In our foundation course in the Core Curriculum, THL 1000, students study Christianity with a particular focus on Roman Catholicism. Animated by Augustine’s concern to relate Christian faith, reason and human culture, this course is organized around the fundamental question, What do I believe? Students embark on a journey that engages them in the quest of faith seeking understanding in the context of contemporary global religious, theological, and cultural pluralism. Students explore the faith-reason-culture relations through the academic lenses of theological and religious studies disciplines.

If you would like to study material not offered in a regular course, design more specialized courses in which you can work individually with a faculty mentor, or seek to become involved in research with faculty members, you can pursue an Independent Study course (THL 6400).

Before registering for this course you must complete a form which details the content and the evaluation methodology of the independent study. Forms are available in the department office.

Note: Only primary and secondary TRS majors may pursue an Independent Study course.

To enhance the academic experience in our programs we implemented distinctive capstone courses. They differ in significant ways from our other courses in that they lead you to reflect on the various components of your major and secondary major curriculum and to achieve synthesis in significant culminating experiences.

Capstone Course I: Research Seminar, THL 6300

Students normally take the research seminar in the junior year. The seminar focuses on individual or group research projects that participants design with the help of a faculty facilitator. It emphasizes your active role in the learning process, which implies limited reliance on lectures and extra weight given to you using the methods of THL/RST disciplines to explore fields and topics of interest to you on your own. Rather than repeating others’ work, your will independently (individually or in groups) wrestle with the unknown, discover knowledge, develop expertise in confined fields of research, and present your research progress and product to your peers.

Capstone Course II: Advanced Seminar, THL 6500


Taken in the senior year the advanced seminar stands as the culminating experience of your studies in the major and secondary major. Using higher-order learning, in the seminar, you consolidate and synthesize knowledge by bringing THL/RST fields together or putting elements of theory and/or practice together in an original form. The seminar is organized around student-lead conversations informed by the central theme studied and advanced in all programs offered by the THL/RST department: Faith seeking understanding, engaging culture. Students wrestle with the relationships between faith, religion, theology, and culture as experienced and studied throughout their undergraduate career at Villanova. With the help of a faculty facilitator students choose the seminar topics and teach them to their peers, simultaneously learning to organize and facilitate discussions. Thus, the seminar involves students communicating their explorations or discoveries. In other words, this communication includes a final product, and its precise form will vary by topic, encompassing the possibility of artistic expression as well as customary forms of scholarly communication.