Department of Religious Studies

"As a Catholic University, Saint Xavier promotes the vigorous discussion of religious ideas. This conversation must strive to include the myriad and various voices of the Catholic tradition, past and present, as well as the voices of teachers and students from all traditions. It is a particularly Catholic purpose to understand the differences among those voices clearly and distinctly, to celebrate these differences, to discern what these voices have in common and to engage them in conversation with the Catholic tradition."
From "A Vision of Catholic Identity" adopted by the Board of Trustees, 1994.


As a Catholic institution of higher education sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Saint Xavier University recognizes the integral role of religion in human life and honors the place of the study of religion in a liberal arts education. In light of this commitment, Saint Xavier University has a department of religious studies, which is expansive enough to encompass the centrality of Catholic theological disciplines within its curriculum, as well as the myriad of voices exploring the world of religious ideas. Thus, the department offers students opportunities to engage in sophisticated and responsible study of their own religious tradition, as well as careful and respectful study of other religious traditions.

The purposes and programs of the department of religious studies aim at fostering critical and informed perspectives on religion and religious traditions. The department is a place where the breadth and depth of the Christian tradition is freely explored, and where the ecumenical and interfaith dialogue inaugurated by the Second Vatican Council is richly embodied in an array of courses and sequences of study.

The department's specific aim in respect to majors in religious studies is twofold: 1) to prepare women and men for entry-level positions in religious education, ministry and various service occupations; 2) to prepare students for graduate studies, particularly in religious studies (i.e., biblical studies, church history, comparative religions, ministry and theology).

In light of its mission and the University's deep roots within the Catholic tradition, the department's curriculum is especially designed to explore and express the Catholic theological disciplines. Catholic studies holds pride of place by engaging the Church's teaching in ecumenical dialogue and by celebrating a God who exists as infinite Mystery.


M. Bathgate; A. Canty; T. Martin; M. O'Keeffe; K. Waller    

Requirements in General Education

Students must take 2 courses offered by the department to fulfill the general education requirement in religious studies. 

All courses in religious studies are 3 credit hours unless otherwise noted.

Major in Religious Studies

The major in religious studies consists of a minimum of 39 credit hours in the department, 6 of which may be fulfilled by the general education requirement in religious studies. In consultation with a departmental advisor and with the final approval of the department, majors will formulate a program of studies that best suits their educational and career objectives. All major programs must include the following:

Biblical Studies

Theological Studies

Choose two courses from the following:

Comparative Studies 

Choose one course from the following:

Historical Studies

Choose one course from the following:

Theological Ethics

Choose two Electives in RELST (6 credit hours)

Choose at least three 300-level seminars (9 credit hours)

The department strongly encourages students who major in religious studies to develop a significant body of complementary work, perhaps leading to a second major or a minor program of study in another academic area of the University.

Minor in Religious Studies

The minor in religious studies consists of 18 credit hours, 6 of which may be fulfilled by the general education requirement in religious studies. Minors may fulfill the requirements by successfully completing any 4 or more additional courses from those offered by the department, including one seminar.

Minor in Catholic Studies

The minor in Catholic studies consists of 18 credit hours, 6 of which will fulfill the general education requirements in religious studies. The program of study should include the following:

Choose two courses from the following Theological Studies offerings:

Choose at least one course from the following Historical Studies offerings:

Choose two elective courses to complete the program.

Undergraduate Certificate Program

In order to recognize the academic development of students who pursue their interest in a particular area of religious studies beyond the minimum graduation requirements the department offers four 12 credit hour certificates. These certificates will be granted in collaboration with the students themselves in order to recognize the specific area to which they have devoted their attention. Students may choose one of the following certificate areas. Additional courses may be approved by the department.

Biblical Studies Certificate

Choose four courses from the following:

Catholic Perspectives on Health Care Certificate

Choose four courses from the following:

Comparative Religious Studies Certificate

Choose four courses from the following:

Christianity and Culture Certificate

Choose four courses from the following: