Department Chair: Anthony F. LoPresti, Ph.D.
The academic study of religion is a unique and exciting field. Those engaged in its pursuits ask the “big questions” of life, relying on reason and revelation to wrestle with perennial questions of meaning and value. At Salve Regina, the Department of Religious and Theological Studies pursues a path in which religious faith and critical thinking are mutually enlightening. This kind of dialogue-across disciplines, cultures, and religious traditions-is at the heart of the Catholic intellectual tradition. The faculty embraces this tradition and considers the study of religion itself to be important in two distinct yet interrelated ways.
First, seeking a deeper understanding of the world’s religions is crucial to a liberal arts education in a global context. Studying religions, whether Christianity or other traditions, helps us explore who we are as human beings, both as individuals and as persons within cultures. Increased religious literacy leads to understanding, understanding leads to respect, and respect can lead to the sort of conversation that transmits wisdom.
Second, as has been true from the beginning of the great Catholic medieval universities, faith itself seeks understanding, which leads to theology. The Christian faith involves rather than excludes the intellect. This remains as true today as it ever was, and hence the great conversation of academic theology continues.
Thus, this department helps students bring their critical and creative intelligence to bear on religious phenomena, both Christian and non-Christian. This requires the study of information and ideas, but also engagement with the images, symbols, and spiritual experiences at the heart of religions themselves. Majors and minors have the opportunity to explore both the more broadly religious and more specifically theological courses offered. The focus areas outlined on the following pages can help students choose a path of study that suits their needs.
Majors in Religious and Theological Studies earn a versatile, strong liberal arts degree, valuable for both religious and secular pursuits. RTS students have gone on successfully to graduate schools, not only in religion but also in business, history, and law. Many of our graduates also enter directly into the working world, whether in church-related contexts, social services, education, or corporate life.
Program and Course Listings
The University confers undergraduate degrees in the following disciplines:ConcentrationMinor
The University offers a number of single discipline and interdisciplinary minors which students may complete to enhance their education.
CoursesReligious and Theological Studies