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Department of Theology & Religious Studies

A liberal arts education includes an academic understanding of human religious experience. Whatever walk of life students choose, they will meet with individuals from a wide variety of religious perspectives, including "Nones." The Jesuit tradition of inter-religious engagement comes to life in the John Carroll TRS classroom and in wider campus life. Students can choose from a wide variety of courses designed to develop an engaged adult understanding of faith — their own and those of others.

Programs of Study

Every walk of life brings us into contact with people who have a wide variety of religious perspectives, from devout advocates of one religion or another to "nones" and seekers. Academic study of theology and religion gives JCU students the language and categories to communicate across religious and cultural divides. Inter-religious engagement comes alive in the TRS classroom as students probe contested questions of human life and develop an adult understanding of their own and others' faith.

Undergraduate

Major
Theology & Religious Studies

When you study the world’s religions, you will make an impact in more than just the classroom, the church, the mosque, the synagogue, or the temple. Gain the tools to understand and effectively respond to the religious forces that shape contemporary businesses, interpersonal relationships, our society, and the world.

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Minor
Theology & Religious Studies

A minor in Theology and Religious Studies complements a wide variety of majors. You’ll have the opportunity to choose from courses in Scripture, the history of Christianity, theology, world religions, and religious ethics, among many other areas of study.

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Concentration/Option
Borromeo Seminary Institute

The Borromeo Seminary Institute, housed at the Diocese of Cleveland's Center for Pastoral Leadership (CPL), prepares college students seeking the ordained priesthood of the Catholic Church.

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Graduate

Master's
Five-Year B.A./M.A. Program – TRS

The five-year integrated program allows you to complete both the Bachelor of Arts and the Master of Arts degrees in Theology & Religious Studies (TRS) in a compressed five-year time frame rather than the traditional six years.

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Theology and Religious Studies

The Department of Theology and Religious Studies offers graduate courses in scripture, historical theology, systematic theology, religious ethics, world religions, and spirituality, leading to the degree Master of Arts.

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Department Highlights

TRS students from TRS 421 travel-study course spelling OHIO. Photo (c) 2010 by Sheila E. McGinn.

Why Study TRS?

Think religion is passé or theology is only for ministers and religious school teachers? Think again! Coursework in theology and religious studies provides a solid foundation for work in any field that involves cross-cultural communication, empathetic client relationships, critical thinking, ethical decision-making, careful writing, group collaboration, or social action. It makes great preparation for graduate programs in law, journalism, medicine, political science, sociology, and many other fields. A major in TRS integrates well with any other humanities or social science major; a minor complements any JCU major. Students who plan ahead can earn the TRS minor with only one course beyond the University's Core requirements. So, why not TRS?

When you study the world’s religions, you will make an impact in more than just the classroom, the church, the mosque, the synagogue, or the temple. As a student in the TRS program, you'll gain the tools to understand and effectively respond to the religious forces that shape contemporary businesses, interpersonal relationships, our society, and the world.

Career Opportunities

Many jobs in demand today did not exist a decade ago. How do you prepare for careers driven by technologies not yet invented? A well-rounded, liberal-arts-based Jesuit education provides the intellectual skills and mental agility to give you the leading edge in a wide variety of careers and entrepreneurial activities.

The Theology and Religious Studies program teaches you to think critically, communicate cogently, reflect thoughtfully, and engage passionately to address the needs of our contemporary world. If you're looking for a degree program that encourages you to become a fully rounded human being — mind, body, and spirit — the TRS minor, major, 5-year B.A./M.A., or independent M.A. program may be just the fit for you.

Research Opportunities

You'll have many special opportunities to engage in directed research with faculty and collaborative projects to provide you with the knowledge and skills to make a difference in your communities and chosen career.

Faculty

Faculty within the TRS program teach you to think critically, communicate cogently, reflect thoughtfully, and engage passionately to address the needs of our contemporary world.

Michael Younes '17G at poster presentation of his research project focusing on the Calanni collection of artifacts housed at JCU.

Success Stories

A degree in Theology and Religious Studies from John Carroll opens numerous doors for your future. We have alumni attending graduate school or working in many interesting fields, such as, law, local high schools, congregations, higher education, civic organizations, parish or campus ministry, media outlets, and more.

Read more about where our graduates have gone 

St Francis church

Special Programs

John Carroll University TRS is home to three endowed chairs, each specializing in a different religious practice. These endowments support classes as well as lectures, special events, and unique programs to explore different facets of each religious experience. 

Breen Chair

The Jack and Mary Jane Breen Chair seeks to foster a better understanding of the contemporary relevance and global dimensions Catholic theology.

Nursi Chair

The Bediüzzaman Said Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies at John Carroll University was established in 2003. As one of a growing number of institutes and centers dedicated to Islamic studies at universities in North America, the Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies aims to provide both the JCU community and the general public with balanced and responsible, academically rigorous, yet theologically sound information about Islam.

Tuohy Chair

Under the auspices of the Tuohy Chair in Interreligious Studies, the University offers a series of courses and free public lectures on interreligious topics. This program is designed to bring scholars of major religious traditions to campus for dialogue with students, faculty, religious leaders, and the general public.

Group of students who participated in the Vatican City fall program, atop Rocca Calascio, a mountaintop fortress or rocca in the Province of L'Aquila in Abruzzo, Italy.

Beyond the Classroom

Internships

While having an internship is not a requirement of the TRS program, many of our students complete at least one internship during their four years at John Carroll. Student interns work at local churches, schools, and other not-for-profit organizations. Many students get job offers as a result of their internship work. We’ll work with you to customize an internship experience to meet your goals.
 

Service Placements

The religious communities in the Cleveland area are diverse and strong. You can build relationships with the people in the community, discover their needs, and then find ways to meet those needs through service and other activities. Through service-learning courses, you are able to connect this service back to your classroom learning, integrating real-life situations into your discussions.

Study Abroad

We encourage our students to explore and learn from the world through one of JCU’s many study abroad programs. In addition to our occasional study tours, TRS students have studied in Ireland, Spain, and Rome, as well as less typical venues like the Semester-at-Sea program.

picture of the bell tower with white flowers

Borromeo Seminary

The Borromeo Seminary is a house of formation in the Diocese of Cleveland. Men who have been accepted into the Borromeo Seminary program live at the seminary and commute to John Carroll, where they take most of their classes as they work toward their undergraduate degree.

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News & Events

September 4

Former Tuohy Fellow Named Cardinal by Pope Francis