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Theological Studies, B.A.

Saint Louis University's Department of Theological Studies trains students in a variety of sources and methods to help them evaluate and appreciate the most vital aspects of religious experience and thought. The department enters into this investigation from an academic perspective to help students clarify their own understanding.

The Catholic tradition is central to the work of the department, but Catholicism is studied in the context of the whole Christian tradition and in relationship to all of the world’s religious traditions.

Additional program highlights include:

  • The SLU theology program allows students to explore major questions about life and God while studying with top scholars in the field.
  • Students explore deep, theological issues in a welcoming environment that is both rooted in the Catholic tradition and open to all viewpoints.
  • Students develop their writing, research and critical thinking skills in preparation for graduate study and careers in various disciplines such as theology, law, social work, philosophy and many others.

Curriculum Overview

SLU's major in theological studies consists of 33 credits. Students are required to take the Theological Foundations course, one World Religions course, one Teachings in the Christian Tradition course, four electives, one capstone seminar and at least one course in the following areas:

  • Sacred Texts
  • Religious Traditions
  • Religious Ethics

The introductory course, Theological Foundations, introduces students to the God of revelation within the Judeo-Christian tradition and understanding its implications for living a human life, respecting creation and pursuing beauty and truth. This is done within an ecumenical and global context, examining other world religions and social realities. Subsequent courses focus on an aspect of Christian or other religious traditions and address social and moral issues.

Following the introductory Theological Foundations course, the department offers undergraduate courses in the 2000–4000 level in Scripture, both Hebrew and Christian; the history of Christianity from its origins through today; constructive theology, which examines central themes and pressing issues in Christianity, theological ethics, which studies diverse Christian practices; world religions/comparative theology, which explores non-Christian faiths by either comparing or contrasting them with Christianity (e.g., Islam and Christianity) or by studying them individually (e.g., world religions); and spirituality, which examines the various expressions of Christian discipleship (e.g., Ignatian spirituality).

The capstone THEO 4960 Capstone Seminar I (3 cr) challenges students to explore methodologies used by contemporary scholars of theology and religion.

Research-Intensive Option

Qualified students take THEO 3430 Teachings in the Christian Tradition: God and Christ (3 cr) and THEO 3435 Teachings in the Christian Tradition: Church and World (3 cr). They are also required to complete, not only THEO 4960, but subsequently, THEO 4998 Advanced Independent Study (3 cr), which requires the completion of a senior thesis. These changes reduce the number of major electives from twelve to six credits for students in this option only.

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

The Theology Club at Saint Louis University provides an opportunity for students and faculty to come together in an informal social setting. The club holds regular discussions, sponsors lectures and organizes participation in conferences nationwide. The department publishes a monthly newsletter, the Ignatian Herald, which keeps interested students informed about campus events. The department also sponsors regular lectures in which world-class scholars share their ongoing research with faculty, students and the wider University community.

Faculty members and academic advisors/mentors assist students in finding internships in the St. Louis area or in their hometowns that will utilize the knowledge obtained from the theology curriculum and enhance the students’ skill sets.

Careers

Those who wish to remain in the field of theology after graduation may teach on the elementary and secondary levels or serve as religious education coordinators in a parish and pastoral associates in schools or parishes. Many students see the theology major as good preparation for graduate studies. Graduate studies in theology prepare students for various careers in ministry, teaching at the college or university level and entering many other professions. Some students choose to complete a double major to diversify their employment opportunities. Studies in theology enhance careers in journalism, social work, medicine, law or politics.

Admission Requirements

Begin Your Application

Saint Louis University also accepts the Common Application.

Freshman

All applications are thoroughly reviewed with the highest degree of individual care and consideration to all credentials that are submitted. Solid academic performance in college preparatory coursework is a primary concern in reviewing a freshman applicant’s file.

To be considered for admission to any Saint Louis University undergraduate program, applicants must be graduating from an accredited high school, have an acceptable HiSET exam score or take the General Education Development (GED) test. 

Transfer

Applicants must be a graduate of an accredited high school or have an acceptable score on the GED.

Students who have attempted fewer than 24 semester credits (or 30 quarter credits) of college credit must follow the above freshmen admission requirements. Students who have completed 24 or more semester credits (or 30 quarter credits) of college credit must submit transcripts from all previously attended college(s).

In reviewing a transfer applicant’s file, the Office of Admission holistically examines the student’s academic performance in college-level coursework as an indicator of the student’s ability to meet the academic rigors of Saint Louis University. Where applicable, transfer students will be evaluated on any courses outlined in the continuation standards of their preferred major.

International Applicants

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students along with the following:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Proof of financial support must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include the courses taken and/or lectures attended, practical laboratory work, the maximum and minimum grades attainable, the grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations, and any honors or degrees received. WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

There are two principal ways to help finance a Saint Louis University education:

  • Scholarships: Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, service, leadership and financial need.
  • Financial Aid: Financial aid is provided in the form of grants and loans, some of which require repayment.

For priority consideration for merit-based scholarships, apply for admission by Dec. 1 and complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1.

For information on other scholarships and financial aid, visit www.slu.edu/financial-aid.

  1. Graduates will be able to explain how Christian theology, including the Catholic tradition, engages ultimate questions about the nature of faith; the nature, existence, and personhood of God; the nature and ends of creation and human life; and evil (in ourselves and in the world) and salvation.
  2. Graduates will be able to describe how key historical texts, figures, and episodes have contributed to major doctrines of Christian theology.
  3. Graduates will be able to analyze entanglements of global movements and personal identities with religions, cultures, and interreligious relations in the past and present.
  4. Graduates will be able to apply concepts, including those from the study of ethics, sacred texts, and religious traditions, to the question of the significance of theological and religious study for living a life of “faith that does justice.”
  5. Graduates will be able to explain the impact of theories, methods, and/or historiographies on academic theology and/or study of religion.
  6. Graduates will be able to research-intensive track: Produce an original piece of research appropriate for the academic study of theology and/or religion.

Theological studies students must complete a minimum total of 33 credits for the major. Overall requirements are as follows:

  • A single course cannot be used to fill more than one requirement. 
  • At least 15 credits must be taken at the 3000-level or higher theology courses.
University Undergraduate Core32-35
Major Requirements
Foundations Requirement
THEO 1000Theological Foundations3
or THEO 1600 God-Talk
THEO 2710Religions of the World3
THEO 3430Teachings in the Christian Tradition: God and Christ3
or THEO 3435 Teachings in the Christian Tradition: Church and World
Area Elective Courses
Select one course from each of the following attributed areas:9
Theology Elective Courses
Select four additional Theology courses12
Capstone
THEO 4960Capstone Seminar I3
General Electives52-55
Total Credits120

Sacred Texts (ST) Courses

Examples of courses with the Theology-Sacred Texts attribute:

THEO 2110
Old Testament
THEO 2210
New Testament
THEO 3110
Pentateuch
THEO 3115
Old Testament: Prophets
THEO 3210
One Jesus, Four Portraits: The Gospels
THEO 4210
How to Interpret Scripture: Methods and Perspectives
THEO 4290
Seminar in New Testament

Religious Traditions (RT) Courses

Examples of courses with the Theology-Religious Traditions attribute:

THEO 2715
Jerusalem: Three Faiths, One City
THEO 2333
Race and Religion in America: The Search for Identity
THEO 2755
Islam: Religion, Culture, and Society
THEO 3425
The Invisible Institution: African American Religion and the Rise of Black Theology
THEO 3710
Arts of Hinduism and Buddhism
THEO 3720
Intuition, Spontaneity, and Flow: Daoism in Comparative Context
THEO 3730
Jewish Life: Bible to Middle Ages
THEO 4710
Islam and the Christian Theologian: Comparing Theological Themes

Religious Ethics (RE) Courses

Examples of courses with the Theology-Religious Ethics attribute:

THEO 2510
Christian Ethics
THEO 2515
Social Justice
THEO 2520
Comparative Religious Ethics
THEO 2525
Theological Bioethics: Medicine and Morality
THEO 3510
Faith and Politics
THEO 3525
Green Discipleship: Theology & Ecology
THEO 3535
Sex, Gender and Christian Ethics
THEO 3560
A Post Human Future? The Ethics of Technology
THEO 4510
War and Peace in the Christian Tradition
THEO 4525
Freedom of Conscience
THEO 4810
Latin American Politics, Theology, & Culture

Continuation Standards

A student must maintain a 2.00 grade point average (GPA) in Theology major coursework.  

Graduation Requirements

  • Complete a minimum of 120 credits (excluding pre-college level courses numbered below 1000).
  • Complete the University Undergraduate Core curriculum requirements.
  • Complete major requirements: minimum 30 credits required.
  • Complete remaining credits with a second major, minor, certificate and/or electives to reach the minimum of 120 credits required for graduation.
  • Achieve at least a 2.00 cumulative grade point average, a 2.00 grade point average in the major(s) and a 2.00 grade point average in the minor/certificate, or related elective credits.
  • Complete department-/program-specific academic and performance requirements.
  • Complete at least 50% of the coursework for the major and 75% for the minor/certificate through Saint Louis University or an approved study abroad program.
  • Complete 30 of the final 36 credits through Saint Louis University or an approved study abroad program.
  • Complete an online degree application by the required University deadline.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester.  Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
Participation in first-year mentoring events  
THEO 1000
or THEO 1600
Theological Foundations (May be satisfied by 1818 college credit)
or God-Talk
3
University Core and/or General Electives 12
 Credits15
Spring
THEO 2710 Religions of the World 3
University Core and/or General Electives 12
 Credits15
Year Two
Fall
Sacred Text Course(such as THEO 2110 or 2210) 3
THEO 2000-levelCourse with Religious Traditions or Religious Ethics attribute 3
University Core and/or General Electives 9
 Credits15
Spring
THEO 2000-level or 3000-levelCourse with Religious Traditions or Religious Ethics attribute (whichever not taken in Fall of Year Two) 3
University Core and/or General Electives 12
 Credits15
Year Three
Fall
THEO 3430 Teachings in the Christian Tradition: God and Christ 3
University Core and/or General Electives 12
 Credits15
Spring
THEO 3435 Teachings in the Christian Tradition: Church and World 3
University Core and/or General Electives 12
 Credits15
Year Four
Fall
THEO 4960 Capstone Seminar I 3
THEO 4000-level 3
University Core and/or General Electives 9
 Credits15
Spring
THEO 4000-level 3
THEO 4000-level 3
University Core and/or General Electives 9
 Credits15
 Total Credits120

Sacred Texts (ST) Courses

THEO 2110
Old Testament
THEO 2210
New Testament
THEO 3115
Old Testament: Prophets
THEO 4210
How to Interpret Scripture: Methods and Perspectives
THEO 4290
Seminar in New Testament

Religious Traditions (RT) Courses

THEO 2715Jerusalem: Three Faiths, One City3
THEO 2333Race and Religion in America: The Search for Identity3
THEO 3425The Invisible Institution: African American Religion and the Rise of Black Theology3
THEO 3710Arts of Hinduism and Buddhism3
THEO 3720Intuition, Spontaneity, and Flow: Daoism in Comparative Context3
THEO 3730Jewish Life: Bible to Middle Ages3
THEO 4710Islam and the Christian Theologian: Comparing Theological Themes3

Religious Ethics (RE) Courses

THEO 2510
Christian Ethics
THEO 2515
Social Justice
THEO 2520
Comparative Religious Ethics
THEO 2525
Theological Bioethics: Medicine and Morality
THEO 3510
Faith and Politics
THEO 3525
Green Discipleship: Theology & Ecology
THEO 3535
Sex, Gender and Christian Ethics
THEO 3560
A Post Human Future? The Ethics of Technology
THEO 4510
War and Peace in the Christian Tradition
THEO 4525
Freedom of Conscience
THEO 4810
Latin American Politics, Theology, & Culture