Skip to main content

Theology & Religious Studies Major

Professor's POV of Theology and Religious Studies at JCU

Gain the tools to understand and respond to the religious forces that shape contemporary businesses, international events, and interpersonal relationships. When you study the world's religions, you get to ask big questions that cut across the entire human experience, preparing you for any career that involves understanding and interacting with people.

The TRS Major 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. 

The TRS Major consists of 12 courses (36 credits):

  • 5 area courses
  • 5 electives
  • TRS 4100 or TRS 4300
  • TRS 4990 | Senior Seminar

Half of all courses must be at the 3000 or 4000 level.

See the Undergraduate Bulletin for more information.

The flexibility of the TRS major allows you to create a custom program around your interests. Students can roam widely or focus their electives on an area such as:

  • American Religion
  • Catholic Theology
  • Interreligious Understanding
  • Islamic Studies
  • Jewish Studies
  • Religion and Contemporary Culture
  • Sacred Texts
  • Spirituality

All TRS courses count toward the major. If you select TRS versions of your EGC, ISJ, and LINK courses you can easily complete 5 of your 12 TRS major courses before even finishing your core requirements!

Program Highlights

Experiential learning is paramount to the study of theology and religion. Several courses partner with JCU's Center for Service and Social Action to provide service-learning experiences. For example, you can work with Cleveland environmental non-profits in TRS 2563: Ecology, Religion, and Justice. Other courses arrange site visits to local synagogues, mosques, churches, and temples. Highlights include Dr. Kristen Tobey's visit to nearby Kirkland Temple, the very first Mormon house of worship, and Dr. Noah Bickart’s class visit to his own backyard sukkah during the Festival of Booths.

TRS’s diverse faculty and course offerings provide you with both a solid foundation in the Catholic tradition and serious engagement with other religious perspectives and worldviews. Faculty in the TRS program teach you to think critically, communicate cogently, reflect thoughtfully, and engage passionately to address the needs of our contemporary world.

The flexibility of the TRS Major allows you to roam widely or to focus your electives in an area of interest. Some possibilities include:

Your major could include:

  • TRS 2300 | Contemporary Catholic Theology
  • TRS 2355 | Saints and Society
  • TRS 3371 | Ignatian Spirituality
  • TRS 3530 | Catholic Moral Theology
  • TRS 3536 | Catholic Social Teaching in Business (LINK)

Your major could include:

  • TRS 2430 | Introduction to Islam
  • TRS 3110 | Abraham: Father of Many Nations
  • TRS 3441 | Islam in America
  • TRS 3442 | Islam and the Environment
  • TRS 3444 | Islamic Spirituality
  • TRS 2110 | Hebrew Bible
  • TRS 2410 | Introduction to Rabbinic Judaism
  • TRS 3412 | Jewish Messianism
  • TRS 3416 | The Rabbis on Sex & Gender
  • TRS 3499 | Ancient Jewish Prayer
  • TRS 2273 | African-American Religion
  • TRS 2440 | Introduction to Islam
  • TRS 2450 | Religions of India
  • TRS 3200 | Constructing Religious Identity
  • TRS 3227 | Minority Religions in the United States
  • TRS 1250 | Religion and Popular Culture
  • TRS 2587 | Tomb Raiders - Threats to Cultural Heritage
  • TRS 3126 | Jesus in Film
  • TRS 3273 | Martin, Malcolm, & Black Lives Matter
  • TRS 3338 | Catholicism in a Digital Age

Many jobs in demand today did not exist a decade ago. How do you prepare for careers driven by technologies not yet invented? A Jesuit education provides the intellectual skills and mental agility to give you the leading edge in a wide variety of careers and entrepreneurial activities. TRS students have pursued careers in business, communication, health care, public administration, faith-based non-profits, schools, ministry, and more. Alumni have gone on to doctoral programs, law school, and other professional graduate programs. Recent graduates have been accepted to graduate programs at Harvard Divinity School, Boston College, St. Patrick’s College (Maynooth, Ireland), Florida State University, University of Dayton, University of Notre Dame, and others.

Theology & Religious Studies is home to a number of Centers of Excellence, including:

A number of student organizations collaborate with Theology & Religious Studies, including: Agape, a Catholic devotional group; Daughters of Isabella, a Catholic women’s charitable organization; Hillel, a student group seeking to connect Jewish students at John Carroll with one another; Knights of Columbus, a Catholic men’s group for prayer, study, and devotions; Muslim Student Society (MSS); Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF); and the Theology & Religious Studies honor society Theta Alpha Kappa.

Nobody is just one thing.

Notable Alum


Maggie Hutchison, ’14

has honed her skills for creating opportunity and equity for under-resourced people across many perspectives. Her view has stretched as wide as the United Nations response to global surges in migration, and as focussed as how residents of Queensbridge, the largest housing project in North America, access jobs. As a Project Manager for Urban Upbound, she tracks and translates data to support funding for job training, youth development, college access and wealth building programs among the nearly 7,000 residents of Queensbridge, a community hit hard by everything from hurricane Sandy to the covid pandemic.

JCU Northeast Map

Theology & Religious Studies Alumni Across the Region

John Carroll University alumni live, work, teach and support communities throughout the region from Northeast Ohio to Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, Columbus, Buffalo, Rochester, Pittsburgh, New York City, Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia.