Saint Xavier University Mercy Ministry Center

Philosophy, Religious Studies and Theology

Religious Studies Programs and Requirements

The purposes and programs of the Religious Studies Department aim at fostering critical and informed perspectives on religion and religious traditions. The department is a place where the breadth and depth of the Christian tradition is freely explored, and where the ecumenical and interfaith dialogue inaugurated by the Second Vatican Council is richly embodied in an array of courses and sequences of study. Please review the program requirements and course descriptions in the SXU Academic Catalog for more information.

Religious Studies Major

The need for rigorous understanding of religious worldviews, values, and institutions is arguably greater now than ever before. The 31-credit hour major in Religious Studies offers you the chance to explore the vital role religion plays, not only in history, but in shaping contemporary society. The curriculum offers you the choice of two different tracks of study to best meet your interests and goals:

  • Theological Studies - Focusing on the rich heritage of the Catholic tradition, this academic track will provide you with the knowledge and skills appropriate for careers in theology and ministry.
  • Religion, Politics and Civil Society - Emphasizing the role of diverse religious traditions in the formation of modern society, this track helps you build a foundation for activism, inter-faith and social justice leadership.

What skills will I gain as a Religious Studies major?

  • Knowledge - Your courses will provide you with an understanding of the sources of religious tradition (both your own and others'), and how to think carefully about the needs of the present in terms of the wisdom of received tradition.
  • Communication and Leadership - Interdisciplinary courses in communication and leadership will help you develop the skills of communicating your knowledge to others.
  • Application - Internships will offer you the chance to apply your problem-solving skills and prepare you for a career after graduation.
  • Research - In the upper-division coursework, you will learn how to seek out reliable information in response to your own questions about religious history, faith, doctrine and practice.

Why Study Religion at Saint Xavier?

  • SXU Community - Since 1846, Saint Xavier has been guided by the charism of the Sisters of Mercy to work for social justice within the city of Chicago. Studying at Saint Xavier will allow you to work within this tradition, not only as part of the university's own ministry programs, but with a range of institutions in a major metropolitan area.
  • Personalized experience - Small class sizes and opportunities for individualized research projects mean that you will be able to work closely with your faculty to discern and follow a path based on your interests.
  • Academic success - Religious Studies graduates have gone on to professional and academic careers in social service, ministry, higher education and business.

Religious Studies Minor

The Religious Studies minor consists of 18 credit-hours, six of which may be fulfilled by the core requirements in religious studies. Minors may fulfill the requirements by successfully completing any four or more additional courses from those offered by the department, including one seminar.

Catholic Studies Minor

The minor in Catholic Studies consists of 18 credit-hours, six of which will fulfill the core requirements in religious studies.