Department Chair: Jayme Hennessy, S.T.L., S.T.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 Catholic tradition has a long history of intellectual engagement with other disciplines in a shared commitment to pursue truth. This remains as true today as it ever was, and hence the great conversation of academic theology continues.
The Religious and Theological Studies Department helps students bring their critical and creative intelligence to bear on religious practices and beliefs, particularly as they intersect with daily life. 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 is appropriate for their interests and needs.
Majors in Religious and Theological Studies earn a versatile, strong liberal arts degree, valuable in multiple contexts. Many students find that an RTS major or minor enhances their chosen career path and thus add RTS to complement a second major. RTS students frequently enroll in graduate schools, not only in religion but also in business, history, and law. Others 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