What can religion teach you about the meaning of life? About justice? About being a moral person? About your own purpose?

Dive into the deep questions with a major in Religious and Theological Studies. Through courses like Introduction to the Religions of the World, History of Christian Theology, and biblical studies, you’ll learn how to think about religions — your own, if you have one, and others’. Study the development of global religions throughout history and to the present day. Gain an understanding of how religion influences culture, conflicts and current events around the world.

What do our graduates do?

Religious and Theological Studies majors go on to a variety of careers and graduate schools from St. Edward’s. Here’s a sample.

  • Vice president of operations for Adore Ministries
  • Literacy tutor for AmeriCorps
  • Director of the Beecken Center, at the School of Theology, Sewanee
  • Ambassador for poverty relief at Noonday Collection 
  • Teaching fellows with the Alliance for Catholic Education through the University of Notre Dame
  • Year-long volunteer with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps
  • Peace Corps volunteers
  • Recipient of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship
  • Graduate students at the University of Notre Dame, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Harvard Divinity School, Princeton Theological Seminary and Yale Divinity School
Student meeting with success coach

Major Roadmap

Explore your options — classes, internships, research and study abroad. Find what interests you, discover what you love, and create a major experience that jumpstarts your future. 

Religious and Theological Studies Major Guide

Alumni of our program attend graduate studies in religious studies and theology at the University of Notre Dame, Harvard Divinity School, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Yale University, Duke Divinty School, Catholic Theological Union, Drew University, Fordham University, Union Theological Seminary and New York University and flourish in the fields of higher education and ministry.

At the same time, our alumni also go on to Georgetown Law School, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the University of Houston Law Center, Museum Studies at the University of Washington, Agricultural and Applied Economics at Texas Tech, and Social Work at New York University.

For more information on the Religious and Theological Studies major, please contact Professor of Humanities Richard Bautch. The Religious and Theological Studies major is part of the Department of Religious and Theological Studies

Students attending the McCarthy Lecture Series

A New Bible Captivates Campus

A 21st-century illuminated Bible makes its sojourn to St. Edward’s this year.

The Classroom and Beyond

As a Religious and Theological Studies major, you’ll have the chance to apply your education on and off campus. Austin’s religious community is diverse and offers many opportunities to participate in interfaith dialogue, volunteer or intern at faith-based service organizations, or work at the intersection of religion and politics.

Experiential Education

Introduction to Christian Morality focuses on the Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, in the Gospel of Matthew, and Catholic social teaching. As a complement to what you learn in class, you’ll participate in volunteer opportunities through Campus Ministry’s S.E.R.V.E. program. 

In Introduction to Religions and Asian Traditions, you’ll accompany your professor on visits to the Austin Hindu Temple and the Tibetan Buddhist Palri Pema Od Ling temple for a guided meditation with a Tibetan lama.

SEU to You

The study of the Hebrew Bible isn’t all chaos monsters, fallen angels, blood taboos, peasants’ revolts, vanquished kings, messiahs, ecstatic prophecy and apocalypse. In Professor of Religious and Theological Studies Kelley Coblentz Bautch’s RELS 2321 course, students also take up key questions that speak to pressing issues of today.

Student Organizations 

Campus Ministry offers opportunities to deepen your spirituality and your understanding of others’ faiths – whether or not you’re Catholic. Go on a retreat to develop mindfulness (and relationships with fellow students on retreat), attend an interfaith program, or join a Bible study.

Campus Ministry also coordinates several of St. Edward’s signature service programs:

  • S.E.R.V.E Austin is a weekly, semester-long volunteer commitment at a specific site where you’ll develop relationships with immigrants and refugees, children at an after-school program, young adults working on their GED, the elderly or the formerly homeless.
  • S.E.R.V.E. 1 Day events are Saturday-morning programs that include breakfast, transportation to the site, lunch and a reflection. These one-day projects often involve physical labor, like cleaning up a park, removing invasive species or painting a school.
  • Service Break Experiences give you the chance to travel to another community, volunteer and learn about local life. SBEs are built on ongoing relationships between St. Edward’s and the service location and require students to prepare — educationally and spiritually — for several months beforehand. The trips incorporate structured reflections so you’ll integrate what you’ve learned and use it to fuel your charity and justice work going forward. A hallmark of SBEs is their emphasis on living simply — you’ll leave your phone and other luxuries behind. 

St. Edward’s hosts two lecture series that are of particular interest to Religious and Theological Studies majors. The Most Reverend John McCarthy Lecture Series on the Catholic Church in the 21st Century is named in honor of a former Diocese of Austin bishop and features religious and lay experts from around the country discussing issues facing modern and contemporary Catholicism. The Nostra Aetate Lecture explores the interreligious values reflected in the groundbreaking Vatican II (1965) document of the same name.

The Red Bench is a dialogue program centered on moderated small group discussions designed to be respectful, safe, and engaging. No one is expected to be an expert on the topics, but all are invited to share from their personal experiences and listen with their hearts. Campus Ministry partners with iACT (Interfaith Action of Central Campus) to bring this program to campus.

Internships

The Religious and Theological Studies major prepares you for professional opportunities including in the nonprofit, media, healthcare and arts sectors, and any career that pertains to religion. In recent semesters, our students have interned at locations including these:

  • Interfaith Action of Central Texas
  • Catholic Charities of Central Texas
  • Travis County Correctional Complex
  • The Office of Worship for the Diocese of Austin
  • St. Michael's Catholic Academy
  • Adore Ministries 
  • The Institute for Diversity and Civic Life