Theology & Religious Studies (TRS)

Professors: J. Bretzke, S.J., E. Hahnenberg (Department Chair), Z. Saritoprak; Associate Professors: N. Bickart, K. Tobey; Visiting Assistant Professor: T. Blanton

John Carroll University considers the study of theology and religion an integral part of a liberal education. As a Jesuit and Catholic university, John Carroll provides the opportunity for students to choose courses designed to give them an understanding of the religious dimensions of the human experience commensurate with their other learning. The University Core requirement in theology and religious studies (TRS) is satisfied by two appropriately designated 3-credit TRS courses, at least one of which must be taken at the 3000 level.

TRS courses at the 1000, 2000, and 3000 levels are open to all students except where prerequisites are specifically stated, and may be used to fulfill requirements of the JCU Core Curriculum. 1000-level courses serve as introductions to the academic study of religion at the college level. 2000-level courses involve broad surveys of one or more issues and topics fundamental to the field. 3000-level courses allow students to engage in more in-depth study of one or more of the issues and topics significant to a contemporary understanding of theology and/or religious studies. Enrollment in 4000-level courses typically is restricted to TRS majors, minors, and graduate students; other students with special interests may seek permission of the department chair.

The Department of Theology & Religious Studies offers a major and minor. The department also collaborates with the Borromeo Seminary Institute (BSI) in offering undergraduate theology courses for pre-seminarians and other interested undergraduates.

The Department of Theology & Religious Studies offers graduate courses in biblical studies, moral theology, sociology of religion, Catholic theology, spirituality, Judaism, Islam, and the religious traditions of Asia, leading to the Master of Arts degree. The department also hosts a Certificate in Theological Education (CTE), a Certificate in Pastoral Ministry (CPM), and collaborates with the Ignatian Spirituality Institute (ISI) for students interested in pursuing a certificate in Ignatian spiritual direction. The department’s various graduate programs meet the educational requirements of those interested in continued academic study, religious education, ministry, and other professional careers related to theology and religion. For more information, visit the TRS website.

TRS Endowed Programs

The TRS department is privileged to host four endowed programs that support curricular efforts and related programming in particular areas of theology and religious studies, as well as efforts in interreligious engagement. For information on these programs, please consult the respective websites.

  • The Walter and Mary Tuohy Chair in Interreligious Studies 

  • The Bediüzzaman Said Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies

  • The Jack and Mary Jane Breen Chair in Catholic Theology

  • The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Chair in Jewish Studies

TRS Certificate Programs

The TRS department supports three post-baccalaureate certificate programs that can be pursued independently or as a concentration within the TRS Master of Arts degree program.

  • The Certificate in Pastoral Ministry (CPM) meets the intellectual formation components necessary to become a Certified Lay Ecclesial Minister in the Diocese of Cleveland.

  • The Certificate in Theological Education (CTE) is designed for teachers (or those intending to become teachers) in Catholic secondary schools.

  • The Ignatian Spirituality Institute (ISI) certificate program prepares people  to become spiritual directors in the tradition of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola.

Five-Year Integrated B.A./M.A. Program

The 4+1 Integrated Graduate Program in Theology & Religious Studies is designed for undergraduate students who wish to earn the Master of Arts degree with an additional year of study beyond the baccalaureate degree. Undergraduates may apply for admission to the M.A. program in the junior year. For students who are accepted, up to 12 credits of graduate coursework may be taken during the senior year and applied toward both the TRS major or minor and the TRS Master of Arts degree. Students complete the 30-credit M.A. by taking the remaining 18 graduate credits during a fifth year. Students in the Integrated Graduate Program also have the opportunity to earn the Certificate in Theological Education by the end of the fifth year, qualifying them to teach high school theology within the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.