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Religious Studies

Study religious experience, expression and thought

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.

Our undergraduate programs.

We are committed to lifelong growth through effective learning in undergraduate general education, with an undergraduate major and four undergraduate minors. We also offer an integrated Bachelor Plus Master's program.

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Our graduate programs.

We offer two master's degrees in pastoral ministry and theological studies, which prepare students for ministry in the church, university and community, and for further academic study. Our theology Ph.D. program has a distinctive research focus on the practices/praxis of Catholicism in United States context.

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Marian Studies

The International Marian Research Institute (IMRI) is no longer offering graduate degrees and 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. Offerings for the 2021-2022 year are still being developed.

Contact chairperson Jana Bennett for more information

Who are we?

We are a community of scholars serving the University and our 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 world religions. 

Meet Our Faculty

Grow with us.

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. This can be achieved through both our curricular and extracurricular activities.

Opportunities and Activities
What Our Students Have to Say

Read what our undergraduate students have to say about studying religious studies at the University of Dayton.

Personal Student Testimonies
Scholarships for Master of Arts Students

Students enrolled in our Master of Arts programs are encouraged to apply for three scholarship opportunities:

  • Patrick J. Tonry, S.M. Scholarship for the Advancement of Women in Ministry
  • Sisters of the Precious Blood Scholarship
  • Thomas M. Martin Memorial Scholarship Fund
Learn More and Apply
What careers choices are there for students of religious study?
We are here for you.
Our faculty and students are engaged.

Faculty from our department recently discussed petitionary prayer with students in a far-ranging conversation about the relationship between prayer and work for justice, human freedom and God's action, and providence and history, with a special shout-out to Doctor Who mixed in. This event was led by Dr. Kelly Johnson, Fr. William J. Ferree Chair of Social Justice.

Visit the Website of the Fr. William J. Ferree Chair of Social Justice >

Growing knowledge through research and scholarship.

Department chair, Jana Bennett and theological studies graduate Trevor Gundlach '16 were recipients of 2020 Catholic Book Awards presented by the Catholic Press Association. Jana received first place in the Sacraments category for Naming Our Sins: How Recognizing the Seven Deadly Vices Can Renew the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Trevor received second place in the new author category for his book, Barstool Theology. Congratulations to both for recognition of their dedication to scholarship and research.

Learn about the Catholic Press Association
In the News
Faculty 05.18.21
In Memoriam: Rev. William P. Anderson

The Rev. William P. Anderson, Presbyterian minister and professor emeritus in the University of Dayton Department of Religious Studies, died May 7. He was 85.

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Faith/Mission 03.02.21
University of Dayton Marian Forum explores connections between Annunciation, modern challenges of racism, immigration and the pandemic

What wisdom does Mary, the mother of Jesus, have to offer us about contemporary concerns we’ve been facing in the past year?

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Faculty and Staff 02.22.21
University of Dayton professor wins first prize at Catholic Book Awards for book about recognizing seven deadly sins

University of Dayton professor Jana Bennett’s newest book won first prize at the Catholic Media Association’s 2020 Catholic Book Awards.

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