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Majoring in Theology

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

Students interested in Christian studies in graduate school are advised to take German, French, and/or Latin. Students preparing for graduate work in Biblical Studies are encouraged to take Greek and/or Biblical Hebrew. Students planning on graduate work in other areas of religious studies should seek advice from the Theology Department about appropriate language studies to prepare for later research.

The concluding seminar, THEO-297, fulfills the requirement of a comprehensive examination.

Students majoring in Theology focus on one of four concentrations and must set up a program with the advisor designated for each concentration:

  • 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; one History of Christian Thought, either 281 or 282), three other advanced level courses to be selected in consultation with the designated theology advisor for this concentration, two other approved courses on 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: three core courses (Approaches to the Bible 190; one Hebrew Scripture Seminar in the 257–259 range; one New Testament Seminar in the 266–268 range), three other advanced level courses to be selected in consultation with the designated theology advisor for this concentration, two other approved courses on 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 be introduced to the sources, methods, and topics of ethics from a religious perspective. Students may concentrate on the Christian tradition or on religious ethics more generally, and may also focus further on areas such as social justice, liberation movements, comparative ethics, or social and cultural 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 014, 015, 047, 070, 133, 145, 171, 176; one advanced level ethics course in the 200 range and above), two other advanced level courses, three other approved courses on 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 theology advisor for this concentration.
  • Religious Studies Concentration. This concentration is available for students interested in the comparative and critical study of various religious views (e.g., Asian Religions, Religions of the Middle East, or Comparative Methodologies in the Study of Religions); or in philosophical theology; or in the relation of religious ideas to their social and historical context; or in the relation of religion to other components of culture such as science, the arts, or the structures of governance. The requirements are: three core courses (Approaches to Religion 273; one course in the Study of a Religious Community in the range of 200 or above; one course in Problems/Boundaries in Religious Studies in the range of 200 or above), five additional courses on the intermediate or advanced level to be selected in consultation with the designated theology advisor for this concentration, and the concluding seminar on Religious Pluralism (297). 

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

Theology Minor Requirements include two general education theology courses (001 and 011 are recommended for Christian studies, 001 and another elective for other areas of religious studies) plus four electives. Minors are encouraged to take some courses above the 190 intermediate level range and the 200 advanced level range. Prospective minors are invited to come to the department for advice in selecting their courses. Examples of minor programs are available, some of which are organized around the student’s major.

Required Courses
  • 2 General education theology courses 
Christian Theology Concentration:
  • Systematic Theology (272)
  • 1 History of Christian Thought (281 or 282)
  • 1 Scripture Seminar (from 257–259 or 266–268)
  • 3 advanced level electives approved by advisor
  • 2 other approved electives
  •  Seminar on Religious Pluralism (297)
Biblical Studies Concentration:
  • Approaches to the Bible (190) 
  • 1 Hebrew Scripture Seminar (257–259) 
  • 1 New Testament Seminar (266–268) 
  • 3 advanced level electives approved by advisor 
  • 2 other approved electives 
  • Seminar on Religious Pluralism (297)  
Ethics Concentration:
  • 1 Ethics and Issues (076 or 100) 
  • 1 Sources for Religious Ethics: Scriptures, Theologies, and Traditions (014, 015, 047, 070, 133, 171, 176) 
  • 1 advanced level course in ethics 
  • 2 advanced level electives
  • 3 other electives approved by advisor
  • Seminar on Religious Pluralism (297) 
Religious Studies Concentration:
  • 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 
  • Seminar on Religious Pluralism (297) 

See the on-line Undergraduate Bulletin for more information on course listings in theology

Department of TheologyBox 571135New North 120Washington D.C. 20057-1135Phone: (202) 687.5846Fax: (202) 687.8000

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