Questions and Answers about Studying Theology and Religion at Villanova

Engage theology and religious studies as academic disciplines. Analyze central beliefs and practices. Study the relationships between faith, reason, and culture - in global contexts. Evaluate the significance of religion for personal, collective, and global life.

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At VU students study theology and religion within the conceptual framework of faith seeking understanding, engaging culture

Christian students gain deeper insight into their faith, students from other religious traditions achieve a better understanding of the uniqueness of their own tradition, and all acquire that advanced knowledge of the faith-culture-reason relations that are a vital part of the Villanova experience and a necessity for the educated person.

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The following FAQs further clarify our project of theological inquiry and religious studies.


Why should I major in Theology and Religious Studies?

  • 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. (We have additional major-related questions listed here.)
  • 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 Theology and Religious Studies 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 major 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 THL/RST 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 Theology and Religious Studies?

  • Yes. It is easy to combine the THL/RST 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 Theology and Religious Studies major?

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I’m thinking about becoming a Theology and Religious Studies major. What do I do now?

  • Talk to people. One excellent resource is fellow students who major in THL/RST 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.
  • THL/RST 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 THL/RST. 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 THL/RST faculty.

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Now I’ve decided to become a Theology and Religious Studies 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 Theology and Religious Studies 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 8 or 10 courses you will take as a THL/RST major 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 Theology and Religious Studies 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 Theology and Religious Studies majors actually study?

  • We analyze 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 Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova?

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

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Dr. Hadley is a senior staff member of the Jezreel Archaeological Expedition, working at Tel Jezreel, Israel. She is representing Villanova on the excavation team, and Villanova is also a consortium member for the excavation. Follow her blog ...

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"In fact, if I went back to college today, I think I would probably major in comparative religion, because that’s how integrated it is in everything that we are working on and deciding and thinking about in life today."

John Kerry, Secretary of State. Remarks at the Launch of the Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives. Full text. Video available with closed captioning on YouTube