About the Major

Standard and Supplemental Major in Theology

Requirements of the Major
  • Primary majors take 25 credit hours beyond the 6 credits of the university requirements – Foundations (Theo 1xxxx) and a development course (Theo 2xxxx).
  • Supplemental majors take 19 credit hours beyond the 6 credits of the university requirements.

undergrad_majorMajors proudly display their love for ND Theology

Both tracks for the major involve 4 required courses, a total of 10 credit hours:
  • the two-semester sequence in the history of Christian thought or “Christian Traditions” (commonly known as Trads 1 and Trads 2)
  • one upper-division scripture course (either Old Testament or New Testament)
  • the one-credit hour proseminar, offered each spring, which introduces students to the variety of topics covered in the study of theology. In odd years, the Proseminar is offered on Fridays from 8:20-9:10am, while in even years, it is offered on Tuesdays from 5-5:50pm.
The remaining credits, chosen at the discretion of the student, are usually taken at the 4xxxx level. One further “development” (2xxxx level) course (in addition to the development course taken to fulfill the university requirement) may be counted towards the major. Theology majors may also take a course at the 6xxxx (master’s) level, with the permission of the course instructor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Theology majors may also fulfill up to two of their major course requirements with classical language courses (Latin, Greek, or Hebrew).
After the university requirements have been completed, theology courses can be taken in any order to fulfill the major.

Including the University requirements, the primary major consists of 31 credit hours.

  • First University Requirement (Foundations): THEO 1xxxx
  • Second University Requirement (a “development” of theology course): THEO 2xxxx
  • Christian Traditions I: THEO 40201
  • Christian Traditions II: THEO 40202
  • 1 Scripture course, upper division: either THEO 40101 (Old Testament) or 40108 (New Testament)
  • Proseminar: THEO 43001 (1 credit)
  • 5 Electives (1 may be at the 2xxxx level, 2 may be ancient languages, the rest are to be at the 4xxxx level)
The supplemental major differs only in regard to electives (3 instead of 5).

The Joint Major in Theology and Philosophy

The joint major is intended for undergraduates who are intrigued by philosophical and theological ideas and who have an equal commitment to both disciplines. It attracts students who seek to reflect on the central questions of human existence in the context of both faith and reason and who desire to explore the interface between the sister disciplines of theology and philosophy.
Offering an unparalleled opportunity for the informed investigation of religious and philosophical ideas and for close collaboration with outstanding faculty mentors, the joint major should appeal to those who plan to proceed to graduate work in philosophy or theology.
The major is structured, providing undergraduates with a suitable introduction to the study of both disciplines, but also flexible, granting students considerable scope for the pursuit of their own interests.
Requirements for Joint Major

In Philosophy:

  • First University Requirement (Intro to Philosophy): PHIL 10100 or 10101 or 13185 or 13195 or 20101
  • Second University Requirement: PHIL 20201 - 26999 (a higher level course may be substituted for this)
  • History of Philosophy I: PHIL 30301
  • History of Philosophy II: PHIL 30302
  • Logic: PHIL 30313

In Theology:

  • First University Requirement (Foundations): THEO 1xxxx
  • Second University Requirement (a “development” of theology course): THEO 2xxxx
  • Christian Traditions I: THEO 40201
  • Christian Traditions II: THEO 40202
  • One Scripture course, upper division: either THEO 40101 (Old Testament) or 40108 (New Testament)
  • The joint major does not require the one-credit proseminar in theology.


  • 6 credits classical language (Latin or Greek)
  • At least one “Philo/Theo Joint Seminar” – A joint seminar (4xxxx) is taught on a different topic (but always a topic involving philosophy and theology) each spring by both a Philo and Theo professor.  Joint majors are required to take at least one joint seminar, but they are encouraged to take more.
  • 3 credits for writing a senior thesis
  • 18 credits of electives, split between theology and philosophy (of these, up to six credits can be taken in additional language study and up to six for one or two additional joint seminars)
The joint seminar is offered each spring on a different topic, and joint majors are required to take it once.  These seminars, which are restricted to students in the joint major, are led by a theologian and a philosopher, and examine an issue where the differing approaches of philosophy and theology are fruitful. The topic and instructors will change from year to year. 
Each major will submit a senior thesis prepared under the direction of two faculty advisors, one from each department.  Students should plan on finding these advisors and a topic during the fall of senior year, and writing the thesis during the spring of senior year (having registered for Theo 48002).
As for the 18 credits of electives: these should involve at least two upper-level courses in both theology and philosophy, and can involve up to two courses in a classical language previously studied, or be used to begin the study of another language of significance for philosophical and theological work.
How is this different from a major in one of the two disciplines and a supplementary major in the other?
The joint major will be more demanding. A major in one discipline and a supplementary major in the other totals 55 credit hours; the joint major (including University and formal requirements, and electives) requires 60. The joint major also calls for language instruction beyond the University requirements for all undergraduates. Finally, the joint seminar and the independent thesis research (with two advisors) make the joint major particularly attractive to students preparing for advanced study in philosophy or theology.
From some joint majors...
"Philosophy and Theology both deal with the most important questions regarding human existence, meaning, and ultimate truth. It is only fitting that their symbiotic relationship be maintained in this program. Philosophy is absolutely essential for understanding the language of theology. All theology majors should at least consider this program as a way to enhance their theological knowledge and potential. Also, taking the classical language requirement teaches one humility which is a good first step in both theology and philosophy." -Kevin Haley 
"The joint major is important for two reasons. First, because the questions that philosophy raises are potentially dangerous, particularly at this age. They are existential questions that come to us at a time of even further existential questioning. Thus, I think that this joint major offers a good base for us as young people. Most importantly, I also believe that mere questioning is incomplete, and theology is the answer to some of the most pressing existentialist questions. Thus, it allows one to see the full picture." - Rodrigo Morales

Learning Goals for the Theology Major

Knowledge (Cognitive)

Over the course of their time as undergraduate theology majors,

1. students have an understanding of what theology is as a tradition of the Church and as a discipline in the liberal arts;

2. students demonstrate understanding of fundamental theological themes and vocabulary based in Sacred Scripture and in Christian traditions;

3. students exhibit familiarity with one or more of the theological methodologies appropriate to the sub-disciplines represented in the department.

Skills (Behavioral)

Over the course of their time as undergraduate theology majors,

1. students employ critical theological thinking skills (e.g., analysis, synthesis, evaluation);

2. students become precise, articulate, and coherent theological writers within multiple genres;

3. students develop effective and engaging oral communication about theological topics;

4. students are better equipped for their future work.

Dispositions/Values (Affective)

Over the course of their time as undergraduate theology majors,

1. students recognize the significance of theological study for their life of faith;

2. students give evidence of openness to ecumenical and interreligious dialogue with multiple traditions.

How to Declare a Theology Major

Want to learn more about the major? Fill out our major interest survey and a current major will contact you to answer any questions you may have!

To declare, contact Prof. Reynolds (reynolds@nd.edu, 574-631-5138) or stop by Prof. Reynolds' DUS office hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-5pm in 130 Malloy.  Emily Hammock Mosby (631-5732), Undergraduate Coordinator, can assist with questions as well.

- Follow Prof. Reynolds on Twitter @theologyDUS