Theology and Religious Studies

The Department of Theology and Religious Studies offers an A.B. major and a minor.

Major in Theology and Religious Studies

Students majoring in Theology and Religious Studies focus on one of four concentrations and must set up a program with the advisor designated for the chosen concentration. “Intermediate” level courses are those in the 011–199 range. “Advanced” courses are numbered 200 and above.

Required Courses for the Major

Regardless of concentration, the major requires a total of 11 courses — the two core courses and nine additional courses. Specific requirements as below:

  • 2 core courses – THEO-001 or 011 and one additional course 011-199

Note: It is recommended that students majoring in any area of Christian studies fulfill the core requirements by taking both The Problem of God (THEO-001) and Introduction to Biblical Literature (THEO-011). Students majoring in other areas of religious studies are encouraged to fulfill the core requirement by taking The Problem of God (THEO-001) and a course in their area of interest.

Religion, Politics, and the Common Good

  • THEO-197, Religion, Politics, and the Common Good
  • 1 advanced ethics course
  • 6 electives approved by advisor (up to 3 of which may be taken outside the department; 1 must be taken outside the department)
  • THEO-297, Seminar on Religious Pluralism

Christian Theology Concentration

  • THEO-272, Systematic Theology
  • THEO-281 or 282, History of Christian Thought I or II
  • 1 Scripture Seminar from  THEO257–259 or 266–268
  • 3 advanced level electives approved by advisor
  • 2 other approved electives
  • THEO-297, Seminar on Religious Pluralism 

Biblical Studies Concentration

  • 1 Hebrew Scripture Seminar THEO-257–259
  • 1 New Testament Seminar  THEO-266–268
  • 3 advanced level electives approved by advisor
  • 3 other approved electives
  • THEO-297, Seminar on Religious Pluralism 

Ethics Concentration

  • THEO 100, Introduction to Christian Ethics, or THEO-076, Religious Ethics/Moral Issues
  • 1 course in the sources of ethics, either scripturally or doctrinally.  Subject to approval of the Concentration Advisor.
  • 1 advanced course in ethics
  • 2 other advanced courses in Theology and Religious Studies
  • 3 other electives approved by advisor
  • THEO-297, Seminar on Religious Pluralism 

Religious Studies Concentration

  • THEO-273, Approaches to Religion (273)
  • 1 advanced level course in Study of a Community
  • 1 advanced level course in Problems/Boundaries in Religious Studies
  • 5 other electives approved by advisor
  • THEO-297, Seminar on Religious Pluralism 

Senior Honors Thesis (THEO-310) may be undertaken by all Theology and Religious Studies majors under the direction of a faculty mentor with departmental approval. Consult the department website for procedures.

Christian Theology Concentration: This concentration provides a grounding in the sacred writings, history, and systematic elaboration of the Christian faith. The requirements are: three core courses (one course in Systematic Theology 272; one Scripture Seminar in the 257–259 or 266–268 range; and one course in the History of Christian Thought, either 281 or 282), three other advanced courses to be selected in consultation with the designated theology advisor for this concentration, two other approved courses at either the intermediate or advanced level, and the Senior Seminar in Religious Pluralism 297.

Biblical Studies Concentration: This program is designed for students who wish to study extensively the books of the Bible, the traditions contained therein, the process of their formation, as well as the methodology for uncovering their meaning. The requirements are: two core courses (one Hebrew Scripture Seminar in the 257–259 range; one New Testament Seminar in the 266–268 range), three other advanced courses to be selected in consultation with the designated theology advisor for this concentration, three other approved courses at either the intermediate or advanced level, and the Senior Seminar in Religious Pluralism 297.

Ethics Concentration: This concentration is designed for students who wish to understand the sources, methods, and topics of ethics from a religious perspective. Students may concentrate on  Christian ethics, on ethics within a different religious tradition, or on religious ethics more generally, and may also focus on areas such as social justice, comparative ethics, or social and cultural moral issues. The requirements are: three core courses (one introductory course, Ethics and Issues 076 or 100; one course in sources for religious ethics: scriptures, theologies, and traditions; one advanced level ethics course in the 200 range or above), two other advanced courses, three other approved courses at either the intermediate or advanced level, and the Senior Seminar in Religious Pluralism 297. All courses are to be selected in consultation with the designated advisor for this concentration.

Religious Studies Concentration: This concentration is available for students interested in the comparative and critical study of a variety of religious traditions such as Hinduism and Judaism, as well as theoretical issues in the study of religion. Among the theoretical issues are how religion relates to science, art, literature, and politics. The requirements are: three core courses (Approaches to Religion 273; one advanced course in the Study of a Religious Community in the 200 range or above; one advanced course in Problems/Boundaries in Religious Studies in the 200 range or above), five additional courses at the intermediate or advanced level (to be selected in consultation with the designated theology advisor for this concentration), and the concluding Senior Seminar in Religious Pluralism 297.

Limits and Maximums

Students may transfer a maximum of three courses to the major from coursework taken during a semester or full year abroad abroad. Courses must be taught by someone credentialed in Religion or Theology, have religion or theology as their primary focus, and be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Transfer students majoring in Theology and Religious Studies may transfer a maximum of five courses taken at a previous institution to the major with approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Finally, note that all majors are required to complete a minimum of 18 credits in Theology and Religious Studies in residence at Georgetown.

Integrated Writing Requirement

All Theology and Religious Studies majors are required to take at least three advanced department courses (i.e., 200 level and above).  These courses are seminars, with enrollment capped at 20, and are open only to upper-level students.  The seminar format is meant to encourage student initiative in exploring topics and concerns within theology and religious studies and to help students develop the tools necessary for the academic study of religion.  Finally, these courses have a strong writing component and are intended to improve students’ skills at written communication (e.g., critical thinking; analysis of texts and communication of insights; organization; the development of an argument based on appropriately justified claims, etc.).  Together these courses fulfill the university’s Integrated Writing requirement.


Minor in Theology and Religious Studies

Requirements for the Minor in Theology and Religious Studies

The minor requires a total of six courses:

  • 2 core courses – THEO-001 or 011 and one additional course 011-199
  • Four additional electives. Minors are required to take one course at the advanced level (200+)

Note: At least four courses in the minor must be THEO courses, originating in the Theology and Religious Studies department (i.e., there can be no more than two courses in other Georgetown University departments that have been cross-listed or transferred from study abroad or summer at another institution, subject to approval from the Director of Undergraduate Studies). An exception is made for transfer students, who may transfer a maximum of three courses taken at a previous institution. 


(For course listings for Theology see Schedule of Classes)