Theology and Religious Studies at Seattle University addresses the experiences and realities of oppressed peoples and the integral relationship between religion and social justice in local and global contexts. The curriculum of the department of Theology and Religious Studies invites students to reflect upon their own experiences and questions about ultimate reality and provides the skills and understandings that the academic disciplines of theology and religious studies offer to address such experiences and questions.
The department contributes to students’ intellectual growth by helping them develop the skills and knowledge to engage critically and effectively with the multi-religious dimensions of human life. Students approach the study of Theology and Religious Studies in an integrated manner where they are introduced to multiple aspects of religion such as beliefs, faith, rituals, ethics, spirituality, and sacred texts.
Catholic and Jesuit
In keeping with the Jesuit, Catholic commitment of Seattle University, the Theology and Religious Studies department emphasizes an in-depth study of the Catholic tradition in dialogue with other religious and secular perspectives.
Ecumenical and Interreligious
Students study the internal diversity within Christianity and other religious traditions such as Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. Our majors and minors come from a wide variety of religious and non-religious backgrounds
Our faculty at Seattle University are not only academically exceptional, but they are engaged in the community and current issues.
Professor Jeanette Rodriguez, PhD, is a member of an international roundtable hoping to influence the Pope's next Catholic teaching. “We are very proud that Professor Rodriguez will be a member of this roundtable. It is a testament to her and to the expertise of the Theology and Religious Studies Department, who are directly connected to the spiritual issues of our time.”-- David Powers, PhD, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
Theology and Religious Studies associate professor Patrick Kelly, S.J. was an expert who contributed to the Catholic Church’s first major document on sports, “Giving the best of yourself: A document about the Christian perspective on sport and the human person,” which was released this June, 2018. Pope Francis wrote a two page letter introducing the document. Father Kelly spoke at the press conference announcing the document’s release at the Vatican on June 1. More here.
Theology and Religious Studies are two academic disciplines that study religion and spirituality from different angles. Our degree program enables you to have expertise in both, which will prepare you for a variety of professions or graduate programs. If your primary interest is in Christian theology, you may want to choose our specialization in Christian Theology. If your primary interest is in other religions and in interreligious dialogue, you may decide to specialize in Comparative Religion.
If you qualify, you may choose the option of doing the major in Theology and Religious Studies with Departmental Honors. It requires the same courses and specializations as the regular major, but adds research-related coursework in the senior year. This option offers an opportunity for motivated and capable students to engage in more extensive interaction with faculty and to complete challenging individual research projects that will further their personal and professional goals.
The Christian Theology specialization offers students an opportunity to explore the beliefs, texts, practices, and ethics of the Christian tradition from an in-depth, theological perspective.
If students want to study religions such as Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism in addition to Christianity, they may choose to specialize in Comparative Religion in which they examine these traditions in themselves or in dialogue with each other.
The honors major in theology and religious studies offers an opportunity for motivated and capable students to engage in more extensive interaction with faculty and to complete challenging individual research projects that will further their personal and professional goals.
In order to earn a minor in theology and religious studies, students must complete 30 credits in Theology and Religious Studies (THRS). This total includes the Core (UCOR) requirements of UCOR 2100 Theological Explorations and UCOR 3100 Religion in a Global Context. Although UCOR courses do not count toward the major in THRS, they do count toward the minor.
No, all you need is curiosity about how religion and spirituality relate to people’s lives and how they have an impact on societies and cultures. Some of our majors and minors are atheists or agnostics who just find religion fascinating as a powerful influence on history and on the contemporary world. Others are committed to a religious tradition and interested in exploring it more deeply. Our courses do not require a faith commitment, although such commitments are welcome.
Right after graduation our majors and minors have gone directly into the workforce at not-for-profit organizations such as L’Arche, churches in professional ministry positions, Catholic high schools as theology teachers. Some of our graduates have gone on to Master’s programs in theology and religious studies at Boston College, Notre Dame, Harvard, Union Theological Seminary, Duke, and Emory as well as Seattle University’s own School of Theology and Ministry. Others have gone on to Law School.
Absolutely. Many of our majors are double-majors who combine their interests in political science and Catholic social teaching by majoring in THRS and Political Science. Those who are interested in working for not-for-profits, NGOs, or local government might find it helpful to combine a major in Public Affairs and THRS, especially if they are considering the possibility of working for faith-based organizations. Since we have faculty interested in exploring the relationship between science and religion, we have had science majors pursue either a double major or double degree with THRS as one of their majors. Still other students are considering graduate work either within theology and religious studies or other fields, such as law, and add another major to expand their background.
Campus Ministry where they have opportunities to be student ministers for retreats, liturgy, ecumenical and multi-faith activities, and social justice and the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture (ICTC) where they engage in research, dialogue, and scholarship that furthers a greater understanding of Catholic thought and culture.
On April 18th, the Theology and Religious Studies Department hosted a book release for Peter Ely's Adam and Eve in Scripture, Theology, and Literature and Beatrice Lawrence's Jethro and the Jews at 7:00 pm in Wyckoff Auditorium.
THRS would like to congratulate Jeanette Rodriguez on the recent release of her book A Clan Mother's Call: Reconstructing Haudenosaunee Cultural Memory.