Bachelor of Arts in Theology & Religious Studies

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What will I study?

Our Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Religious Studies will prepare you to critically engage the core questions of life. You will understand what religion is, how religions develop and the tenets of various religious traditions. You will also gain a theological appreciation for Christian—and specifically Catholic—history and theology. Our program enables you to use the resources of religious traditions to better understand and analyze contemporary questions in science, culture, ethics, and politics. 

In our degree program, you will develop skills such as:

  • The ability to think critically
  • The ability to write precisely, comprehensively and with depth
  • The ability to read and analyze complicated texts
  • The ability to articulate your complex ideas
  • The ability to appreciate culture at its most fundamental level

You will study:

  • The religious impulse and its various manifestations over many centuries of human history and how that impulse to engage the ultimate is still inspiring religious movements
  • Christian theology with emphasis on the Catholic intellectual traditions
  • How to apply ethical concepts to a broad range of situations
  • How to analyze contemporary cultural, political and scientific issues from a religious perspective.

The major in Theology and Religious Studies is 11 courses (33 credits), with one course in each of four areas — Biblical Studies, Theology and Spirituality, Ethics, and World Religions and Comparative Studies — and seven more courses.  The major in Theology and Religious Studies with a concentration in Theology is the same as the above, with the student taking at least three of the seven additional courses in Catholic or Christian theological areas.

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Why choose Theology & Religious Studies at SHU?

Our flexible and foundational degree will prepare you for many professional areas such as law, business, Christian ministry, and the health sciences. Our accomplished faculty, who are active in publishing books and articles and in presenting at national and international conferences in their fields, have doctorates from institutions such as Yale University, Fordham University, and the University of Iowa. They are dedicated to teaching and mentoring as well as committed to the development of the whole person. This program is a great complement, as a double-major or minor, to many areas of study. 

Will I have internship opportunities?

Yes, students in all majors are encouraged to complete an internship. We encourage you to speak to your advisor and the department chair about opportunities that are relevant to Theology & Religious Studies students. If you are interested in pursuing an internship, you should contact the Career Development and Placement Center for assistance in finding appropriate opportunities. Any internship for credit must also be approved in advance by the academic department.

Companies or organizations our students typically intern with:

  • Diocese of Bridgeport, various programs and offices
  • Local Catholic high schools
  • Local charities and social-advocacy organizations

Learn more about internships at SHU

Will I have research opportunities?

Yes, our students take specific high-level classes, including a major capstone, providing them with the opportunity to write original research papers.

Are there special admission requirements?

No, we have an open admission policy. Incoming first-year students and transfer students may declare the Theology & Religious Studies major when you apply for admission to Sacred Heart University.

Review SHU's undergraduate admission process

Will I be able to study abroad?

Yes, you can study abroad at our campus in Dingle, Ireland and take courses such as TRS 336 Theology & Native Irish Spirituality and other special topics courses. Semesters abroad are usually 2-3 week intensive experiences. Studying abroad situates a course in a context that encourages experiential learning. It is also gives you an opportunity for intellectual, cultural and personal growth.

Learn more about Study Abroad programs

What are my career options with a Theology & Religious Studies degree?

Religious Studies graduates pursue careers in the non-profit sector at the community, national or international level; federal, state or local government in policy or administrative capacities; local or international business; teaching; campus and youth ministry; church administration; or go on to law school or graduate school in a variety of fields.

Our graduates have obtained full-time positions with:

  • St. Joseph High School, Trumbull, CT 
  • St. Augustine School, Hartford, CT 
  • School of the Holy Child, Rye, NY 
  • The ONE Campaign
  • Inspirca, Stamford, CT 
  • Habitat for Humanity

Our graduates have also pursued graduate studies at Yale Divinity School, Arizona State University, Catholic University of America, and elsewhere.

Talk with one of our career counselors

What co-curricular activities are available?

Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies students are encouraged to join our various student clubs and organizations which feature small-group discussions with faculty every week. Students also participate in field trips to academic conferences and graduate schools to which they might apply.

What facilities and resources are available to students?

Very often our Theology and Religious Studies majors are interested in a career in teaching, therefore, many of our students serve as teaching assistants and tutors. Others are interested in graduate school, social service, and campus ministry. Close interaction with full-time faculty and opportunities for independent studies round-out our student's plan of study. Our department suite features a comfortable conference room, study space, and socialization space where students always feel welcome.