Religious Studies

A major or minor in religious studies offers an overview of the beliefs, practices, and values of Christianity and Judaism, as well as other religious traditions. While special attention is given to the Catholic tradition, course offerings are broad enough to benefit you in your own search for religious meaning.

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Goals

The Department of Religious Studies affirms that a sound concept of liberal arts education calls for the academic study of religion. Because such a study is judged essential for the individual’s personal and social fulfillment and also for the bettering of society, the scholarly investigation of religion occupies a central place in the curriculum of this institution. 

The general goal of the department is to introduce students to the academic study of the religious beliefs, practices, and value systems that constitute the Judeo-Christian tradition and to familiarize students with some other religious traditions of the world. Because of Marywood’s religious affiliation, special attention is given to the Catholic tradition and to the theology that has emerged from it. The offerings are broad enough, however, to benefit all students in their attempts to come to terms with their own personal religious roots and to provide them with the opportunity to under­stand and appreciate the search for religious meaning as a fundamental dimension of human experience. 

The curricular objectives of the department are to enable all students to: (a) explore the religious dimension of life, respectful of its multiple manifestations; (b) evaluate their own religious positions and choices; (c) examine the ultimate ques­tions that have always engaged human beings; (d) develop a basis for making ethical decisions that promotes justice, peace, and compassion. 

In offering a major and minor in Religious Studies, the department has four specific objectives: (a) to respond whenever possible to the particular religious and professional needs of the student; (b) to respond to the Christian community’s current need for qualified personnel to assume positions of leadership in various areas of church ministry; (c) to enable students to demonstrate professional competence and leadership skills in these areas; and (d) to prepare students to undertake advanced studies in the field. 

Course offerings are divided into four basic categories: RST 112 Modern Belief is an introductory course required before any other course is taken; 200-level courses—general studies open to anyone who has completed the Modern Belief course; 300 level courses—service and advanced courses, requiring permission of the chairperson; 400 level courses—upper level studies for either majors or minors and other students with permission of the chairperson. 

Justice and Peace Studies Minor 

The Justice and Peace Studies Minor, drawing courses from many departments, is housed in the Religious Studies Department. Its requirements are described below. 

Degree Requirements


Major Core Electives To Graduate
Religious Studies
36
37/40
50/53
126

Core Requirements — All Students

Two courses are required in order to fulfill the Religious Studies requirement as stated in Category II of the Liberal Arts Core. They are RST 112 Modern Belief and one course above the 100 level. RST 112 is a prerequisite to all other religious studies courses. 

Curriculum Requirements — Majors and Minors

Majors


For the B.A. in Religious Studies, 36 credit hours are required in the major, 18 of which must be earned at Marywood. Transferred credits are applied to the major with department approval. The maximum number of total credits needed to graduate with a B.A. in Religious Studies is 126. 

The following courses are required for all Religious Studies majors:

R ST 112 Modern Belief
3
R ST 201 Introduction to the Bible
3
R ST 213 Jesus in Contemporary Perspective
3
R ST 214 The Church Today
3
R ST 215 Foundations of Christian Morality
3
R ST 225 Sacraments in Practice
3

Under faculty advisement, a Religious Studies major has the option of pursuing one of two areas of concentration:

Concentration 1 is for majors who, upon graduation, intend to engage in some form of church ministry (e.g., as directors of religious education, teachers of religion, and youth ministers).

Courses required for Concentration 1:

R ST 340 Seminar: Religion and Education
3
R ST 342 Seminar: Church Ministry
3
R ST 443 Directed Field Experience
3

Concentration 2 is for majors desiring to concentrate their study in the Christian tradition.

Courses required for Concentration 2:

R ST 205 Seminar; Readings in the Theology of Radical Human Existence
3
R ST 340 Seminar: Religion and Education
3
OR
R ST 342 Seminar: Church Ministry
3
R ST 444 Senior Research
3

In addition, nine credit hours in Religious Studies electives must also be completed in each concentration.

Both concentrations prepare a student for graduate work. Majors are encouraged to complement their studies with specific cognate courses from other departments that relate to their particular interests and needs; for example, majors in Concentration 1 are advised to schedule PSY 251, Developmental Psychology; EDUC 311, Educational Psychology, and EDUC 414, Social Foundations of Education.

Students who are either majoring or minoring in Religious Studies and meet nationally established criteria will be invited to membership in Marywood’s chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa, National Honor Society for Theology/Religious Studies.

Minors

Students can choose to minor in Religious Studies or in Justice and Peace Studies, an Interdisciplinary Minor that is housed in the Religious Studies Department. 

Minor in Religious Studies 

For the minor in Religious Studies, 18 credit hours are required, nine of which must be earned at Marywood. Transferred credits are applied to the minor with department approval. The suggested course of study for minors includes: 

R ST 112 Modern Belief
3
R ST 340 Seminar: Religion and Education
3
OR
R ST 342 Seminar: Church Ministry
3

In addition, 12 credit hours in Religious Studies electives are required.

A Religious Studies minor can be combined effectively with a major in many other fields (e.g., psychology, music, social work, etc.). 

Minor in Justice and Peace Studies 

For the minor in Justice and Peace Studies, 18 credit hours are required, nine of which must be earned at Marywood. Transferred credits may be applied to the minor with the approval of the director of the minor. The required courses for the minor include:

HIST 105 Ethnicity and Diversity in the Modern World 3
RST 230 Political and Liberation Theologies 3
RST 216 Social Morality: National Issues 3
OR    
RST 233 Christian Social Morality: A Global Perspective 3
RST 338 National/Local Service Program 3
OR    
RST 339 International Service Program 3

In addition, 6 credit hours selected from a list of approved courses are required. An updated list of courses is available from the Justice and Peace Studies program director, Sister Mary Ann Zimmer, ND. Typical courses may include but are not limited to the following:

RST 234 Women and Religion
BUS 380 Business Ethics
ENGL 485 Writing and Cultural Studies
ENGL 490 Feminist Writing and Rhetoric
HIST 120/ PHIL 318 Perspective on the Pursuit of Peace
HIST 220 Hunger in the Twenty-First Century
HIST 230 Women in the Developing World
HIST 440 Contemporary History of Latin America 
HIST 443 Contemporary History of Africa 
HIST 454 Contemporary History of the Middle East 
PHIL 318/ HIST 120 Perspectives on the Pursuit of Peace 
PHIL 328 Environmental Ethics 
PHIL 340 Animal Ethics 
PHIL 415 Climate Justice 
PHIL 416 Perspectives on Women 
PHIL 431 Global Justice 
SPAN 332 Hispanic Literature of Social Protest 
SW 230 Analysis of Social Welfare Policy 
SW 250 Contemporary Social Work Practice 
SW 425 Children’s Rights and Societal Response 

 

CAPSTONE REQUIREMENT: Because the ability to integrate interdisciplinary resources is essential to the program, a capstone paper is required in the last course the student takes to meet the program requirements. The parameters of this capstone paper will be negotiated by the student to the satisfaction of the course professor at the beginning of the course. 


Religious Studies Website