Religious Studies

Department Location

Academic Building HC135
5151 Park Avenue
Fairfield, CT 06825

Department Chair

Brian Stiltner, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Contact Us

Tel: 203-371-7730
Fax: 203-371-7731

Throughout the history of culture, religion has played an enormous role in shaping and determining human actions, perceptions, and institutions. We believe that one cannot fully understand oneself as a human being, nor understand ones culture and society, without complex exploration of the religious dimension of human experience. Questions of fundamental human meaning, which are therefore religious questions, are implicated in every field of the humanities. In addition, every applied course of study—from business to education to medical care—will benefit from knowledge of the religious and moral beliefs of diverse cultures.

Humanistic in its orientation, the study of religion relies partially on the social sciences for its methodological apparatus. The student of religion must learn to play the roles of anthropologist, sociologist, and psychologist, as well as philosopher, historian, and literary critic. Specific courses in the Program examine the various symbols and myths, rituals and creeds, events and institutions that illuminate religious imagination and understanding. In addition, we encourage students to investigate the cultural interaction between religion and both the natural sciences and the arts. Finally, we offer opportunities to study particular religious traditions in depth, including a comprehensive set of courses in Catholic theology.

Programs Offered

Our Mission

The Religious Studies Program's mission is to provide opportunities for students to explore the general human longing for religious meaning and purpose. It also offers opportunities to explore in significant depth various religious traditions, including a comprehensive set of courses in Catholicism. Religious Studies courses offer students four opportunities:

  • To demonstrate knowledge of the “ways of thinking” that are characteristic of religious traditions
  • To think critically about basic questions of human meaning.
  • To apply the perspectives of religious studies to other courses of study and to matters of ethical, civic, and intellectual responsibility.
  • To develop analytical and critical thinking, writing, reading, and speaking abilities.

The program accomplishes its goals for all students in the core curriculum: each Sacred Heart University student is required to take the foundational course—TRS 101, Introduction to the Study of Religion—and must choose at least one additional elective from either Religious Studies or Philosophy. In addition, students may explore these opportunities systematically by choosing a major or minor in Religious Studies. The Religious Studies Program provides learning opportunities that can be tailored to your individual needs and interests.

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