Deepen your understanding of your own faith, or learn about the social, intellectual and spiritual impact of one of the world’s largest religions.
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.
There are no bad questions — or easy answers — here. As a Catholic Studies major, you’ll examine Catholicism from the perspectives of literature, history, philosophy and theology. Graduate ready to work in ministry, teaching, advocacy, or nonprofits that serve the community. Or continue your studies in graduate school and become a scholar who shares your knowledge with others.
What do our graduates do?
Catholic Studies majors go on to a variety of careers and graduate schools from St. Edward’s. Here’s a sample.
- Coordinator of Youth Ministry at St. Catherine of Alexandria Catholic Church
- Campus minister at Rice University in Houston
- Director at the Global Livingston Institute, a Denver-based non-governmental organization that focuses on development in East Africa
- 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
The Catholic Studies major is part of the Department of Religious and Theological Studies.
A New Bible Captivates Campus
A 21st-century illuminated Bible makes its sojourn to St. Edward’s this year.
The Classroom and Beyond
At St. Edward’s, you’ll be able to deepen your understanding of the Catholic faith through spiritual practice, service, discussing ideas with other students, and even studying abroad in predominantly Catholic environments.
Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel holds daily mass, and students serve as liturgical ministers and ministers of hospitality. Attending adoration in the chapel and praying the rosary at the Grotto are other ways to deepen your faith in solitude or alongside other students.
Campus Ministry at St. Edward’s offers programs that enhance your spiritual life. Small-group Bible studies and retreats help you meet other students and set aside time to focus on prayer and scripture. The peer ministry program equips student leaders to help plan retreats, interfaith events and programs that support social justice advocacy.
St. Edward’s hosts two lecture series that are of particular interest to Catholic 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.
You’ll have plenty of chances to learn about the Austin community – and beyond – while giving back:
- 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.
- The nonprofit fair at the beginning of the school year showcases other service opportunities off campus.
- 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.
You’ll also be encouraged to put your faith into practice through advocating for a more just world. St. Edward’s students can volunteer or intern with Catholic social justice organizations including Pax Christi, NETWORK and the Campaign to End the Death Penalty.
As an interdisciplinary major, Catholic Studies lends itself to internships in the arts, education, social services and many other fields. Students have also completed internships at these organizations:
- Texas Catholic Conference
- Life Teen Inc.
- The Catholic Diocese of Austin
- Local Catholic schools
- Children’s and youth ministries at Catholic churches in the Austin area
Major Requirements: The BA in Catholic Studies requires 28 hours of Catholic Studies major courses, which includes coursework in Philosophy and Religious Studies.
General Education Requirements: The degree requires 51 hours of general education courses that students complete over four years in addition to their major courses and electives.
View and download the full degree plan for the Catholic Studies major (PDF).
A few examples of courses students in this major take:
Justice, Peace and Liberation. This course examines the issues of justice and peace within the context of the Gospel of Jesus. Grounded in the teachings of the Israelite prophets and the New Testament teachings of Jesus, and given theological form in the writings of the great theologians such as Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, this course examines current issues in light of modern Catholic social doctrine.
Catholicism in Literature. This class explores timeless theological questions along with some of the greatest authors of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Though some of the writers to be studied are not Catholic, all of the texts incorporate Catholic concepts and themes. As this is a literature course, students also learn strategies for analyzing fiction, drama and poetry. In doing so, superior analytical reading, writing and thinking skills are developed.
Introduction to the New Testament. This course takes a multifaceted approach to the study of the gospels, the epistles and the Book of Revelation. The course emphasizes the methodology of historical criticism for the purpose of identifying the authors of each New Testament work, as well as their respective theologies and witness to Jesus Christ.