Studying the Relationships among Faith, Reason, and Culture - in Global Contexts

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As you are pondering studying with us, please take a look at the kind of questions that typically motivates students of theology and religion.

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Why should I major in Theology and Religious Studies (TRS)?

  • Are you the kind of person who searches for meaning in life? reflects upon faith, culture, and reason? examines the role of religion in the world? wants to make informed ethical choices? is fascinated by the interplay of religion and culture? Then you are very likely the right person to join fellow Villanovans in exploring these and related issues with our faculty.
  • In addition to nourishing your personal interests, the study of Theology and Religion is rewarding professionally. It enables you to understand the complexities of life on our planet and prepares you to make a positive difference in the world. In fact, employers in a wide range of fields value Theology and Religious Studies majors for being able to think outside of the box.

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What’s unique about a TRS major at Villanova?

  • We would argue that Theology and Religious Studies might well be among the most enjoyable majors at Villanova, because of the wide range of courses we offer and the inherent interest of our subject matter. Theology and Religious Studies is a very versatile major and has personal, intellectual, and professional advantages leading to many different job possibilities.
  • Also, our majors can be combined with another major or the five-year BA/MA program specially designed for VU Theology and Religious Studies majors. Our major is interdisciplinary even for students who choose not to double major. And, you can also choose TRS as a secondary major.
  • Finally, Theology and Religion courses at Villanova typically do not rely primarily on lectures; we mostly learn by discussing things thoroughly in class.

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I am interested in a double major. Can I do this with TRS?

  • Yes. It is easy to combine the TRS major with other majors. Actually, we are convinced that studying Theology and Religion is an interdisciplinary venture. Therefore, we encourage and welcome double majors. To facilitate studies in diverse fields of inquiry we have introduced a seondary major that by default is interdisciplinary.

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What are the requirements for being a TRS major?

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I’m thinking about becoming a TRS major. What do I do now?

  • Talk to people. One excellent resource is fellow students who major in TRS who would be glad to give you their perspective on Theology and Religion. You can find their names and email addresses by contacting our administrative assistant in our main office. Don’t be shy about contacting her; our students look forward to speaking to prospective majors.
  • TRS faculty are also happy to discuss the major. You probably already know a member of our department from the THL 1000 class or a second course in TRS. One faculty member is particularly designated to talk to prospective majors: our Director of Undergraduate Program. Simply contact the director and set up an appointment. You can also directly contact our department chair, or any other TRS faculty.

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Now I’ve decided to become a TRS major. What’s my next step?

  • It’s easy. Simply contact our Director of Undergraduate Program. The director will discuss with you all aspects of the program: options; requirements; program structure; concentration; course selection; and possibilities and opportunities for further studies.

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What kind of variety is there to TRS classes?

  • There is great variety to the courses you can take as a major in Theology and Religious Studies. Our department offers traditional courses in major fields (for instance, Hebrew Bible or Religion and Culture) but also courses, to give a few examples, on topics such as “Ethics of Life and Death,” “Global Poverty & Liberation Theology,” “Islamic Political Thought,” and “Catholicism in the United States.” Our faculty members are also always developing new courses, insuring that the variety of courses we offer will continue to expand.

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How much choice do I have in picking my theology and religion classes?

  • Plenty. Of the 10 or 8 courses you will take as a TRS primary or secondary major many are free electives. You typically select them in light of the concentration for which you register when you declare your major.

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What can I do with a TRS major?

  • The academic study of Theology and Religion prepares you to formulate responses to our world's most demanding questions, that is, for anything that requires intellectual, spiritual, and ethical skills in, for example, business or humanitarian, philanthropic and other non-profit, charitable, or religious organizations. There are many career possibilities for Theology and Religious Studies majors.

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What do TRS majors actually study?

  • We analyze religions and religious phenomena, read and interpret religious texts, examine ethical traditions and the complexities and pluralism of Christian beliefs and practices, analyze conditions that enhance or limit human life and dignity and the life of the planet - among others. In short, we study what enables us to formulate responses to our world's most demanding questions. Please explore more about the many facets of studying Theology and Religion.

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Can I also earn a master's degree in TRS at Villanova?

  • We offer a master's degree in Theology that is open to all VU students. Students who successfully major in TRS are highly qualified to enroll. You can read more about our graduate programs on our Graduate Studies page.
  • We also offer a five-year BA/MA program specially designed for VU Theology and Religious Studies majors.

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Issues that motivate TRS students

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  • meaning in life
  • questions about God
  • interplay of faith, culture & reason
  • Catholic tradition
  • qualification for leadership positions
  • role of religion in the world
  • making informed ethical choices
  • meaning of being human
  • understanding religions
  • complexities of religious beliefs & practices
  • caring about just & peaceful societies
  • theological discussions
  • underst&ing the Bible & other Christian classics
  • wondering about ritual, myth & mysticism
  • exploring history
  • concerned about human life, dignity & the common good
  • sustaining the life of the planet
  • contemplating the spiritual dimensions of life