School of Liberal Arts
Chair: Professor Joseph Kelley
Professors Allman, and Kay
Associate Professor Enright, O.S.A.
Assistant Professor Ridenour
Professor of the Practice of Theology Gribaudo, CSJ (Austin Scholars)
Religious and theological studies at Merrimack College investigate the meaning and purpose of life through a study of Christianity and other religious traditions. As a department at a Catholic and Augustinian institution of higher education, we ensure that students encounter the richness of the Catholic spiritual, intellectual and ecclesial tradition in the course of their study, and that they are introduced to the life, thought and influence of Saint Augustine.
Religious and theological studies enable students to engage in the appreciative and intellectually rigorous study of the single most powerful feature of human life: religion. The Department offers a comprehensive program that not only investigates many aspects of Christianity, but also provides opportunities for the study of other religions.
Courses in this department enable students to:
- Understand the world around them by analyzing the religious influences in history, politics, science, and economics.
- Explore the most pressing ethical issues of the day, as well as the psychological and sociological forces that shape the human search for meaning.
- Develop analytical and writing skills, as well as a cross-cultural understanding and appreciation of the diversity of American culture.
- Attain a better understanding of themselves, their values and what ultimately makes them happy and fulfilled.
Because religion addresses these most basic questions, it also involves controversial topics. By becoming a religious and theological studies major or minor one engages some of the most exhilarating ideas, persons, and movements in all of human history. The ideas, readings and conversations encourage one to reflect on the meaning and direction of one’s own life and relationship to the eternal.
Opportunities include a major in religious studies, a major in theological studies, a general minor in religious and theological studies, and interdisciplinary minors in Science & Religion and in Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations.
The introductory courses are given numbers at the 1000 level because they are the most basic in our department and are appropriate for first year students. All other courses are given numbers in the 2000, 3000, and 4000 range. These numbers are intended to indicate the progressively more challenging nature of the courses.
All students at Merrimack College entering as of fall 2012 are required to fulfill the Liberal Studies Core Religious and Theological Studies requirement (any course at the 1000 level). Many religious and theological studies courses fulfill core requirements such as Arts and Literature (AL), Ethics (E), Cultural Diversity (D), Experiential Learning (X), and Historical Studies (H).
Learning Goals. Upon successful completion of a major in Religious and Theological Studies the student will be able to:
- demonstrate knowledge of central terms, ideas and issues; major theories; and historical, social, and cultural contexts that have influenced and are influenced by religion and religions
- demonstrate writing and research skills including description, analysis and argumentation, ability to locate relevant information, and familiarity and usage of reference sources and styles
- demonstrate understanding of material through integrating theory with evidence and using proper methodology
- demonstrate understanding of the moral dimension of human life through ethical, critical and personal reflection
Categories of Religious and Theological Studies Courses
Religion, Society & Ethics
ProgramsBachelor of ArtsMinorOther Programs