religious education

Religious Education Concentration

Sharing your faith is important. Teaching it well requires knowledge and skills. This major prepares you for success in teaching religion at the K-12 level, providing a broad range of theological knowledge and a thorough grounding in teaching skills.

You'll take theology courses exploring topics including biblical interpretation, moral theology and social justice, liturgy, Christian history, and more. At the same time, you'll take teacher preparation courses where you'll discover how students learn and how you can be an effective teacher within a larger educational system. You'll also complete two internships, arranged based on your individual interests and goals. You'll develop relationships with faculty from both the Theology and Education Departments who can be resources for you for years to come. This is the beginning of your future in religious education.

Degree Requirements

Educational Studies (a non-licensure major)

The educational studies major at Saint Mary's University provides opportunities for students to study education theory and examine the processes involved in teaching and learning. The program emphasizes the study of social and cultural factors that affect education institutions and the ways education processes are used in other settings. Students completing this major will connect education coursework to social advocacy by choosing a concentration in adult education contexts; child and family contexts; religious education; or youth development and leadership.

Many occupations in the areas of human services, psychology, sociology and theology include a need to understand education. The educational studies major prepares students to work in fields related to social and behavioral science, to pursue employment in the area of educational policy, to do graduate study in Education or a related field, and to enter the teaching profession in settings that do not require state licensure. (These include adult basic or adult ELL education, community education, environmental or outdoor education, Head Start, long-term volunteering, Montessori or Waldorf training, museum education, religious education and youth leadership.) The major is also appropriate for students whose special interest in law or business requires a deep understanding of educational issues.

Although the educational studies major does not lead to teacher licensure, it is possible to "cross over" during the undergraduate program from this major into an education major that does lead to certification. The major is also designed to support students who may be interested in pursuing a teacher licensure program at a later date. One way this can be accomplished is through an undergraduate completion program. Students following this path are encouraged to meet with School of Education advisors early in their course of study to identify which courses meet undergraduate general education requirements and also are needed for teacher licensure.

The educational studies major is a creative partnership between the departments of education, social science and theology based on their shared dedication to preparing undergraduates to provide educational services in diverse and rapidly changing settings. Guided by Saint Mary's mission, this major prepares students to make ethical decisions and to be effective advocates for those who are vulnerable in society. Each student declaring the educational studies major will have two academic advisors – one in education, and a second in social science (for concentrations in adult education contexts, child and family contexts or youth development and leadership) or in theology (for the religious education concentration).


Adult education contexts (e.g., behavioral and mental health, recreation or program development)

Child and family contexts (e.g., school readiness and developmental intervention programs)

Religious education (e.g., schools, parishes and curriculum development)

Youth development and leadership (e.g., behavioral and mental health, mentoring and recreation)

A. Educational Studies Core

(20 credits)

ED250 Human Relations, Cultural Diversity and Indian Cultures (2 cr.)

This course provides a general introduction to human relations, cultural diversity and Indian cultures as these concepts relate to teaching and learning in the K–12 classroom. Emphasis is placed on providing the students with additional knowledge, expertise or skills in creating a classroom learning climate conducive to supporting differences in cultural, ethnic, racial and gender backgrounds. Special emphasis is placed on gaining an understanding of Minnesota and Wisconsin Indian cultures.

ED306 Learning and Development (5 cr.)

In this course, the concept of learning is examined through the cognitive, social-emotional, moral and physical developmental stages of learners.  Principles of teaching and learning are developed in the context of learning theory, teacher effectiveness, learner differences, and building a positive classroom climate.  Students engage in the central question:  What do highly effective teacher leaders know, think and do with respect to learning, development, and learner differences?  Students also participate in a significant clinical experience.

ED307 Educational Technology (1 cr.)

This course is designed to prepare future teachers to utilize 21st century technology tools in and out of the classroom to improve student-learning opportunities.  Pre-service teachers will learn how to engage with current technologies for instruction, identify multi-media tools to support student learning, and become familiar with tools of technology that can be used to communicate effectively with parents and students. An electronic portfolio will be used to demonstrate learning.

ES298 Field Experience (1-9 cr.)

Exploring the field of Educational Studies.

ES496 Integrative Internship Experience (1-12 cr.)


PY111 General Psychology (3 cr.)

General Psychology provides an overview of the methods, fundamental principles, and major perspectives which define the discipline of psychology. Intrapersonal and/ or interpersonal psychological processes involved in the biological basis of behavior, sleeping and dreaming, conditioning and learning, cognition, lifespan human development, abnormal psychology, and psychological treatment. Classical and contemporary research and perspectives including the biological, cognitive, behavioral, psychodynamic, humanistic, sociocultural and evolutionary perspectives are explored. Students are actively involved through application, interactive exercises, simulations, and projects.

B. All of the following

(35 credits)

ED301 School and Society (5 cr.)

The initial focus of this course emphasizes historical, philosophical, and sociological foundations of education.  Students examine connections between theory and practice on topics within these contexts. Topics include today's students, teachers, school, teacher effectiveness, current issues, school reform, and professionalism. A second focus of the course is an extensive field experience where students observe and participate in elementary, middle, and secondary classrooms. Throughout the course an emphasis is placed on developing skills in human resources and the use of reflective practice in teaching.

ED302 Substance Abuse Prevention and Community Health (1 cr.)

This course is a general introduction to the effects of substance abuse and provides basic familiarization with chemical and public health education programs in the school and community. The course is designed to meet the Minnesota statue for obtaining a teaching license.

ED350 Curriculum and Instruction: Grades 5–12 (4 cr.)

This course is designed to prepare 5-12 pre-service teachers and educational specialists to incorporate current research-based instructional strategies into their classrooms and learn how to effectively build a positive classroom climate at the middle/high school level.  Students will learn how to work effectively at incorporating standards into unit development, design daily lesson plans that align with the standards, and construct assignments that support the diverse needs of learners. An emphasis is placed on developmentally appropriate practices and the diverse needs of learners.  Students participate in a guided clinical experience.

ED360 Reading: Grades 5–12 (2 cr.)

This course is based on the premise that every teacher is a reading teacher, and that teaching students how to learn from textbooks is as important as teaching them what to learn in specific disciplines. Major objectives of the course include using data to diagnose literacy difficulties, remediation of reading/writing deficits, effective instructional strategies for developing strategic readers and competent writers in content areas, and planning processes necessary to meet the literacy needs of students.

ED370 Educational Measurement and Assessment (2 cr.)

The purpose of this course is to help students understand and apply assessment theory to real-world situations. Appropriate practices for the construction, analysis, and interpretation of teacher-made and standardized assessment instruments are examined. Methods of monitoring student progress, evaluating student work and grading are practiced through a variety of student activities.

TH209 Methods in Catholic Theology (3 cr.)

This course explores the tenets and practices of theology through the study of the interpretations of Christian doctrines noted in the Nicene Creed and select catechetical texts. Issues of method, authority, and practical ministry are highlighted.

TH210 Introduction to the Old Testament (3 cr.)

Students survey examples from the Pentateuch, Prophetic, Historical and Wisdom texts, their forms, settings and theology. This survey incorporates an appreciation for some basic contemporary interpretive methods. Methods encouraged by Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation are studied.

TH310 Principles of Sacraments and Liturgy (3 cr.)

Students consider the history, theology, and practice of Christian sacramental life as they address the questions of ritual, celebration, and worship. The course also examines general principles of liturgy and ritual, as well as guidelines for planning and implementing pastorally effective liturgy.

TH345 Catholic Social Teaching (3 cr.)

This course acquaints students with the modern history and current application of Catholic social teaching, focusing on the themes of economics and work, life and death, and war and peace issues. Students engage both primary and secondary literature and examine how Christians critically think through social issues. A service learning component is offered.

TH350 Introduction to Catholic Moral Theology (3 cr.)

As the foundational class in moral theology, this course addresses the different moral theologies in the Catholic tradition, from virtue ethics to natural law. Contemporary issues are addressed as a means of explicating schools of ethical method and applying moral reasoning.

TH360 History of Catholic Thought (3 cr.)

Defining moments in Catholic tradition from earliest Christianity up to the First Vatican Council (1869–70) are investigated. Official Catholic teachings, major thinkers and cultural movements are considered for their insights into faith and human development.

TH400 Christology (3 cr.)

This writing intensive course studies the development and interpretation of Christian theological doctrine on the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. The course treats issues from the various interpretations of the Gospel tradition to the development of doctrine (particularly in the councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon) to modern interpretations of the role of Christ in systematic theology.

Please Note:

*Students in this concentration are encouraged to consider taking TH220 Introduction to the New Testament and TH375 Contemporary Catholic Thought as electives. TH270 Christianity in a Global Context is also recommended but not required.