Skip to main content

Religious Studies

Welcome to the Department of Religious Studies

The mission of the Department of Religious Studies is to discover, explore, and analyze religious experience in its various manifestations emphasizing the Roman Catholic tradition, in dialogue with the other Christian traditions and with the world religions.


We are a community of scholars serving the University, academic and local community by teaching, research, prophetic criticism, and action. We study religious experience, expression and thought, with special emphasis on the Roman Catholic tradition while dialoguing with other Christian traditions and other world religions. We are committed to lifelong growth through effective learning in undergraduate general education, an undergraduate major, M.A. programs in theological studies and pastoral ministry, and a Ph.D. in theology centered on the U.S. Catholic experience.


We believe that understanding the human condition necessarily involves understanding religious experience and expression. We believe that the liberal learning to which the College of Arts and Sciences is committed requires the study of religion which opens the imagination to manifestations of the sacred in multiple cultures and enables critical understanding of its inculturated expressions. In keeping with the Catholic and Marianist character of the University, the department is committed to the education of the whole person so that learning can be integrated into the daily life, service activities, faith, and community building.


Students will find value in our undergraduate and graduate programs because we:

  • Provide information and perspective on religion as a powerful and pervasive element of human life
  • Provide an environment which fosters ethical reflection for responsible participation in society
  • Provide a strong major centered in Catholic theology; offer sustained faculty-student interaction at all levels
  • Enable students to connect academic work with experience through practicums, liaison opportunities with campus ministry, and service-learning options
  • Build creative theological work on empirical and historical investigation at the graduate level
In the News
Faculty 02.28.20
Jana Bennett appointed as new Department of Religious Studies chair

The University of Dayton College of Arts and Sciences appointed Jana Bennett as the new Department of Religious Studies chair. Bennett, a professor of religious studies, joined the University faculty in 2008. She begins her new role July 1.

Read more
Diversity and Inclusion 01.16.20
UD grants doctorates in theology to four women graduates

The University of Dayton granted doctoral degrees in theology to four women graduates at its December 2019 commencement ceremony — a notable event given that women typically account for less than 40% of doctorates in religion, according to Academy of Arts and Sciences Humanities Indicators data.

Read more
Humanities and Social Sciences 06.17.19
Ferree Chair of Social Justice

University of Dayton associate professor of religious studies Kelly Johnson will begin July 1 as the first holder of the Father William J. Ferree Chair of Social Justice, named in honor of the Marianist priest whose work influenced contemporary Catholic thinking on social justice.

Read more
Faith/Mission 06.07.19
Gudorf Chair in Catholic Intellectual Traditions

The University of Dayton College of Arts and Sciences has appointed alumnus Timothy Gabrielli as the first Gudorf Chair in Catholic Intellectual Traditions. Currently, he is an associate professor of theology and coordinator of the Religious Studies/Theology & Philosophy department at Seton Hill University.

Read more

Department of Religious Studies

300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1530