Finding meaning in the study of religion
The Bachelor of Arts in Religious and Theological Studies at St. Edward’s investigates the meaning and purpose of life in religious traditions.
On a holistic level, St. Edward's as a university expresses its Catholic identity by communicating the dignity of the human person as created in the image of God, by stressing the obligation of all people to pursue a more just world. The university also provides opportunities for religious studies and participation in campus ministry. It's an environment in which freely chosen beliefs can be deepened and expressed. Over the course of your studies as a Religious and Theological Studies major, you will …
- Examine diverse cultures and current affairs
- Evaluate the local and global impact of different belief systems
- Collaborate with professors to design a program that best matches your interest and needs
- Investigate the ongoing development of global religions
- Learn to inquire critically
- Conduct research and have in-depth discussion about global religions with attention to Christian theology
This major prepares students for a variety of professional roles, including teaching within a church-based elementary or secondary school, a program coordinator for a church, an editor, and much more.
Major Requirements: The Bachelor of Arts in Religious and Theological Studies requires 34 hours of major courses. Core courses provide a solid foundation and are complemented by courses in particular areas of interest; for example, world religions, systematic theology, biblical studies, or other areas within the discipline.
Electives: Students complete 6 hours of elective courses in a Religious Studies.
View and download the full degree plan for our Religious and Theological Studies major (PDF).
A few examples of courses students in this major take:
- Introduction to Christian Morality – This course will investigate the foundations of Christian morality contained within Scripture, natural law, church tradition and various theological systems.
- Introduction to Religions of the World – This course examines the historical development of the five major religious traditions of the world: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
- History of Christian Theology I – This course introduces students to the development of Christian theology from the end of the first through the fifth century.
What do the Torah, the Prophets, Latin America and the Yiddish Renaissance have in common? All these topics come up in the classrooms of Prof. Richard Bautch, author of several monographs and edited volumes (included Covenant in the Persian Period: From Genesis to Chronicles), editor of the Catholic Biblical Monograph Series, and chair of the Persian Period program unit within the International Society of Biblical Literature. Professor Bautch encourages his students to apply insights from the past to today's significant social questions.
– Richard Bautch, Professor, Chair, and Associate Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities
Founding Director for the Center of Religion and Culture, Fr. Brusatti's expertise includes pastoral ministry, spirituality, world religions, and ethics. Students appreciate Fr. Brusatti's courses on Vatican 2, his leading study programs to Thailand and Malaysia and his mentoring them in their internships and academic and life journeys. Fr. Brusatti has received multiple grants from the Council of Independent Colleges, and serves on the Mission and Ethics Committee for the Seton Family of Hospitals, Seton Cove Board and St. Michael’s Catholic Academy Board.
– Louis Brusatti, Associate Professor of Religious and Theological Studies
In addition to teaching courses on early Judaism and Christianity, Prof. Coblentz Bautch can be found exploring through her research angels, demons and apocalyptic literature. As president of a national honor society, author, and member of editorial boards, Prof. CB enjoys helping her students reach for the stars through the pursuit of their own academic goals.
– Kelley Coblentz Bautch, Professor of Religious and Theological Studies
For Dr. Heaps, the tougher the questions, the better. He’s written articles asking whether forgiveness and justice can coexist and how our bodies are involved in our thinking. In the classroom, he aims to get at the hard questions too: Can we recognize what is true or good? Who do we give authority to and why? What, if anything, is God up to in the world? In both his research and the classroom, Dr. Heaps relies primarily on the Catholic intellectual tradition, especially 20th century Roman Catholic philosophy and systematic theology. He also loves good coffee. Come to office hours and he’ll brew you a cup.
– Jonathan Heaps, Visiting Instructor of Religious and Theological Studies
Researching in global contexts such as Denmark, Norway, Israel, and Palestine, the Rev. Dr. Veninga spends her time thinking about how religion and theology relate to contemporary issues of justice, violence, and peace. The author of Secularism, Theology and Islam: The Danish Social Imaginary and the Cartoon Crisis of 2005-2006, her current project focuses on collective trauma, memory, and the theology of witness. Dr. Veninga also enjoys writing about Danish theologian Søren Kierkegaard and how his existentialist thought might inform these challenging issues.
– Jennifer Veninga, Associate Professor of Religious and Theological Studies
Outside the Classroom
Students majoring in Religious and Theological Studies will have a variety of opportunities to engage outside the classroom, augmenting their experience in the program.
The Red Bench Program
The Red Bench is a dialogue program centered on moderated small group discussions designed to be respectful, safe, and engaging. No one is expected to be an expert on the topics, but all are invited to share from their personal experiences and listen with their hearts. Campus Ministry partners with iACT (Interfaith Action of Central Campus) to bring this program to campus.
Faith, Hope, and Lunch Speaker Series
At this speaker series, students enjoy a free lunch while engaging in conversation with speakers who share their own experiences of living out their faith as adults beyond college.
Service Learning Opportunities
Students are encouraged to participate in service-learning trips to other countries, participate in Alternative Spring Break, become a social justice peer minister, work with Campus Ministry and participate in missionary projects.
Our internship program acquaints students with the practical experience of engaging with communities across the region. Our students have recently interned with such organizations as:
- Interfaith Action of Central Texas
- Catholic Charities of Central Texas
- Travis County Correctional Complex
- The Office of Worship for the Diocese of Austin
- St. Michael's Catholic Academy
- Adore Ministries
Our graduates are pursuing their careers in jobs such as:
- Vice President of Operations, Adore Ministries
- Literacy Tutor, AmeriCorps
- Director, INVITE-WELCOME-CONNECT, Beecken Center, School of Theology, Sewanee
- Ambassador for Poverty Relief, Noonday Collection
- Graduate Student, Harvard Divinity School
- Director of Life Teen, St. John Neumann Catholic Church
Graduates of this program often pursue advanced degrees. Many have become college professors, ministers, social workers, doctors and lawyers. Students graduating from St. Edward's have attended leading graduate schools, such as Notre Dame, Yale, Duke and Harvard. Of the students who have pursued graduate studies after their time at St. Edward’s, 100% have been accepted into graduate programs.
Read about our successful alumni. See what they have to say about life after St. Edward’s.
About the Minor
Students who wish to earn a Religious and Theological Studies minor must take the following coursework, totaling 19 hours.
- Methods in Religious Studies
Choose one of the three following courses:
- Intro to Religions of the World
- Basic Christian Questions
- Intro to Catholicism
Choose one of the two following courses:
- Intro to the Hebrew Bible
- Intro to the New Testament
Choose one of the two following courses:
- History of Christian Theology I
- History of Christian Theology II
Students must take one 2000-level course and two 3000-level courses.
Are you a current student? Contact your advisor for next steps on declaring your major or minor.
Developing a Videogame about Prophets
Learn how Religious and Theological Students students developed a videogame about the motivation and choices of prophets.