradition and other faith traditions. The course explores the history of Christian spirituality, classical texts of those who are recognized as models of spiritual practice, and the question of the personal development of contemporary spiritualities. Beyond the reading and critical analysis of texts, participants also choose one or several spiritual disciplines to practice gently throughout the course as a way of exploring their application to spiritual life today.

Expand and Collapse TRS 2101 - Contemporary Moral Issues

Provides an introduction to religious ethics, its sources, principles and impact upon global contemporary issues. Students are encouraged to develop analytical and critical thinking skills, as well as reflect on their own processes of moral decision-making. We will test our ideas about ethics by examining a broad array of issues in the twenty-first century and considering common ethical principles found in various religions and cultures of the world.

Expand and Collapse TRS 2110 - Introduction to Ministry

Introduces theologies and spiritualities of ministry and reflects on skills for lay ministers. Ministries that will be studied include religious education, youth ministry, social justice ministry, administrative ministry, and ministry to the sick and dying. This course is for anyone who intends to participate in some form of church ministry. Prerequisite: 1000 level TRS course or consent of the instructor.

Expand and Collapse TRS 2243 - Women and Religion

Examines the historical and cultural understandings of women in religions of the world. The course emphasizes the work of contemporary women thinkers who are exploring various dimensions of the question of women’s presence, exclusion and contribution to religion. Through historical and comparative study the course will provide both a critical and a constructive understanding of the contributions that women make to religions, as well as the influence of religions on the situation of women in the world. This course will acknowledge the heritage of women’s strength, resistance and celebration in responding to exclusion and oppression and look at some of the ways in which women today are seeking full and authentic participation in the life of their religious traditions and their communities.

Expand and Collapse TRS 2601 - Religions of the World

Surveys the major religious traditions of the world, focusing on an understanding of the religious world views and practices that shape culture across the globe. Explores basic teachings, rituals, ethics and conceptions of the transcendent and afterlife. Selected readings from these traditions include indigenous and oral religions, Hinduism, Buddhism as well as the religions of the West including Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Expand and Collapse TRS 2777 - Topics in Religion

Prerequisite: 1000 level TRS course or consent of instructor.

Expand and Collapse TRS 3110 - Gospel of John

A study of the Gospel of John is designed to acquaint students with the Gospel's narrative as well as its literary, historical, and theological dimensions and important themes. This course investigates the principal issues in Johannine research, literary features, attitude toward and role of women, world view and social setting, authorship, destination and purpose, composition, Christology and eschatology. The course examines significant passages used to support various scholarly views and develops exegetical skills. Prerequisite: 1000 level TRS course or consent of instructor.

Expand and Collapse TRS 3120 - Paul's Letters

Examines the letters in the New Testament whose authorship by Paul is undisputed (Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon) within the context of ancient letter writing and the socio-historical situations to which they were addressed. It considers in detail the political, social, religious and philosophical, and cultural environments in which Paul lived and wrote as well as the specific issues and themes addressed in the letters. The course explores the interpretations of Paul's views from ancient times to the present.

Expand and Collapse TRS 3130 - Prophets

Examines the phenomenon of prophecy as it emerged in the religion of Israel before, during, and after the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles. The course traces the development of the prophetic movement and its relationship to religious, social and political institutions as recorded in the Tanakh's prophetic corpus. The course takes a socio-historical, redactional and comparative and phenomenological approach to the prophetic material. It explores the material's literary and theological dimensions as well as feminist concerns lifted up by careful study of its images and characters. Prerequisite: 1000 level TRS course or consent of instructor.

Expand and Collapse TRS 3240 - Sacraments and Liturgy

Enhances the student’s appreciation for sacraments and worship. Students will reflect on how the Catholic sacramental system shapes the life of the Church and individual Catholics; seek to understand how the Church’s liturgy is the source and summit of life; and reflect on Vatican II’s understanding of the Church as People of God. Prerequisite: 1000 level TRS course or consent of instructor.

Expand and Collapse TRS 3310 - Rel Prspctv Living, Dying,Grvg

Consideration of questions related to suffering, dying, prolonging and manipulating life. Study examines topics related to the meaning and end of human life according to various religious and cultural viewpoints. Topics include the quality and sacredness of life, end of life moral issues, funeral rites, grief and mourning, suicide, and perspectives on life after death.

Expand and Collapse TRS 3311 - Rel Prspctvs Health Care Ethic

Explores a variety of concrete biomedical ethical problems within our society and the healthcare system from a diversity of religious and ethical perspectives. This course examines a number of current issues in healthcare. Attention is given to key principles relevant to healthcare ethics, including autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and justice.

Expand and Collapse TRS 3320 - Religion and Politics

Considers issues, problems and possibilities in the complex interaction of religion and politics. The goal is to enhance the student's appreciation for the difficulties encountered when religion and politics collude and collide. Students will reflect on tradition and ideas, as well as on personal experience. Specific issues relating to the connection between religion and politics will be discussed. These could include separation of church and state, freedom of religion, religious displays on public property, and religious institutions and the civil rights movement. Prerequisite: 1000 level TRS course or consent of instructor.

Expand and Collapse TRS 3350 - The Person & Mission of Jesus

This course provides a study of the person, mission and teachings of Jesus Christ in scripture, doctrine and contemporary theology. Particular attention is paid to historical Jesus studies. Course is designed to deepen understanding of the central figure of Christianity and provide a basis for Christian life. Prerequisite: 1000 level TRS course or consent of instructor.

Expand and Collapse TRS 4777 - Catholic Studies Seminar

Prerequisite: 1000 level TRS course or consent of instructor.

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  • "I can truly appreciate the firm theological foundation The College of St. Scholastica gave me: A foundation rooted in the teachings of the Catholic Church that is further enriched by the Benedictine background of the college. I would recommend any aspiring theologian to attend St. Scholastica."

    – Veronica Whelan, ‘11