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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.

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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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 careers choices are there for students of religious study?
In Our Words

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

Personal Student Testimonies
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
Research 10.05.20
University of Dayton launches new award for undergraduate student research in Catholic intellectual traditions

A new award honoring the memory of a University of Dayton alumnus and Marianist leader recognizes outstanding undergraduate student research related to Catholic intellectual traditions.

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Faith/Mission 10.02.20
A Saturday Class for the Common Good

Why are UD students taking a class on Saturday?

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Research 04.20.20
National Endowment for the Humanities awards University of Dayton nearly $100K for creation of Paul Laurence Dunbar courses and archive

The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded the University of Dayton nearly $100,000 to develop interdisciplinary courses and create a digital archive to help preserve the legacy of Dayton native Paul Laurence Dunbar, one of the first influential black poets in American literature

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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.

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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.

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