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Religious Studies and Theology

A Community of Learners

Our majors are part of a tight-knit community of learners, asking critical questions about the study of religion and theology today. Our graduates contribute meaningfully to the fields of ministry, law, medicine, political science, business and education. They also go on to the nation's top graduate programs in religious studies and theology.


acceptance into graduate schools the past 5 years

5 Years

earn your bachelors plus masters in just 5 years


recent grads have entered top postgraduate programs at Notre Dame, Boston College and Emory University, among others

A High-Quality Education

  • Hands-on Research
  • Interdisciplinary Learning
  • Community
  • Our students have access to the resources of the Marian Library, recognized both nationally and internationally as a center for scholarship on the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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    All first-year religious studies students are enrolled in the Core Program, designed to deepen the learning experience through living communities and participation in an innovative, interdisciplinary curriculum.

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    Our students and faculty are engaged. Our community of scholars serves the University and local community through teaching, research, prophetic criticism and action.

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    Get the Facts: Our Degree and Our Minors

    A major in Religious Studies and Theology deepens knowledge of Catholic and Christian traditions as well as a variety of non-Christian traditions, and their impact on modern life and issues.

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    Earn both your bachelor's degree and master's degree at the University of Dayton through one streamlined program.

    The 5-year “Bachelor's Plus Master's” (BPM) degree option allows students to obtain both a bachelor of arts in religious studies and theology and a master of arts in theological studies in five years. The undergraduate degree is earned in the first four years, with the master's degree being earned in the fifth year.

    BPM students are charged at the regular undergraduate tuition rate for their first four years, and are offered an ~30% discounted rate (the graduate tuition rate) for the 24 semester hours of graduate coursework they must complete in their fifth year. To help support their M.A. degree completion, several paid teaching opportunities in the department are available for BPM students.

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    Disability studies is a young academic field, but has developed over the past 15 years to become an important field related to many disciplines, including but not limited to: anthropology, biology, health professions, bio mechanical engineering, history, literature, religious studies, and communications. We propose this interdisciplinary minor as a way to bring together the several faculty on campus who research and teach in disability studies, and to offer their expertise to a wider range of students than just in their major field of study.

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    This interdisciplinary 12-credit minor engages the history of Judaism, development of Jewish thought, religious practice and culture. In addition to a survey course in the Jewish tradition, the minor includes an elective on a topic in the Hebrew Bible and two additional electives from a collection of courses in English, Global Languages and Cultures, Philosophy and Religious Studies.

    This interdisciplinary 12-credit minor, housed in the Religious Studies department, investigates key sources of the Catholic-Marianist tradition with emphasis on their import for today’s world. The minor includes at least one course on special topics in Marianist Studies, a course on the Theology of Mary and two additional electives from among a list courses in English, Sociology, Political Science, Education or Religious Studies.

    Whether your career goals are in business, communication, medicine, law, public service, the arts, engineering or any other field, this minor will strengthen your understanding and appreciation for the perspectives, values and contributions of coworkers, clients and others.

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    If you are intrigued by belief systems, ethical values and devotional practices in your personal life and around the world, this minor can connect those concepts and questions with your current studies. This minor can compliment any degree program at the University of Dayton.

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    Theology is a search for a deeper understanding of one's faith and experience of God. It explores one's knowledge of faith and how that faith can lead to service and promotion of the common good.

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    This minor offers an excellent opportunity to prepare to teach religion (catechesis) in Catholic schools or parish ministry today, whether as a full-time vocation or as a volunteer.

    Watch for new offerings:
    Marian Studies

    The International Marian Research Institute (IMRI) is in the process of transitioning to its new home in the College of Arts and Sciences. The Department of Religious Studies is developing Marian course offerings in connection with IMRI's transition, and plans to offer certificates at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Plans are still being formulated for offerings in the 2021-2022 year.

    Contact chairperson Jana Bennett for more information
    Proposed Minor: Jewish Studies

    Jewish studies is an important subfield within religious studies and is integral to critically understanding religious diversity and the development of Christianity and Islam. The Department of Religious Studies is developing this interdisciplinary minor as a way to bring together the several faculty on campus who research and teach in Jewish studies and to offer their expertise to a wider range of students than just in their major field of study.

    This 12 semester hour minor requires students to take a 3 sem. hr. general overview course (REL 207) and three electives that can be drawn from a list of courses in religious studies, German and English. These courses will help students engage the history of Judaism, development of Jewish thought, religious practice and culture.

    Featured Programs and Initiatives

    Preparing for a Career in Religious Education

    Our collaborative program with the School of Education and Health Sciences and the Forum for Young Catechetical Leaders allows students to gain certification for careers in religious education, youth ministry and more. Students in this program either double-major in religious studies and theology and education or they minor in theology, catechesis.

    Engaging in Research

    Our students engage with faculty and students from other disciplines across the University to further their understanding of how the religious experience affects society as a whole. Please enjoy this example of recent student research.


    Department of Religious Studies

    Humanities, Room 301
    300 College Park
    Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1530


    the average class size for upper level religious studies courses