2018-2019 Academic Catalog

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Religious Studies, Theology, and Philosophy

Program Overview

Through attention to ultimate concerns, reflective thought, critical analysis, reading, and integration of knowledge from diverse fields, the Religious Studies, Theology, and Philosophy Programs advance the mission of the College of Saint Elizabeth by offering distinct degree and non-degree opportunities at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. These opportunities support the development of women and men who are skilled critical thinkers and responsible moral agents, and who will continue the quest for meaning, self-realization and fulfillment as social contributors.

In the Philosophy minor, undergraduate students are introduced to the nature of philosophical thinking and to the perennial philosophical questions concerning the nature of reality and humanity’s place in reality.

In Religious Studies and Theology, both degree and non-degree undergraduate and graduate students encounter a community of learning nourished by belief in God the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sanctifier, by the treasury of human wisdom, and by respect for the dynamics of inquiry and action.

The Theology Program:

  • Is committed to helping students acquire an understanding of truth and value that is supportive of their complete development as persons, to assisting them in obtaining knowledge of some of the core concepts and ideas which have served to shape human civilization, and to guiding students in their development of basic principles of reasoning and method.
  • Affirms that character development is crucial for excellence in any discipline, and especially to the pursuit of wisdom, which is focus of theological and philosophical study, and to inquiry as faith seeking understanding, as well as critical reflection on religious experience.
  • Seeks to provide students with developmentally appropriate opportunities for intellectual and moral growth, as well as for spiritual growth in keeping with the Catholic concern for the dignity of each human person.
  • Serves the College by providing a distinct disciplines and unique opportunities to formulate and examine a coherent worldview, and to integrate knowledge from diverse areas of study.
  • Prepares undergraduates for participation in professional philosophical activity and for future academic study, as well as potential careers in strategic consulting and law, as well as for participation in professional theological activity and for future academic study, and offers academic formation for individuals in ministry.
  • Is committed to the examination of core values of truth, justice, and reconciliation in light of the compatibility of Revelation and reason, as well as to interfaith dialogue, and to helping students better understand and live out their respective religious commitments and traditions in recognition that respect for human dignity extends to the support for religious freedom.


The Religious Studies/Theology Program provides a variety of degree and non-degree opportunities at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, each with distinct learning outcomes; these opportunities include:

  • B.A. in Religious Studies
  • Minor in Ethics Studies
  • Minor in Religious Studies
  • Minor in Philosophy
  • M.A. in Theology
  • The Interdisciplinary Certificate in Ethics Studies
  • Undergraduate Ministry Certificates in Diaconal Ministry, Parish Life Ministries, Pastoral Administration, Religious Education, and Youth and Young Adult Ministry, as well as a Leadership Certificate in Hispanic Ministry.
  • Graduate Certificates in Catholic Studies, Pastoral Care, and Spirituality.

Undergraduate students in Religious Studies will:

  • Identify the central Catholic Christian teachings and correlate these with the religious language, concepts, imagery and critical questions central to the Christian study of scripture, doctrine and morality. These will be assessed by course examinations.
  • Recognize the role of religious faith in the life of the human person and its impact on both humankind and other kind in the development of appropriate moral, intellectual and spiritual awareness through encounter with Catholic Christian teaching and praxis. These will be assessed by an evaluation of class participation, presentations and written reflections.
  • Demonstrate basic familiarity and appropriate use of scholarly and catechetical resources which will be assessed through the student's producing quality research papers and catechetical projects.
  • Recognize the major events and movements within Christianity and understand the importance of respect and dialogue between Catholic Christianity and other religious traditions and communities.

Ministry certificate students will:

  • Convey a basic understanding of Scripture and revelation, as well as skills in Scriptural literacy and interpretation.
  • Exhibit a fundamental knowledge of central theologies, including Christological and Trinitarian Theology, Theology of Church, Liturgical Theology, Theology of Ministry, Sacramental Theology, and Theology of the Human Person.
  • Demonstrate a coherent grasp of ethical theories, principles, and application, as well as an informed capacity for sound decision making and moral responsibility
  • Develop personal and pastoral awareness and skills, such as familiarity with ecumenical and inter-faith interactions, information literacy, organizational leadership, and life-cycle issues.
  • Articulate a vision of Catholic faith and demonstrate growth in understanding of self as a minister an adult person of faith and formation-driven activities and interactions.

Graduate Theology students will demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the core areas of theology, inclusive of Christian thought and praxis by being able to:

  • Situate and appraise the doctrinal, spiritual and ethical developments in theology, including Catholic Social Teaching, ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue, as evidenced through the Comprehensive Assessment Process.
  • Read and assess scholarly texts by being able to identify the author's project and thesis, relevant arguments and correlate these with the factors important to various contexts.
  • Recognize and classify differences in theological thought and apply the methodology appropriate to each of the major areas of theology as specified on syllabi.
  • Construct a theological essay bringing research to written expression in a coherent, analytical fashion.

The Ethics Studies Minor and Certificate is an interdisciplinary and multifaceted program of study providing integrated and substantive training in ethics, meta-ethics, moral philosophy, and moral theology. The program includes the examination of both moral theory and application.

In conjunction with the DePaul Center for Mission and Ministry, the Program provides certificate programs for those interested in preparing for various church ministries. To meet the needs of the students, we offer classes on campus, at off-site locations in New Jersey, and totally online. These programs are designed for those currently serving in parish ministry roles, those wanting to prepare for ministry roles, and those wishing to come for their own personal growth and development. Certificate programs include pastoral internship and formation components. The certificate credits may be transferred into other programs of study leading to baccalaureate degrees.


The Program also offers those who are not pursuing degrees in religious studies or certificates an introduction to reasoned thought and theological concepts.

Students completing the degree in religious studies are equipped with the background to succeed in advanced educational pursuits, and professional careers.

If a student is preparing for Church ministries, such as Pastoral Ministry, Youth Ministry, Faith Formation, and Pastoral Administration, the Religious Studies major provides the theological foundations for active involvement in Church life, both professional and otherwise.

In addition, the emphasis on rigorous and creative thinking in Religious Studies will enable one to enter higher level training in a variety of professional fields, including:

  • Higher Education
  • Law
  • Literature
  • Philosophical or Theological research and writing

Graduates from the Religious Studies Program have gone on to become:

  • Chaplains
  • Directors of women's rights organizations
  • Editors
  • Lawyers
  • Pastoral ministers
  • Physicians
  • Religious education coordinators
  • Researchers
  • Strategic consultants
  • Teachers
  • Youth ministers

More than half of CSE religious studies graduates go on to receive graduate degrees.