Catholic Studies

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Academic Building - SC 128
5151 Park Avenue
Fairfield CT 06825

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Chapel of the Holy Spirit‌  Globe & Books Statue

The Department of Catholic Studies aims to preserve, transmit, develop, and advance the interdisciplinary study and teaching of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. The Department of Catholic Studies, which is the University’s only department that intentionally and directly reflects the University’s Mission and Catholic Identity, provides students with a solid, interdisciplinary foundation in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition through teaching the University’s academic, signature core seminars: The Human Journey Seminars: Great Books in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.

Through seminar pedagogy, the two seminars provide students with an interdisciplinary understanding of the roots and development of The Catholic Intellectual Tradition as an ongoing 2,000 year old conversation between the community of Catholic thinkers, writers, and artists and the cultures in which they have lived, discussing fundamental questions about God, humanity, society, and nature. The two seminars will introduce students to fundamental claims of the Tradition and will be framed by the following enduring questions of human existence: what does it mean to be human; to live a life of meaning and purpose; to understand and appreciate the natural world; and to form a more just society for the common good.

Further, the Department of Catholic Studies offers students an interdisciplinary Minor or a Certificate in Catholic Studies which examines the Catholic Intellectual Tradition in its theological, philosophical, historical, literary, artistic, scientific, and professional expressions and explores the influence that tradition of ideas, beliefs and values has exerted on Western and global cultures. Students in the minor are encouraged to explore the potential influence the CIT may have on developing constructive and positive solutions to the social/political/economic/ethical and environmental issues that confront the contemporary world. Students in any major field of study will find a minor or Certificate in Catholic Studies a distinct way to broaden and deepen their understanding of their major discipline as well as provide them with skills and understanding that will support their professional work in the world after graduation.

In addition, the Department of Catholic Studies promotes faculty research, scholarship, and development, as well as offers the University community a wide array of colloquia, lectures, cultural events, conferences and study abroad opportunities which advance understanding and appreciation of the richness and breadth of Catholic intellectual thought.

Joining with the Office of Mission and Catholic Identity, Campus Ministry, and Student Life the Department of Catholic Studies also provides students with a variety of opportunities to explore Catholic intellectual, spiritual, and social thinking and action.

Courses in the Catholic Studies Minor or Certificate will enable students to:

  • Explain a significant Roman Catholic doctrine and show how the contents of the course interprets and expresses that doctrine within the context of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.
  • Describe a significant theme characteristic of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition as reflected in the course materials.
  • Evaluate the role of a Catholic institution, person, movement and/or idea in a discrete historical, philosophical, artistic and/or cultural period, according to discipline- specific sources and methodologies.
  • Explore the relationship of a theme, idea, claim or doctrine of Catholic intellectual thought to some aspect/issue/problem/topic of contemporary culture.

Catholic Studies Programs Offered


Latest News

Professors to Participate in Tradition and Innovation Summer Institute

May 10, 2016

FAIRFIELD, Conn.—Two Sacred Heart University Catholic studies professors will participate in the Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC) Tradition and Innovation summer institute, studying the works of writers and philosophers from ancient Greece to the present. Professors Joe Nagy and Marie Hulme will immerse themselves in core texts and examine works on morality, politics and the human condition this June. Both Hulme and Nagy will attend seminars at the University of Chicago for a week and then head to Columbia University for a week, learning about various ways to teach the texts.

Scholars Gather to Discuss Religious Texts and Dialogue in the 21st Century

February 26, 2016

FAIRFIELD, Conn.—Spiritual scholars gathered at Sacred Heart University recently to explore the importance of dialogue among leaders of various religions in the 21st century in a panel discussion titled “Jewish, Christian, Muslim Conversation: Sacred Texts that Unite and Divide.”

Apply Now for SHU’s Lilly Endowment High School Summer Theology Program

February 1, 2016

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – High school students interested in participating in a six-day faith experience this summer at Sacred Heart University should apply now. For the first time ever, supported by a grant from the Lilly Endowment, SHU and the Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport will collaborate in hosting a summer theology program, “The SHU Journey: To God and the World through the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.”