What can religion teach you about the meaning of life? About justice and morality? About your own purpose?
Dive into the deep questions with a major in Religious and Theological Studies. Through courses like Introduction to Religions of the World, History of Christian Theology, and Biblical Studies, you’ll learn how to think about religions — your own, if you have one, and others’. Study the development of global religions and the role these play in the world today. Gain an understanding of how religion influences culture, conflicts and current events around the world. Reflect on the big questions that consume humankind through the lens of faith.
What do our graduates do?
St. Edward’s Religious and Theological Studies majors go on to a variety of careers. Here’s a sample:
- Judicial Law Clerk, Supreme Court of Texas
- Literacy Tutor, AmeriCorps
- Director of Campus Ministry, University of St. Thomas
- Ambassador for Poverty Relief, Noonday Collection
- Theology Teacher, St. Pius X (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
- Director of Social Justice Ministries, St. Austin Catholic Parish
- Filmmaker, Congregation of Holy Cross
- Director of the Beecken Center, School of Theology, Sewanee
- Peace Corps Volunteers, Dominican Volunteers, Jesuit Volunteer Corps
Explore your options — classes, internships, research and study abroad. Use the Religious and Theological Studies Major Guide to find what interests you, discover what you love, and create a major experience that jumpstarts your future.
Prestigious Awards and Graduate School
Religious and Theological Studies students have been selected for prestigious fellowships such as the Fulbright Awards for South Korea, Israel, and Germany. Alumni of our program also pursue graduate studies in religious studies and theology at the University of Notre Dame, Harvard Divinity School, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Yale University, Duke Divinity School, Catholic Theological Union, Drew University, Fordham University, Union Theological Seminary and New York University and flourish in the fields of higher education and ministry.
At the same time, our alumni also go on to Georgetown Law School, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the University of Houston Law Center, Museum Studies at the University of Washington, Agricultural and Applied Economics at Texas Tech, and Social Work at New York University.
For more information on the Religious and Theological Studies major, please contact Professor and Chair of Religious and Theological Studies, Kelley Coblentz Bautch. The Religious and Theological Studies major is part of the Department of Religious and Theological Studies.
Our students have a unique opportunity to engage in active learning and research that explores diverse religious traditions, cultures, and ethical issues. They can participate in various lecture series that foster interreligious dialogue, conduct original research projects under the guidance of faculty mentors, and present their findings at symposiums and conferences.
The Classroom and Beyond
As a Religious and Theological Studies major, you’ll have the chance to apply your education on and off campus. Austin’s religious community is diverse and offers many opportunities to participate in interfaith dialogue, volunteer or intern at faith-based service organizations, or work at the intersection of religion and politics.
The Religious and Theological Studies Program strongly emphasizes experiential learning through its signature courses. Students clarify their academic interests and aspirations and explore these through mentored research and internships. Courses also involve opportunities for service and for active learning outside of the classroom.
- St. Edward’s Chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa, the National Honor Society of Religious Studies and Theology, celebrates student accomplishments and builds community among our majors. Students associated with honor society can share their original research at conferences and can compete for national scholarships.
- Campus Ministry offers opportunities to deepen your spirituality and your understanding of others’ faiths – whether or not you’re Catholic. Go on a retreat to develop mindfulness (and relationships with fellow students on retreat), attend an interfaith program, or join a Bible study. Campus Ministry also coordinates several of St. Edward’s signature service programs like S.E.R.V.E Austin.
- Service Break Experiences give you the chance to travel to another community, volunteer and learn about local life. SBEs are built on ongoing relationships between St. Edward’s and the service location and require students to prepare — educationally and spiritually — beforehand.
St. Edward’s hosts two lecture series that are of particular interest to Religious and Theological Studies majors. The Nostra Aetate Lecture explores interreligious dialogue and the values reflected in the groundbreaking Vatican II (1965) document of the same name. The Most Reverend John McCarthy Lecture Series on the Catholic Church in the 21st Century is named in honor of a former Diocese of Austin bishop and features religious and lay experts from around the country discussing issues facing modern and contemporary Catholicism.
Major Requirements: The Bachelor of Arts in Religious and Theological Studies requires 30 hours of major courses. The curriculum introduces students to key facets of the study of religion and theology and our signature courses emphasize clarifying one’s values, experiential learning, and career readiness.
The Religious and Theological Studies major prepares you for professional opportunities including in the nonprofit, media, healthcare and arts sectors, and any career that pertains to religion. In recent semesters, our students have interned at locations including these:
- Interfaith Action of Central Texas
- Catholic Charities of Central Texas
- The Institute for Diversity and Civic Life
- The Office of Worship for the Diocese of Austin
- St. Michael's Catholic Academy
What do the Torah, the Prophets, Latin America and the Yiddish Renaissance have in common? These topics come up in the classes of Prof. Richard Bautch, author of several monographs and edited volumes and editor of the Catholic Biblical Monograph Series. Professor Bautch encourages his students to apply insights from the past to today's significant social questions.
– Richard Bautch, Professor and Executive Director of the Holy Cross Institute
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. Prof. Coblentz Bautch serves students and colleagues through her work as Chair of the Religious and Theological Studies Department at St. Edward’s; she also holds leadership roles within professional organizations. Prof. CB values helping students reach for the stars through the pursuit of their own academic goals.
– Kelley Coblentz Bautch, Professor and Chair of Religious and Theological Studies
Researching in global contexts such as Denmark, Norway, Israel, and Palestine, the Rev. Dr. Veninga spends time thinking about how religion and theology relate to contemporary issues of justice, violence, and peace. The author of Secularism, Theology and Islam, her current project focuses on collective trauma, memory, and the theology of witness. Dr. Veninga enjoys writing about Danish theologian Søren Kierkegaard and how existentialist thought informs challenging issues.
– Jennifer Veninga, Associate Professor of Religious and Theological Studies
Christian Spirituality and philosophical theology are some of Dr. Nathan Garcia’s areas of expertise. His work draws on the tradition of American Pragmatism to help articulate a contemporary Catholic spirituality. He has published articles on contemporary spiritualities and presented his work at numerous national and international conferences. When not in the classroom, he can be found playing chess with students in his office, watching anime, or sauntering around St. Edward’s beautiful campus.
- Nathan Garcia, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious and Theological Studies
Professor Emeritus, Fr. Brusatti shares expertise in pastoral ministry, spirituality, world religions, and ethics with the St. Edward’s community in a variety of contexts. The recipient of numerous grants, Fr. Brusatti also 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, Professor Emeritus of Religious and Theological Studies
Religious and Theological Studies Minor
A minor in Religious and Theological Studies requires 18 hours of coursework. Students have the opportunity to explore topics of interest to them and benefit from signature courses that emphasize clarifying personal values, experiential learning, and career readiness.
Are you a current student? Contact your advisor for next steps on declaring your major or minor.