Theology and Global Religion - The Primary Major

collage of images of religious symbols

A 30 Credit Hours Stand-Alone Program

The primary major emphasizes a broad understanding of Christian and non-Christian theological and religious traditions. You may complete it in conjunction with another major (that is, the traditional major).


3 Credit Hours

The Foundation Course in the CLAS Core Curriculum, THL1000 Faith, Reason and Culture.

6 Credit Hours

Two Capstone Seminars, normally taken in the Senior year.

18 Credit Hours

Elective courses in theological and religious studies.

--Nine elective credits may be taken from among the approved extra-departmental courses listed on this page. The TRS Director of Undergraduate Programs may approve additional courses (for example, a course taken overseas or particular themes or topic courses not listed explicitely in the University Catalog). Because such courses do not carry the Core Theology (CTHL) attribute, they will count toward the Major degree only with prior approval from the Director.

---The total number of elective courses from outside the TRS Department (including courses taken overseas) must not exceed nine credit hours.

Declaring a Major

1 You may declare the Primary Major any time, preferably during your freshman year.

Submit the Major Application Form provided by your college.


TRS primary majors may tailor their program to their specific educational and professional goals by choosing a concentration that gives shape and focus to the major. A concentration is a cluster of elective courses organized around a field of inquiry or an independent topic of your creation. It allows you to define your specific theological and religious interests by carefully choosing what courses you take as your electives. Courses from other departments may count towards your concentration, thus enabling you to make your concentration interdisciplinary.

In some concentrations, two elective courses outside the TRS Department may be in a classical language (Latin or Greek) or a critical language (Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, or Russian). They need the Undergraduate Program Director's prior approval.

This concentration is chiefly designed to give you a sense of the range and diversity in theological studies and permits you to discern the relevance of Christian theology for your live and values. It consists of one elective course in each of the following fields of inquiry for a total of 5 courses:

  1. Biblical Texts and Topics
  2. Historical Theology, History of Christianity, and Augustinian Studies
  3. Fundamental, Systematic, and Sacramental Theology
  4. Christian  Ethics
  5. Christian Spirituality

List of relevant courses

This concentration consists of 5 elective courses that engage topics in systematic, fundamental, and sacramental theology, theology and culture, philosophical theology, and philosophy of religion.

List of relevant courses

This concentration consists of 5 elective courses in biblical texts, topics, and traditions and the sacred texts of, and topics in, non-Christian traditions.

List of relevant courses

This concentration consists of 5 elective courses in historical theology, history of the Christianity, and Augustinian studies.

List of relevant courses

This concentration is designed to accommodate the interests and career goals of students with broad interests that cannot be satisfied within one of the other concentrations. Students clearly articulate educational and career goals in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Programs, and then choose elective courses consistent with these goals. Students may concentrate in one particular field of inquiry or pursue an overarching theme or cross-disciplinary interests.

Students choose 5 elective courses from the offerings of the THL/RST Department. Students may complete elective courses, including classical or critical languages, outside the THL/RST Department that are approved by the Director of Undergraduate Programs.

List of relevant courses

This concentration consists of 5 elective courses in spirituality, contemplation, and mindfulness studies.

List of relevant courses

This concentration consists of 5 elective courses that engage questions of Christian living from biblical, ethical, peace and justice, social, and Catholic Social Thought perspectives.

List of relevant courses

This concentration consists of 5 elective courses that engage the faith–culture relationship from diverse perspectives: faith and science; religion, media, and literature; science and religion; religion and society; and theology and culture.

List of relevant courses

This concentration encourages students to understand those whose values and senses of the sacred differ from our own. It consists of 5 elective courses in Christianity and the non-Christian religions of the Middle East, South, Southeast and East Asia.

List of relevant courses

Program Learning Goals

Goal 1

Gain an understanding of the purposes, central issues, and methods of inquiry standard in theological and religious studies as applied to faith engaging culture.

Objective A

Analyze fundamental issues that frame theological and religious inquiry using appropriate scholarly methods, with attention to diversity and inclusion within the issues.

Objective B

Use critical methods to read, analyze, and interpret diverse religious and theological texts (e.g., women, minorities, non-western) and related genres or media, art, and artifacts (e.g., prayer, mystical writings, autobiographies, film, music).

Goal 2

Engage Christianity, with attention to Roman Catholicism, as a living tradition of practices and beliefs that continues to be refined, developed, and extended through time in diverse cultural contexts.

Objective A

Demonstrate understanding of the unique vocabulary, foundational sources, theological beliefs, historical developments, and diverse thinkers in the Christian tradition, with attention to those that reflect on the experiences of power, privilege, and marginalization.

Objective B

Articulate how Christian practices and beliefs reciprocally interact with diverse cultural contexts, local and global.

Goal 3

Render theological concepts and religious practices and beliefs intelligible, meaningful, and relevant in contemporary cultural contexts as a basis for transformative action in the world, in dialogue with others.

Objective A

Recognize the complexity and diversity of religious practices and beliefs and seek to understand people whose values and senses of the sacred differ from their own.

Objective B

Evaluate the relevance of theology/religion for personal, communal, societal, and global living.

Revised 05/2017

List of Approved Extra-Departmental Courses

CHE 2930

Catholic Soc Teaching for EGRS

GIS 4275

Global Religions & the State

HIS 1060

Topics in Religion & Society

HIS 2280

Catholic Church in America

HIS 3018

Pagans, Jews, and Christians

HIS 4031

Islamic Civilization to 1800

HIS 4076

Jewish History

HUM 4000

Jews, Christians, Muslims: Dialog

PHI 2450

Catholic Social Thought

PHI 2900

Philosophy of Religion

PHI 2910

Mysticism & Philosophy

PHI 3100

Augustine & Antiquity

PHI 3120

Augustine & Modernity

PHI 3410

Thomas Aquinas

PJ 2600

Catholic Social Teaching

PJ 2900

Ethical Issues in P & J

PJ 3400

War and Morality

PJ 4600

Global Poverty & Justice

PJ 5400

Ethics, Justice and the Family

PSC 3440

Politics and Religion

SOC 2600

Sociology of Religion

THE 3010

Mindfulness in Action