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School of Arts and Sciences | Religious Studies

Aims and Objectives
The Mission Statement of Ursuline College underscores the importance of the total development of persons. Study of the humanities and/or liberal arts fosters this growth, and religion has an integral part to play in such an education. The Religious Studies Department seeks to promote, deepen, and support the spiritual as well as the intellectual life of students. It encompasses the study of Scripture, the moral life, systematic and pastoral theology, religious history, world religions, and spirituality. Religion deals with those areas of life that most closely touch upon a person's relationship with God. The Religious Studies Department challenges the student to face the ultimate meaning of human existence and its relationship to the transcendent.

At Ursuline the theological focus is centered in the Roman Catholic tradition. However, the Religious Studies Department provides courses outside of and encompassing more than that tradition. The department offers two different majors: one in Catholic Studies and one in Religious Studies. There are minors available in both areas as well. It is also possible to achieve a major in Jewish Studies through affiliation with the Laura and Alvin Siegal College of Judaic Studies.

Religious Studies Fact Sheet

Course Requirements

Requirements for the Major

The Religious Studies major consists of 34 credits: RS 205, 312, 314, 322, 325, 342, 490 and five RS electives at the 200+ level.

Concentrations within the Major
Students completing the Religious Studies Major may elect to work toward the completion of their required number of RS electives in one of four areas of concentration. The Catholic Studies Concentration consists of RS 255, 311, 331 and 333. The Religion and Society Concentration consists of any four courses bearing a 360 or 460 numerical designation. The Pastoral Theology Concentration consists of any three courses bearing a 366 or 466 designation and RS 475 (a three credit internship). Students who do not choose one of these three areas of concentration may complete the RS major with the General Religious Studies Concentration whereby the student may take any 200+ level RS courses toward the completion of the RS electives.

Requirements for the Minor
The Religious Studies Minor consists of a minimum of 21 credits: RS 205, 312, 314, 322, 325, 342 and one RS elective at the 200+ level.

Requirements for Ursuline Studies
Students are required to complete 6 credits of Religious Studies courses for the fulfillment of their Stage III courses. Students may transfer credit for upper-division religious studies courses taken previously at colleges with missions similar to that of Ursuline. However, if courses in Religious Studies are needed, they must be taken from Stage III Ursuline Studies offerings; they may not be taken at any other institution. Only students who are pursuing a major in Jewish Studies through Siegal College may satisfy their Ursuline Studies requirements there in conjunction with that major. In all cases of transfer credit, courses completed more than twenty years ago will be accepted for transfer to Ursuline College only at the discretion of the department chair.

Course Descriptions

RS 205
Introduction to the Study of Religion (3)
A survey of the development of religion as a human response to the Sacred. Various approaches to the study of religion are introduced: historical, sociological, anthropological, and theological. Special emphasis is placed on the symbolic and ritual aspects of religious expression, faith and belief. Ursuline Studies Stage II World Culture satellite (WO).

RS 231
Religion in American Culture (3)
An examination of the religious traditions that have shaped American culture. This course provides an analysis of the religious pluralism that is identified with American life and values today. Ursuline Studies Stage II American Culture satellite (AM).

RS 255
History of Catholicism in America (3)
A survey of the development of the Roman Catholic community in the United States from 1492 until the present. Special emphasis is given to the social and cultural dimensions of this history and to the role of the laity in the church. Ursuline Studies Stage II American Culture satellite (AM).

RS 275
World Religions (3)
This study is an introduction to selected religions of the world within the framework of their history and cultural systems. Specific areas of study will include significant religious traditions of the Far East, the Middle East, and Native American expressions. Ursuline Studies Stage II World Culture satellite (WO)

RS 288, 488
Special Topics (3)
An occasional course examining a particular aspect of religious studies not in the regular course of studies.

RS 311
Jesus: Divine and Human (3)
An exploration of the following topics: New Testament Christology; conciliar definitions and theological development; contemporary questions concerning the Jesus of history vs. the Christ of faith; Jesus' knowledge and his self-consciousness. Ursuline Studies Stage III Religious Studies satellite.

RS 312
Hebrew Scriptures (3)
A survey of Old Testament books, history, interpretation, and motifs in the light of modern biblical studies. Ursuline Studies Stage III Religious Studies satellite.

RS 314
Christian Scriptures (3)
An exegetical historical study of the Gospels, Epistles, Acts and Revelation with an emphasis on the experiences and faith beliefs of the early communities who wrote them. Application is made to contemporary Christianity. Ursuline Studies Stage III Religious Studies satellite.

RS 322
Christian Theology and Belief (3)
This course will present the basic beliefs, theological concepts, and worldview of the Christian theological tradition. It will survey these beliefs in light of their historical development, beginning with the early Christian period and continuing through the contemporary era. Special attention will be given to the central Christian concerns over: faith and revelation, creation, Trinity, Christology and soteriology, ecclesiology, sin and grace, sacramentality, spirituality and devotional practice, and eschatology. Ursuline Studies Stage III satellite

RS 325
Fundamental Principles of Morality (3)
A consideration of the objective standards and personal dimensions of the moral life. Includes the sources of moral wisdom, methodology, formation of conscience, and human liberty. Ursuline Studies Stage III Religious Studies satellite.

RS 331
Sacramental Encounter with Christ (3)
The history and theology of the sacraments of the Catholic tradition with an emphasis on their expression in communal ritual celebrations. Ursuline Studies Stage III Religious Studies satellite.

RS 333
Nature and Mission of the Catholic Church (3)
A study of what the Roman Catholic Church says about itself in Vatican Council II (1962-65) and a consideration of events and writings since the Council as they affect the Church's self-understanding. Ursuline Studies Stage III Religious Studies satellite.

RS 342
History of Christianity (3)
A survey of the significant events that have shaped the development of Christianity from its origin to the present. Ursuline Studies Stage III Religious Studies satellite.

RS 360 [A,B,C]; 460[A,B,C]
Topics in Church and Society (3)
Courses in this area explore the relationship of the Church to the contemporary world in relation to social justice, ecojustice, liberation theology, human relationships, women in the church, religion and violence, etc. See course schedule for current offerings (Ursuline Studies Stage III Religious Studies satellites) and the College Catalog for complete descriptions.

RS 366 [A,B,C,D,F,G]; 466[B,C]
Topics in Spiritual and Pastoral Theology (3)
Courses in this area address spirituality and pastoral themes related to Christian living, for example, marriage and family life, suffering and death, the spiritual journey, etc. See course schedule for current offerings. Ursuline Studies Stage III Religious Studies satellites. See course schedule for current offerings (Ursuline Studies Stage III Religious Studies satellites) and the College Catalog for complete descriptions.

RS 369 [A,B]; 469[A,B]
Topics in Scriptural Studies (3)
Courses in this area offer selected topics in various books and themes of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. Ursuline Studies Stage III Religious Studies satellites. See course schedule for current offerings (Ursuline Studies Stage III Religious Studies satellites) and the College Catalog for complete descriptions.

RS 351, 352
Reading Seminar (3)
An occasional course involved with reading, analysis and discussion of selected works or topics.

RS 400
Special Workshop (1-3)

RS 461, 462
Independent Study (1-3)
Directed study and research on selected topics not offered as catalog courses. Approval of department chair required.

RS 475
Academic Internship (credit varies)
An off-campus learning experience to provide the student with the opportunities to relate academic and educational goals to learning experiences and situations beyond the limits of the classroom.

RS 490
Senior Research Project (1)
This independent study or internship experience provides the opportunity for graduating seniors to demonstrate their ability to integrate knowledge and skills acquired in the Religious Studies program. The project permits the students to focus on an area of particular interest to them.

RS 199, 299, 399, 499
External Learning Assessment (credit varies)
Measurable and verifiable learning which has occurred outside of the traditional classroom. Numerical designation indicates level of proficiency in the topic. Courses for which there is an exact Ursuline College equivalent are listed by the appropriate numerical designation. "PL" is listed before all course titles for which credit is granted through external learning assessment.

The Ministry Bridge Program is an accelerated course of study for earning a Master of Arts in Ministry degree. Students admitted to the Bridge Program as undergraduate Religious Studies majors at Ursuline College will be able to complete the Master's degree work in a shortened time frame. The Bridge Program is structured to allow undergraduate majors to earn a release of up to eight graduate credits toward the 36 credit hour Master of Arts in Ministry degree.

The director of the Graduate Ministry Program in conversation with the chair of the undergraduate Religious Studies program will determine eligibility for the Bridge Program. The criteria for admission are as follows:
  • Ursuline College Religious Studies major
  • 3.0 undergraduate GPA and 3.3 GPA in the undergraduate major
  • Completed at least 90 credit hours toward the BA degree
  • Application to the Graduate Ministry Program, which includes three letters of recommendation and an interview with the director