Why Major In Theology and Religion?

Theology and Religion – Important in Today's World

A good grasp of religion and theology is crucial for understanding today's world. As a major in theology and religion you will be challenged to think critically and faithfully about life's most meaningful questions, developing a set of skills – habits of heart and mind – that will serve you well wherever you may go, whatever you may do. Theology will help liberate you. It will help you find your way, not just in a career, but in life.

Theology Double-Major for Health Professionals

Theology Double-Major for Legal Professionals

Theology Double-Major for Social Welfare and Justice

Learn From the Best

Faculty members in theology are outstanding scholars and teachers. To learn more about how a theology major could work for you, contact Dr. Alexandre Martins, Director of Undergraduate Studies.

  • Our more than 30 full-time faculty members offer expertise in a wide variety of topics, from the Bible and ancient church history to the history of the Catholic Church in America, from Moses to Martin Luther.
  • Our theology faculty is recognized not only for excellence in research and publication, but also for a singular dedication to teaching. Many of our faculty also have connections to our churches and religious communities, for example, as pastors, priests and religious. Some of our best are also members of the Society of Jesus, which founded Marquette University.
  • We are both Catholic and ecumenical, and we include in our number not only Catholic theologians, but Protestant and Orthodox, Jewish and Muslim as well.
  • The Theology Department is also home to one of Marquette’s premier graduate programs. Many of our outstanding PhD students teach their own theology courses, and they serve as teaching assistants for some undergraduate courses taught by regular faculty. Others teach courses of their own. Just like the regular faculty, our teaching assistants and instructors are there to help you develop all the skills you need for success at Marquette and beyond.

The Benefits of a Theology and Religion Degree from Marquette

Answering the Big Questions

Theology is about the big questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What does it mean to live the good life? Theology is also about life's deepest joys: God is the soul's own deepest desire. What does it mean to delight in God? Or, to put it in more popular terms: Theology is fun, because theology is where meaning and desire meet.

“My theology background has allowed me to examine ethical issues that I encounter with challenging patients (infants who are premature or are critically ill) in a different light. I also think it helps me personally as I try to make sense of the pain and sorrow these babies' families experience.” – a recent alumna working as a neonatal pediatrician 

An Edge in the Job Market

The theology and religion major is practical. As a major, you will learn to think and read carefully and critically, to write and speak clearly and persuasively, on some of the most complex topics. You’ll learn about other religions, such as Islam and Judaism. And you’ll learn to understand better how religious convictions shape us ethically as responsible members of the human community. What employer would not consider that an advantage?

A Wide Array of Career Possibilities

  • Ministerial work. Some go directly into church work, as a youth minister, for example. Others head off to seminary or divinity school to prepare for a career in church ministry, including the Catholic priesthood.

  • Teaching. Many theology majors are preparing for careers as Catholic or Christian elementary or secondary school teachers, or as directors of religious education in parishes.

  • Public service. Theology provides an ideal background for a career in public service — politics, social work, international relations, etc.

  • Graduate school and a career as a college or seminary professor. Many students embrace the challenging goal of graduate study in theology, leading toward a career in teaching at the college level or above. The Marquette Theology Department has its own superior MA and PhD programs. The theology major prepares you well for further success, here at Marquette or wherever you decide to go. In recent years, our grads have gone on for graduate work at such institutions as Boston College, Catholic University of America, Harvard University and many more.

  • Seize the opportunity! Many students choose theology because they see graduate or professional school — business, law, medicine — in their future. They know they may never have a chance to study theology again, and decide to take advantage of the opportunity now.

  • Theology as a secondary major. Secondary theology majors put theology together with their other interests — nursing, business, anthropology, psychology, whatever! — and then go on to study and work in a wide variety of professions. 

  • In addition, our graduates enjoy a variety of careers in public policy, medicine, law and publishing. Combine a secondary theology major with just about anything else, and the chances are you’ll have a winning combination.

Theology and Religion FAQs

What are the requirements for the theology and religion major?

Requires 33 credit hours in theology, including:

  • THEO 1001, Introduction to Theology
  • One two-course sequence in Scripture
  • One course in each of the four theology areas (Historical Theology, Systematic Theology, Ethics, World Religions)
  • Three upper-division theology electives
  • The Capstone Seminar, THEO 4997 (also fulfills the Senior Experience Requirement)

Depending on a student's preparation and educational needs, other courses may be substituted by approval of the departmental adviser, who may also suggest cognate courses in other departments. Students preparing for graduate studies in theology are encouraged to begin courses in a necessary classical (Greek/Hebrew/Latin) or modern language (French/German).

What about a double-major?

Many students double-major in theology and apply what they've learned to jobs in business, nursing, law, psychology and other fields.

Can I afford to double-major?

Yes! Students from other colleges sometimes fear double-majoring would delay their graduation. That is almost never the case. If you choose the courses well (e.g., take theology credits for Diverse Culture, which will count for the UCC, the core of the College of Communication and toward the major) and find together with the director of undergraduate studies cognate courses in your field, double-majoring is sometimes only 19 credits away.

Need help with a double-major?

The department's Director of Undergraduate Studies can work with students to see how you can successfully graduate with your desired double-major.

Should I pursue a theology and religion major if I'm interested in graduate school?

Yes! For students interested in graduate school, the Theology Department has an excellent record of placing graduates in top programs for advanced religious education. Some notable placements have been at Princeton University, Boston College, the University of Chicago Divinity School and the Catholic University of America.

What is a double-major I should consider?

You can double-major in Social Welfare and Justice and Theology and Religion

Courses that emphasize social justice and forgiveness:

  • THEO 2100 New Testament Overview
  • THEO 2310 Explorations in Christian: Theology and Globalization
  • THEO 2310 Explorations in Christian Theology: Theological Anthropology
  • THEO 2400 Christian Discipleship
  • THEO 2500 Theology, Violence and Nonviolence
  • THEO 3010 Hebrew Scriptures: Prophets
  • THEO 3110 New Testament: Selected Books
  • THEO 3420 Bridging the Racial Divide
  • THEO 3530 Theology and Economics
  • THEO 4390 Studies in Systematic Theology: The Quest for Christian Identity
  • THEO 4440 Foundation of Ecological Ethics
  • THEO 4400 Christian Faith and Justice
  • THEO 4410 Family, Church and Society

What about a minor?

The theology minor consists of six courses, including:

  • THEO 1001
  • One course at the 2000 level
  • Four upper division (3000 or 4000) courses. One upper division requirement can be substituted by a course related to theological questions or concerns (biomedical sciences, health sciences, political sciences).

Minor in Theology

What about interdisciplinary minors?

  • Ethics Minor
    The interdisciplinary minor in ethics provides an opportunity for students to explore the moral dimensions of human life and to develop the ability for critical ethical analysis in their personal and professional lives.
  • Peace Studies Major, Minor
    Courses focusing on conceptualizing justice and peace, bridging social communities, promoting social and economic justice, and resolving violent conflict.
  • Learn More
    Please visit the Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences website for information on all of the interdisciplinary majors and minors offered through the college.