Religion and Theology Among the Disciplines - The Secondary Major

The Secondary Major is a 24 credit hours program. You take it in conjunction with another major and complete it concurrently with it. The program highlights the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary nature of theological inquiry and of the study of religion.
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Program Learning Goals

Goal 1

Gain an understanding of the purposes, central issues, and methods of inquiry standard in theological and religious studies as applied to faith engaging culture.

Objective A

Analyze fundamental issues that frame theological and religious inquiry using appropriate scholarly methods, with attention to diversity and inclusion within the issues.

Objective B

Use critical methods to read, analyze, and interpret diverse religious and theological texts (e.g., women, minorities, non-western) and related genres or media, art, and artifacts (e.g., prayer, mystical writings, autobiographies, film, music).

Goal 2

Engage Christianity, with attention to Roman Catholicism, as a living tradition of practices and beliefs that continues to be refined, developed, and extended through time in diverse cultural contexts.

Objective A

Demonstrate understanding of the unique vocabulary, foundational sources, theological beliefs, historical developments, and diverse thinkers in the Christian tradition, with attention to those that reflect on the experiences of power, privilege, and marginalization.

Objective B

Articulate how Christian practices and beliefs reciprocally interact with diverse cultural contexts, local and global.

Goal 3

Render theological concepts and religious practices and beliefs intelligible, meaningful, and relevant in contemporary cultural contexts as a basis for transformative action in the world, in dialogue with others.

Objective A

Recognize the complexity and diversity of religious practices and beliefs and seek to understand people whose values and senses of the sacred differ from their own.

Objective B

Evaluate the relevance of theology/religion for personal, communal, societal, and global living.

Revised 05/05/2017

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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

To enhance the academic experience in TRS programs we offer distinctive capstone courses. They differ in significant ways from other courses in that they lead students to reflect on the various components of their major/secondary major curricula and to achieve synthesis in significant culminating experiences.

Capstone Course I: Research Seminar, THL 6300

Students normally take the research seminar in the junior year. The seminar focuses on individual or group research projects that participants design with the help of a faculty facilitator. It emphasizes your active role in the learning process, which implies limited reliance on lectures and extra weight given to you using the methods of THL/RST disciplines to explore fields and topics of interest to you on your own. Rather than repeating others’ work, your will independently (individually or in groups) wrestle with the unknown, discover knowledge, develop expertise in confined fields of research, and present your research progress and product to your peers.

Capstone Course II: Advanced Seminar, THL 6500

Taken in the senior year the advanced seminar stands as the culminating experience of your studies in the major and secondary major. Using higher-order learning, in the seminar, you consolidate and synthesize knowledge by bringing THL/RST fields together or putting elements of theory and/or practice together in an original form. The seminar is organized around student-lead conversations informed by the central theme studied and advanced in all programs offered by the THL/RST department: Faith seeking understanding, engaging culture. Students wrestle with the relationships between faith, religion, theology, and culture as experienced and studied throughout their undergraduate career at Villanova. With the help of a faculty facilitator students choose the seminar topics and teach them to their peers, simultaneously learning to organize and facilitate discussions. Thus, the seminar involves students communicating their explorations or discoveries. In other words, this communication includes a final product, and its precise form will vary by topic, encompassing the possibility of artistic expression as well as customary forms of scholarly communication.

  1. One elective course fulfills the 2nd TRS Core Curriculum requirement.
  2. 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]
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. The total number of elective courses from outside the TRS Department (including courses taken overseas) must not exceed 3 courses.
  7. Students normally take the first capstone course, the Research Seminar THL 6300, in the Junior year.
  8. Students take the second capstone course, the Advanced Seminar THL 6500, in the Senior year.

[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.

  1. You may declare the secondary major any time, preferably during your freshman year.
  2. Students in CLAS fill out this application form. The application is also available in hard-copy form in OUS
  3. Students from the Colleges of EGR and NUR, or from VSB, file the forms provided by their respective colleges.
  4. When you declare the secondary major you also must choose a concentration.

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Concentration

TRS secondary majors may tailor their program to their specific educational and professional goals by selecting elective courses that are associated with one of ten possible concentrations that give shape and focus to your major.

A concentration (other departments at Villanova call it a "track") is a cluster of elective courses organized around a field of inquiry or an independent topic of your creation. They are designed to allow you to define your specific theological and religious interests by carefully choosing what courses you take as your electives. Courses from other departments may count towards your concentration, thus enabling you to make your concentration interdisciplinary.

Rules

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 from the Undergraduate Programs Director. In contrast, Tier 2 courses need the Director’s prior approval.

The 5 elective courses for the secondary major 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, 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). They are Tier 2 courses that need the Undergraduate Program Director's prior approval.

Concentrations in TRS

This concentration is chiefly designed to give you a sense of the range and diversity in theological studies and permits you to discern the relevance of Christian theology for your live and values. It consists of one elective course in each of the following fields of inquiry for a total of 4 courses:

  1. Biblical Texts and Topics
  2. Historical Theology, History of Christianity, and Augustinian Studies
  3. Fundamental, Systematic, and Sacramental Theology
  4. Christian  Ethics or Christian Spirituality

List of relevant courses

This concentration consists of 4 elective courses that engage topics in systematic, fundamental, and sacramental theology, theology and culture, philosophical theology, and philosophy of religion.

List of relevant courses

This concentration consists of 4 elective courses in biblical texts, topics, and traditions and the sacred texts of, and topics in, non-Christian traditions.

List of relevant courses

This concentration consists of 4 elective courses in historical theology, history of the Christianity, and Augustinian studies.

List of relevant courses

This concentration is designed to accommodate the interests and career goals of students with broad interests that cannot be satisfied within one of the other concentrations. Students clearly articulate educational and career goals in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Programs, and then choose elective courses consistent with these goals. Students may concentrate in one particular field of inquiry or pursue an overarching theme or cross-disciplinary interests.

Students choose 4 elective courses from the offerings of the THL/RST Department. Students may complete elective courses, including classical or critical languages, outside the THL/RST Department that are approved by the Director of Undergraduate Programs.

List of relevant courses

This concentration consists of 4 elective courses in spirituality, contemplation, and mindfulness studies.

List of relevant courses

This concentration consists of 5 elective courses that engage questions of Christian living from biblical, ethical, peace and justice, social, and Catholic Social Thought perspectives.

List of relevant courses

This concentration consists of 4 elective courses that engage the faith–culture relationship from diverse perspectives: faith and science; religion, media, and literature; science and religion; religion and society; and theology and culture.

List of relevant courses

This concentration encourages students to understand those whose values and senses of the sacred differ from our own. It  consists of 4 elective courses in Christianity and the non-Christian religions of the Middle East, South, Southeast and East Asia.

List of relevant courses