Religious Studies

Examine religious history and culture as well as Christian theology, scripture and moral reasoning with a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies

Religion begins with a desire to understand the purpose of existence; theologies argue that certain reasons for existence are unique and true. At Loras, majors in Religious Studies and Theology majors expand their worldviews and reflect on the complexities of religions and spirituality in the modern world.

Learn About Our Major in Religious Studies and Theology

Student Experience

Religious Studies students are at the forefront of issues related to social justice, engaging in their major coursework and the community immediately. They are eligible for scholarships, have opportunity to present at national conferences and are highly encouraged to engage in life-changing internships.

Students who major or double-major in Religious Studies are some of the most active students at Loras, and are the most likely to study abroad and participate in service trips both nationally and internationally. An additional benefit is that through our experiential education, 98% of all Religious Studies majors find jobs related to their course of study.

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LORAS COLLEGE OFFERS DIVERSE STUDY ABROAD OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL STUDENTS
All Loras students, no matter their major, have the opportunity to live and study in another country. Loras College sponsors study abroad semesters in Ireland, Portugal, South Africa and Spain, along with a broad range of short-term study travel options such as Belize, China, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Mexico,and Peru.

Loras College is globally connected to provide students unique learning experiences around the world. Whether students are looking to enhance their foreign language skills or simply to immerse themselves in a different culture, the Center for Experiential Learning helps students identify international programs that best match their learning goals. International study broadens perspectives, enhances self-confidence and strengthens adaptability. Studying abroad also makes graduates more attractive to potential employers and graduate schools. Study abroad experiences are life-changing.

“While studying at the University of Pretoria I was fortunate to have the ability to take classes that Loras couldn’t’ offer. The sustainability focused classes I took at UP allowed me to fulfill a passion of mine and have shaped my biological thesis to be sustainably driven—vermicomposting.” — Tom Blacklock, South Africa

“The life-long learning experiences that come about while being abroad will never be fully understood unless you take the opportunity to go out of your comfort zone and experience life in another country. If I had to sum up how my experience in Spain changed me, it would be that I am more self-confident, more globally aware, and I am now yearning to learn about and connect with people from all over the world.” –Jessica Welp, Spain

“Now is truly the best time to take advantage of these experiences! Being able to go abroad for schooling allows you to have opportunities that you would not have as a tourist, so don’t rely on the thought, ‘Well, I could always go there in the future.’ Go!!”
— Brittany Seyller, India

Visit our Study Abroad page for additional information.

Scholarships
Catholic Social Teaching, they tend to be winners of the annual Valder Scholarship, which provides students with stipends to serve in a Catholic organization dedicated to addressing problems of social justice. In addition, students use their research to deliver papers and presentations at conferences like the Great Plains Undergraduate Theology Conference.

The Breitbach Catholic Thinkers & Leaders Scholarship Program, made possible by a generous $15-million donation from Paul (’60) and Frances Breitbach,is a unique and vibrant four-year experience. Its goal is to challenge and engage the whole student, helping you to develop academically, spiritually, personally and socially while learning what it means to be a Catholic thinker and leader in today’s modern world. Lean more about the Breitbach Catholic Thinkers & Leaders Scholarship program.

Internships available
Religious Studies students participate in internship programs offered through the Center for Experiential Learning. Many internship opportunities are available in the Dubuque Community, nation wide and internationally. The Loras Center for Experiential Learning is key in assisting students in helping students with internships.

PARTNERSHIP PROGRAMS
Founded by Matthias Loras, Archbishop of the Dubuque Diocese, Loras College has ties to the Archdiocese that stretch back—well into the nineteenth-century. That long relationship has meant that the College has had many successful partnerships with the Archdiocese, working closely with Archdiocesan offices to meet a number of needs and educate several generations of religious leaders.

Today faculty from Loras College serve the Archdiocese as priests, chaplains, committee members, speakers, and Directors of Archdiocesan offices. In addition to those many individual commitments, faculty also are committed to provided academic programming to an emerging generation of lay leaders.

Loras has also sponsored summer Institutes in Liturgical Studies and Parish Leadership.

LORAS PREPARES YOU FOR SUCCESS IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES
Theology argues that the claims of one particular tradition are true, and perhaps unique. At Loras, that tradition is Christianity, as practiced in the Roman Catholic tradition.

Religious Studies majors will take courses in studies of the Bible, moral/ethical behavior and systematic theology (systems of thought that are based on Christian revelation). They benefit from a faculty that teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses, and from a library that has outstanding resources—both paper and electronic.

Thanks to these resources, all Religious Studies majors who have sought to continue their educations in graduate programs have been accepted by accredited institutions.

Student Learning Outcomes

 

Student Learning Outcomes – Religious Studies and Theology
1. Students are able to explain and reflect critically on important elements of religious tradition(s) using key facts, definitions, and vocabulary.
2. Students are able to apply basic methods of research such as the ability to access, gather, and organize information from primary sources.
3. Students are able to identify different theological approaches to key concepts, themes, and practices of religious life.
4. Students are able to use theology to interpret religious beliefs and practices within the contemporary world.

 

Curriculum

View Highlighted Courses

Jesus & the Gospels
A critical study of the content of the Four Gospels of the New Testament, as well as their literary, historical, social, and theological contexts. We will compare and contrast their portraits of Jesus, their messages for ancient Christians, and their relevance for modern readers.

World Religions
An introductory study of major world religions, particularly Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The class invites students to compare and contrast the search for meaning that defines each tradition.

Martyrs, Mendicants, and Masterpieces
The course is a January term study abroad opportunity in Italy. The course focuses on the culture of pre-Constantinian Christian Rome, medieval Franciscan Assisi, and Renaissance Florence. We will study the customs and artifacts of each period to determine how they affected the development of Christian thought and practice. We will examine how cultural traditions formed and changed, and how these traditions affected social organization, religion, and everyday life.

Belief, Unbelief & the Good Life
The course examines arguments for and against the existence of God and studies how these arguments affect a comprehension of the moral life and the value of human behavior. The course will begin with a study of “virtue ethics” and will use this ethical theory as a basis for dialogue with the ethics of the non-Christian belief systems of Feuerbach, Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche. Students will develop the tools to make ethical decisions about critical issues facing the human community.

The Catholic Church in Latin America
This study travel course covers the history of the Catholic Church in Latin America and the current issues it faces. The course will primarily focus on Spanish and Portuguese colonialism, liberation theology, and the contemporary period. For part of the course, students will travel to Peru and experience historical reminders of the Catholic Church’s past, but also experience first-hand the issues facing the Church in Latin America today.

View All Religious Studies Course Offerings PDF

Major & Minor Requirements

Students will complete the following requirements in order to achieve a major or minor in Religious Studies and Theology . 

Degree Requirements

 

Requirements for the major in Religious Studies (B.A.):

Req Course Cr’s
1 Jesus and the Gospels 3
2 Community of Hope 3
3 Worship: Foretaste of Heaven 3
4 Catholic Heritage 3
5 Elective utilizing Historical Method 3
6 Elective from Category 1 3
7 Additional L.RST Elective from Categories 1-5 3
8 Additional L.RST Elective from Categories 1-6 3
9 Foundations of Ethics (cross-listed as L.PHI-301) 3
10 Catholic Social Teachings 3
11 Religious Studies and Theology Process Writing 1
12 Capstone Research 1
Select one from Req 13 (Capstone)
13 Thesis Writing 2
13 Practicum in Parish Ministry 2
34 total required credits
6 L.REL-354: Seminar on the Letters of St. Paul 3
Select one from Req 7 (Moral Studies)
7 L.REL-271: Catholic Social Teachings 3
7 L.REL-272: Christian Sexual Morality-AV 3
7 L.REL-345: Issues in Christian Ethics-AV 3
7 L.REL-348: Social Justice Practicum 3
8 Additional L.REL Elective 3
9 Additional L.REL Elective 3
10 Additional L.REL Elective 3
11 Additional L.REL Elective 3
Select one from Req 12 (Capstone)
12 L.REL-491: Thesis Writing 3
12 L.REL-493: Practicum in Parish Ministry 3
34 total required credits

Requirements for the minor in Religious Studies:

Select one from Req 1
1a Jesus and the Gospels 3
1b Community of Hope 3
1c Worship:Foretaste of Heaven 3
2 Catholic Heritage 3
Elective Sequence: One elective must utilize Historical Methodology (marked below with #)
3a For those taking Req 1a: Additional L.RST Elective from category 3 3
3b For those taking Req 1b: Additional L.RST Elective from category 2 3
3c For those taking Req 1c: Additional L.RST Elective from category 2 3
4a For those taking Req 1a: Additional L.RST Elective from category 4 3
4b For those taking taking Req 1b: Additional L.RST Elective from category 4 3
4c For those taking Req 1c: Additional L.RST Elective from category 3 3
5 Additional L.RST Elective from Category 1 – Religious Studies: Ecumenism and Interfaith 3
6 Additional L.RST Elective 3
7 Foundations of Ethics (cross-listed as PHI 301) 3
21 total required credits

View Full Requirements & Additional Information PDF

Career Opportunities

“What can you do with a Religious Studies and Theology degree?”

As a Religious Studies and Theology major, you will be prepared for a variety of interesting careers.

  • Director of Religious Education
  • Youth Minister
  • Campus Minister
  • Social Worker
  • Publishing Assistant
  • Educator

Supporting Your Investment

Loras takes great pride in supporting your investment – both through providing an exceptional learning experience and in sharing the cost of your degree. 100% of Loras students receive financial aid. We have scholarships, grants and special awards for all students based on their achievements and financial need.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take me to earn my Loras degree?

Most students earn their undergraduate degree in four years or less. If you have questions about transferring any previously earned credits or degrees, please see our Transfer Student Information.

How much is tuition?

At Loras College, financial access to education is one of our defining values. We are committed to helping all of our students make their degree affordable. We partner with every student and family to understand their unique financial needs ensuring 100% of Loras students receive financial aid. We offer Scholarships, grants and special awards for all students based on their achievements and financial need. Loras is consistently ranked as one of the best universities for return on investment.  View our Tuition and Fees page.

How do I apply for financial aid?

Submit your federal FAFSA, apply to Loras College and visit loras.edu/financial-aid for information, scholarship opportunities and much more.

Meet Our Professors

Jacob Kohlhaas, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Moral Theology
563.588.7308 | Jacob.Kohlhaas@loras.edu
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Amanda Osheim, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Practical Theology
Director of Breitbach Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program
563.588.7506 | Amanda.Osheim@loras.edu
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David Pitt, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Liturgical and Sacramental Theology
563.588.7324 | David.Pitt@loras.edu
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John Waldmeir
Professor of Religious Studies
563.588.7966 | John.Waldmeir@loras.edu
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Rev. Douglas Wathier, S.T.D.
Professor of Theology
563.588.7013 | Douglas.Wathier@loras.edu
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