Department of History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies

Theology major, minor and certificate

MosaicTheology literally means "talk about" or "knowledge of God." It is distinguished from religious studies in that its starting point is faith. In short, it is "faith seeking understanding," as St. Anselm famously put it.

College-level theology is a rigorous academic discipline which explores God and the God-human relationship in light of scripture, tradition, and reason, and as such is distinct from the kind of basic religious education a student might obtain in high school or at a parish. The theology major at Benedictine is designed especially for the lay person, and our foundational "Theology in Life" sequence of four courses (Theology of Love, Theology of Justice, Theology of Freedom, and Faith & Science) helps students to grapple with the "big questions"-- no matter which professional path they eventually choose.

Benedictine University is proud of its Catholic heritage, but we also welcome and respect the diverse faith traditions of our community. In addition to theology and religious studies courses which serve the intellectual needs of our students, University Ministry provides opportunities for Catholics to grow spiritually and to engage in interfaith dialogue and service projects with Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs, Jews, and other Christians on campus.

Objectives of the theology program:

  • Show knowledge of the fundamentals of Catholic Scripture and Tradition, and what they say about God, humanity, the natural world, and virtuous living.
  • Understand the study of religion as an interdisciplinary task, relating to the arts and humanities on the one hand, and the social sciences on the other
  • Show knowledge of Catholic views on religious diversity.
  • Engage ethical problems thoughtfully and actively, and contribute to the work of peace and justice.

Why study theology at Benedictine University?

When you choose to study theology at Benedictine University, you become part of the Catholic, Benedictine tradition of liberal education founded on a clear understanding of the dynamic relationship between faith and reason. This synthesis is the basis of Western civilization and also serves as the foundation for a global Christianity. Our program gives you a broad preparation, not just in understanding theology but applying it to your life in the world, no matter which profession you eventually choose.

Studying theology at Benedictine offers you:

  • Ideal student-to-faculty ratios
  • Exposure to the living tradition of Benedictine monasticism and intellectual life
  • A small university community atmosphere
  • A safe, beautiful suburban setting near the rapidly expanding corridor, with easy access to Chicago
  • A highly dedicated and knowledgeable faculty.
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

How does the program work?

If you decide to pursue a major, minor, or certificate in theology, you will begin with a series of four thematic courses: Theology of Love, Theology of Freedom, Theology of Justice, and Faith and Science. These four core courses cover, to a greater or lesser extent, all aspects of the traditional areas of Catholic theology (scripture, systematic theology, sacramental theology, historical theology, and moral theology). Together, these four comprise the basic Theology Certificate.

Students who opt to major or minor in theology build on this foundation, choosing upper-level courses that suit their interests and career goals. These courses include Benedictine Wisdom, Catholic Social Teaching, Jesus Christ, The History of Christian Thought, Scripture in the Abrahamic Traditions, and Interreligious Dialogue (you can find more information about our course offerings here). For theology majors, the program culminates in the Senior Seminar, "Theology and Life," in which students examine theology in relation to one aspect of lay life, such as law or medicine.

Requirements for theology major

All theology majors must submit at least 36 credit hours in Major courses, with a grade of "C" or better, of which 24 hours are at the 200 level or above, including 9 hours at the 300 level. One Writing Intensive course must be completed within the major; additionally, theology majors are required to fulfill the language cognate requirement.

BuddhaFor more information about specific course requirements for theology majors, contact a member of the Department's theology faculty.

Requirements for theology minor

Theology minors must complete, with a grade of "C" or better, 21 hours including: THEO 101 (Theology of Love), THEO 102 (Theology of Justice), THEO 103 (Theology of Freedom), and THEO 104 (Faith & Science); six hours at the 200 level; and three hours at the 300 level.

For more information about specific course requirements for theology minors, contact a member of the Department's theology faculty.


Requirements for theology certificate

Certificate students must complete THEO 101 (Theology of Love), THEO 102 (Theology of Justice), THEO 103 (Theology of Freedom), and THEO 104 (Faith & Science).