Theology professor in front of class

Theology Major/Minor

The Theology Department at Saint Mary’s seeks to engage learners in the ancient quest for meaning in truth, as those in faith continue to seek and understand God. The traditions of the Lasallian Catholic community frame and inspire our work.

Along with core Theology courses found in the integrated general education program, students who choose to major or minor in theology engage in advanced studies that enable them to further understand the complexity and integrity of the Catholic Christian faith, as well as its dialogues with other faith traditions.

Courses in the major area address the development of doctrine, Church history, the moral life, prayer and worship, justice and peace. Study abroad to better understand the global nature of the Christian faith is encouraged. Students who choose to complete the Theology major with a concentration in Pastoral and Youth Ministry will have the opportunity to do extended internship work in the field of their choice, on campus or abroad.  The major is structured to facilitate most students who desire to double major and complete their degree in four years.

Career Options

The theology major is recommended for students who plan to teach, serve church communities, engage in chaplaincy, so campus ministry, and work in faith-based social justice organizations. Knowledge of theology is also strong preparation for graduate studies in the liberal arts.

High School Preparation

High school courses that help prepare students for a major or minor in theology include English Literature, Religion, Psychology, Sociology, and World History.

Enhance Your Experience

Students who major in theology often pursue additional studies in leadership. Students are invited to engage in a cross-cultural experience through study abroad, S.O.U.L. service trips, internships, or campus ministry volunteering opportunities.

Theology Minor

Theology minors find it supplements almost any major, including business, education, history, human services, music performance, philosophy, psychology, and sociology, and the sciences. A minor in theology can also further a student’s personal quest to better understand his or her relationship to God and the Church.

Degree Requirements

A. All of the following

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.

TH220 Introduction to the New Testament (3 cr.)

Students survey examples of texts from the Pauline, Catholic and Pastoral Epistles, the Gospels and Acts; Hebrews and Revelation are also introduced. Working with the interpretive strategies gained in TH210 Introduction to Old Testament, students begin to assess the dynamics of interpretation through the completion of an exegetical paper.

TH260 Foundations in Catholic Theology (3 cr.)

This course is an introduction to Catholic theology that explores fundamental tenets, e.g., the Triune God, the creation of the cosmos and humanity, sin, grace, salvation, revelation, sanctification, and sacramental imagination. Students attend to the development of these creedal doctrines building on their biblical understanding of how these doctrines frame the human experience through a coherent system of thought, which addresses the challenges that modernity and post-modernity pose to the Christian world view. Students who have taken TH209 Methods in Catholic Theology should not take this course.

TH285 Method in Theology (1 cr.)

This course is required as an entry into the academic discipline of Theology, addressing the development of doctrine, hermeneutics, and examination of context and application.  It is meant to be taken immediately after TH260 Foundations in Catholic Theology or concurrently.

TH317 The Search for Truth (3 cr. cr.)

Systematic theology arose out of multiple needs: for greater understanding and organic development, for self-definition in continuity with received revelation, to contribute to the wider society's concerns and problems, and to enculturate received tradition.  This course is a seminar that explores moments and great books in the search for Truth between 451 and 2000 AD, with particular attention to the High Medieval period, the Enlightenment, the global expanse of Christianity, and second half of the 20th century.

TH322 The Virtuous Life (3 cr. cr.)

Every religious worldview has an understanding of the good life, and what it means to be good.  Within Judaism and Christianity there are schools of thought in the moral theology (for example, virtue theory, divine command theory, natural law theory, biblical ethics, etc.), as well as a broader concern with social justice issues (commonly called Catholic Social Teaching).  This course explores some of those schools of thought and the challenge of social justice through key texts and experiential learning.  This course engages in a supplementary global learning engagement through Catholic Relief Services University.  Students will research and present the challenges of a difficult ethical issue of their choosing.

TH351 The Sacramental Imagination (3 cr. cr.)

Through incarnation, the Christian worldview has a language for God's presence in the created order through sin, and in Catholic theology, this is called the sacramental imagination.  This course will introduce modern models of sacraments and liturgy, historical development of both, but also how the sacramental imagination works in venues outside the Church walls (the natural environment, the life of prayer, the meaning of the human as imago dei, the visual arts and architecture, more).

TH359 Controversial Questions (3 cr. cr.)

In every age, Christianity has addressed controversial questions, and sometimes has been the source of them.  This course looks at a variety of contemporary controversial questions and how they may be answered through strong theological method and research. 

TH475 Integrative Research Seminar (3 cr.)

Majors prepare professional credentials as well as collaborate with a professor to conduct research within an area of their interest and the professor's expertise. Preparation of credentials may include development of a personal mission statement, resume, and certifications relevant to national standards for Catholic lay ecclesial ministry. Research approximates graduate-level study of classical and contemporary perspectives that are doctrinal, academic, and/ or pastoral.

B. Additional requirements

Plus 9 more credits in Theology (through other Integrated General Education Program offerings), or TH497 Internship in Pastoral and Youth Ministry, or an ancient language (Latin or Greek or Hebrew), or any course in Philosophy 

A. All of the following

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.

TH220 Introduction to the New Testament (3 cr.)

Students survey examples of texts from the Pauline, Catholic and Pastoral Epistles, the Gospels and Acts; Hebrews and Revelation are also introduced. Working with the interpretive strategies gained in TH210 Introduction to Old Testament, students begin to assess the dynamics of interpretation through the completion of an exegetical paper.

TH260 Foundations in Catholic Theology (3 cr.)

This course is an introduction to Catholic theology that explores fundamental tenets, e.g., the Triune God, the creation of the cosmos and humanity, sin, grace, salvation, revelation, sanctification, and sacramental imagination. Students attend to the development of these creedal doctrines building on their biblical understanding of how these doctrines frame the human experience through a coherent system of thought, which addresses the challenges that modernity and post-modernity pose to the Christian world view. Students who have taken TH209 Methods in Catholic Theology should not take this course.

TH285 Method in Theology (1 cr.)

This course is required as an entry into the academic discipline of Theology, addressing the development of doctrine, hermeneutics, and examination of context and application.  It is meant to be taken immediately after TH260 Foundations in Catholic Theology or concurrently.

TH317 The Search for Truth (3 cr. cr.)

Systematic theology arose out of multiple needs: for greater understanding and organic development, for self-definition in continuity with received revelation, to contribute to the wider society's concerns and problems, and to enculturate received tradition.  This course is a seminar that explores moments and great books in the search for Truth between 451 and 2000 AD, with particular attention to the High Medieval period, the Enlightenment, the global expanse of Christianity, and second half of the 20th century.

TH322 The Virtuous Life (3 cr. cr.)

Every religious worldview has an understanding of the good life, and what it means to be good.  Within Judaism and Christianity there are schools of thought in the moral theology (for example, virtue theory, divine command theory, natural law theory, biblical ethics, etc.), as well as a broader concern with social justice issues (commonly called Catholic Social Teaching).  This course explores some of those schools of thought and the challenge of social justice through key texts and experiential learning.  This course engages in a supplementary global learning engagement through Catholic Relief Services University.  Students will research and present the challenges of a difficult ethical issue of their choosing.

TH351 The Sacramental Imagination (3 cr. cr.)

Through incarnation, the Christian worldview has a language for God's presence in the created order through sin, and in Catholic theology, this is called the sacramental imagination.  This course will introduce modern models of sacraments and liturgy, historical development of both, but also how the sacramental imagination works in venues outside the Church walls (the natural environment, the life of prayer, the meaning of the human as imago dei, the visual arts and architecture, more).

TH359 Controversial Questions (3 cr. cr.)

In every age, Christianity has addressed controversial questions, and sometimes has been the source of them.  This course looks at a variety of contemporary controversial questions and how they may be answered through strong theological method and research. 

TH497 Internship in Pastoral and Youth Ministry (1-17 cr.)

Pastoral and youth ministry majors and religious education majors test their aspirations and apply their knowledge in professional and pastoral contexts. Students and the department's coordinator facilitate placement, planning, and assessment through the university's internship office. The internship involves a theological reading and reflection.

TH498 Internship Integration (1 cr.)

The Pastoral and Youth Ministry concentration has a nine credit internship.  This one credit course is offered to integrate the internship experience with the Theology core courses.  What questions did this internship raise?  How should they be addressed?  Students will work together to present a problem-based research poster that was raised and addressed through the internship.  These posters will be presented at the spring semester Celebration of Scholarship.

B. One of the following

HS211 Interviewing and Assessment (3 cr.)

Students practice and demonstrate skills for intentional attending, development of therapeutic rapport, culturally competent interviewing and assessment, and solution-focused intervention planning.

HS466 Non-profit Management (3 cr.)

TBA

PY211 Developmental Psychology (3 cr.)

This course explores the study of growth and development across the life span. Students are introduced to the reciprocal nature of biological, cognitive, social and cultural factors on the developing person. This is a research based introduction to understanding the expression of development in everyday life as it extends to family, friendship, youth ministry, school, neighborhood, sports, health care, and social services.

Overview

One may pursue a theology minor to supplement any major in the liberal arts, to further one’s knowledge of the human person’s relationship to God, or for personal development and interest.

Students may complete a Theology minor by successfully completing 18 credits in any set of Theology courses, including 9 upper division credits. TH285 Method in Theology, is strongly recommended to facilitate upper division work.