Comparing TRS Programs

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TRS majors and the minor add breadth and focus to your course of study. The choice between the different programs depends upon your academic, professional, and personal goals.

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Primary Major

10 Courses

1 Required Core Curriculum Course

  • Foundation Course THL 1000

7 Elective courses

  • A minimum of 3 course within TRS
  • A Maximum of 4 outside of TRS

2 Required Capstone Courses

  • Research Seminar, THL 6300
  • Advanced Seminar, THL 6500

 

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Secondary Major

8 Courses

1 Required Core Curriculum Course

  • Foundation Course THL 1000

5 Elective courses

  • A minimum of 2 course within TRS
  • A Maximum of 3 outside of TRS

2 Required Capstone Courses

  • Research Seminar, THL 6300
  • Advanced Seminar, THL 6500
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The Minor

6 Courses

1 Required Core Curriculum Course

  • Foundation Course THL 1000

5 Elective courses

  • A minimum of 3 course within TRS
  • A Maximum of 2 outside of TRS
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Primary Major

One elective course fulfills the 2nd TRS Core Curriculum requirement.

Depending on your educational and professional goals you may take up to 4 elective courses from outside the TRS Department (including overseas courses) offered by approved departments and programs listed under each concentration. Such courses do not require the CTHL attribute.[1]

Under each concentration, extra-departmental courses are grouped in Tier 1 and Tier 2 courses. You may take Tier 1 courses to satisfy TRS requirements without seeking prior approval by the Director of Undergraduate Programs. In contrast, Tier 2 courses need the Director’s prior approval.

Five of the elective courses constitute an academic concentration within the major. Concentrations are organized about a field of inquiry or an independent topic of the student's creation.

In some concentrations, up to 2 elective courses outside the TRS Department may be in a classical language (Latin or Greek) or a critical language (Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, or Russian). These are Tier 2 courses that need the Director of Undergraduate Programs’ prior approval.

The total number of elective courses from outside the TRS Department (including courses taken overseas) must not exceed 4 courses.

Students normally take the Research Seminar, THL 6300 in the Junior year.

Students take the Advanced Seminar, THL 6500 in the Senior year.

triangular graphic consisting of four triangles depicting the course various course requirements

Secondary Major

One elective course fulfills the 2nd TRS Core Curriculum requirement.

Depending on your educational and professional goals you may take up to 3 elective courses from outside the TRS Department (including overseas courses) offered by approved departments and programs listed under each concentration. Such courses do not require the CTHL attribute.[1]

Under each concentration, extra-departmental courses are grouped in Tier 1 and Tier 2 courses. You may take Tier 1 courses to satisfy TRS requirements without seeking prior approval by the Director of Undergraduate Programs. In contrast, Tier 2 courses need the Director’s prior approval.

The 5 elective courses constitute an academic concentration within the secondary major. Concentrations are organized about a field of inquiry or an independent topic of the student's creation.

In some concentrations, 1 elective courses outside the TRS Department may be in a classical language (Latin or Greek) or a critical language (Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, or Russian). These are Tier 2 courses that need the Director of Undergraduate Programs’ prior approval.

The total number of elective courses from outside the TRS Department (including courses taken overseas) must not exceed 3 courses.

Students normally take the Research Seminar, THL 6300 in the Junior year.

Students take the Advanced Seminar, THL 6500 in the Senior year.

triangular graphic consisting of four triangles depicting the course various course requirements

The Minor

One elective course fulfills the 2nd TRS Core Curriculum requirement.

Depending on your educational and professional goals you may take up to 2 elective courses from outside the TRS Department (including overseas courses) offered by approved departments and programs listed under each concentration for the primary and secondary majors. Such courses do not require the CTHL attribute.[1]

Extra-departmental courses are grouped in Tier 1 and Tier 2 courses. You may take Tier 1 courses to satisfy TRS requirements without seeking prior approval from the Undergraduate Program Director. In contrast, Tier 2 courses need the Director’s prior approval.

One elective course outside the TRS Department may be in a classical language (Latin or Greek) or a critical language (Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, or Russian). These are Tier 2 courses that need the Director of Undergraduate Programs' prior approval.

The total number of elective courses from outside the TRS Department (including courses taken overseas) must not exceed 2 courses.

[1]   Attributes for TRS courses do not reflect the degree of difficulty or imply a sequence of study. Rather, they indicate the focus of the course and the target group of students.

  • Unlike other concentrations in CLAS, TRS concentrations are not stand-alone programs but focus your studies within the major.
  • No. Some courses will satisfy multiple concentration requirements, but there is not enough overlap to permit the completion of multiple concentrations. Even if it were possible for a student to complete more than one concentration that option is excluded.
  • For a complete listing of departmental course, consult the resepective webpages for the primary major and the secondary major concentrations.
  • Yes. Our concentrations correspond with student interests in pursuing theological and religious questions from diverse perspectives, societal and ecclesial expectations for theological and religious literacy, and our departmental goals and objectives. 
  • A concentration will permit you to clearly identify allied programs/courses on campus through which you may satisfy a limited number of elective courses.
  • Concentrations enhance academic synergy on campus, strengthen interdisciplinary studies and research, and clearly describe our mission: Faith seeking understanding by engaging culture, that is, theological and religious inquiry informed by the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and within the Augustinian tradition.
  • You may combine the primary major with any other major, both within CLAS and without, but you mustcombine the secondary major with another major.
  • Both majors allow you to substantially enrich your studies in another area by advanced studies in TRS.
  • For example, a student might have a first major in Political Science and a second major in TRS, and another student a first major in mechanical engineering and a secondary major in TRS. The category "secondary major" always indicates fewer credit hours than a first major.
  • However, note the following significant differences:
    • If you double major with TRS as a secondary major (24 credit hours) you must fulfill all the requirements for both majors with no overlapping or double counted courses. In essence, the option to double count courses is included in the design of the secondary major.
    • If you double major with TRS as a primary major (30 credit hours) you have to satisfy all requirements of the TRS major. However, your other major may permit you to double-count TRS courses. That major determines how many courses, and which, you may double-count.
  • No. The secondary major must be taken in conjunction with another major and completed concurrently with a bachelor’s degree.
  • The secondary major (24 credit hours) requires more hours than a minor (18 credit hours) but fewer hours than a primary major (30 credit hours).
  • The minor allows you to explore theological and/or religious interests outside your major. The secondary major also emphasizes an area outside your major that complements your studies at VU but offers a more rigorous academic experience than the minor.
  • The secondary major closely mirrors the requirements for our primary major, which means that the secondary major requires a greater depth of study into the subject than the minor.
  • Declaring a minor or a secondary major is optional. You are not required to complete either to graduate.
  • The primary major is the chief program that determines your course of study in meeting the requirements for your bachelor’s degree. Our secondary major closely mirrors the requirements that we have set forth for the primary major, but it cannot be completed as a stand-alone program.
  • The secondary major differs from the primary major in two ways: It differs in regard to the number of elective courses (4 instead of 5), and it requires one less major seminar (1 instead of 2).
  • We expect these differences to serve VU students in other academic units interested in combining their major with academically rigorous TRS perspectives.
  • Yes. All students in VSB, EGR, NUR, and LAS can select TRS as a secondary major.
  • The secondary TRS major is a good choice for students interested in interdisciplinary, integratve studies, also across colleges, who cannot fulfill the course requirements for two majors.
  • The secondary major adds breadth to your academic program. It offers you the opportunity to earn a major in one discipline enhanced by the rich intellectual experience in the field of TRS.
  • Adding TRS as a second official area of study provides opportunities to learn another academic methodology and participate in an intellectual community that is inspired by the pursuit of truth and the practice of compassion.
  • Also, the secondary major will have a positive impact on your other fields of study by offering a TRS perspective on these fields.
  • We believe a well-rounded TRS education can be provided to secondary majors in 24 credit hours. Like the primary major, the secondary major examines complex TRS topics from many vantage points.
  • Every student pursuing a secondary TRS major will have a major in another field. At Villanova, studies in other fields – in combination with the particular course work required in the Core Curriculum – expose students to the methodological, theoretical, and practical issues also of importance to TRS inquiry. In other words, the introduction of a secondary major explicitly highlights the interdisciplinary nature of theological inquiry and religious studies.
  • While the secondary major differs from our primary major in the number of required credit hours, it maintains the rigor, coherence, multidisciplinary emphasis, and interdisciplinary dimension of the major. Both allow you to study TRS from broader social science, political, historical, and philosophical perspectives.
  • Elective course choices allow you the same flexibility as we have in our primary major and in the minor while providing you with the academic and/or practical training for a broad range of careers, including careers that are inspired by VU’s mission.
  • Finally, the secondary TRS major, in conjunction with a major, will sufficiently prepare you also for graduate work.
  • Yes. Extra-departmental courses are grouped in Tier 1 and Tier 2 courses. You may take Tier 1 courses to satisfy a TRS course without seeking prior approval from the Director of Undergraduate Programs. In contrast, Tier 2 courses need the Director’s prior approval. In principle, the majority of courses for the primary major, the secondary major, and the minor must be satisfied in the TRS department.
  • Yes. You must complete a bachelor’s degree to receive official recognition of the secondary major on your transcript. The transcript will reflect that you earned a secondary major in TRS.
  • For example, if an engineering major wishes to earn a secondary major in TRS, he/she will need to satisfy all of the requirements of both the engineering major and the secondary major in TRS. He/she will then graduate from the College of Engineering having earned a “B.S. in Engineering.” Her/his transcript will note that she/he earned a “B.S. in Engineering with a Secondary Major in TRS."
  • Yes. Because the chosen concentration is the distinctive marker that defines your particular TRS major, concentrations will appear on the transcript along with the major.
  • No. Because concentrations constitute focused course work within both TRS majors, you cannot earn a concentration without being enrolled in a major. You may either earn a minor (18 credits) or a major/secondary major in TRS, but not both. If you complete two additional courses beyond the 18 credit hours requirement for the minor you are eligible to earn the secondary major. In that case, you will no longer be awarded the minor. The same rationale applies if you switch from the secondary major in TRS to the primary major.
  • CLAS offers several Concentrations. Whereas Concentrations are interdepartmental or interdisciplinary programs in CLAS with a broad range of credit hour requirements, the secondary major (24 credit hours) is an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary program offered and administered by the TRS department. 
  • No. Concentrations are defined sets of elective courses, in distinctive areas of TRS, and within the TRS majors. Only students enrolled in the TRS primary or secondary major complete one of the concentrations