Major in Theology

Standard and Supplemental Major in Theology

The major in Theology involves the 2 University required Theology courses and either 7 (supplemental major) or 10 (standard major) additional courses. 

Ug Welcome Reception Canva CollageFall Undergraduate Welcome Reception

  • Christian Traditions I and II: the two-semester sequence in the history of Christian thought or “Christian Traditions” (commonly known as Trads I and Trads II)
  • Scripture: two upper-division scripture courses (Intro to Old Testament and Intro to New Testament)
  • Proseminar: the one-credit hour proseminar, offered each spring, introduces students to the Learning Goals for the Theology Major and allows them to prepare an e-portfolio

The remaining courses 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. Senior 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 2 course requirements with classical language (Latin, Greek, or Hebrew). In some cases, a 30xxx level Theology course may be accepted for major credit, but the course must be a 3-credit course, graded A-F.


Including the University requirements, the standard major consists of 34 credit hours:

  • First University Requirement (Foundations): THEO 1xxxx
  • Second University Requirement (Development): THEO 2xxxx
  • Christian Traditions I: THEO 40201
  • Christian Traditions II: THEO 40202
  • Intro to Old Testament: THEO 40101
  • Intro to New Testament: THEO 40108 
  • Proseminar: THEO 43001 (1 credit)
  • 5 Electives (1 may be at the 2xxxx level, 2 may be ancient languages taken at Notre Dame, the rest are to be at the 4xxxx level)
The supplemental major require the same courses except only one Scripture course (Old Testament or New Testament) and only three electives instead of five for a total of 25 credit hours.

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. 
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, Hebrew, 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.
  • A senior thesis, typically due in early April. Each PHTH major writes a senior thesis under the co-direction of two faculty advisors, one from each department, Theology and Philosophy. Students may fulfill this requirement through one of the following ways:

    A)     Through the Honors Program in Theology (recommended option). PHTH students with a minimum GPA of 3.66 are encouraged to submit a thesis proposal to the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Theology in the Spring of their junior year. (See Honors Program webpage for due dates.) If the proposal is accepted by the department’s Collegiate Committee, the thesis writer then enrolls for three credits of guided thesis research and writing in the Fall semester of the senior year: Theo 48006, Honors Colloquium (1 credit, S/U) and Theo 48005, Honors Research (2 credits, S/U), followed by enrollment in the Spring semester in Theo 48003, Honors Thesis Writing (3 credits). Students whose theses (35−60 pages in length) receive a grade of A or A- graduate with Departmental Honors.

    B)     Through the combination of an elective, graded Directed Reading course, Theo 46001 (3 credits), taken in the Fall semester of the senior year, with Theo 48002, PH/TH Thesis Writing (3 credits), taken in the Spring. The Directed Reading taken in the Fall should be designed to prepare the student to write the co-directed thesis (30−45 pages in length) in the Spring.

    C)     Through the revision and expansion of a paper written earlier either for the PHTH seminar or for some other course in Theology or Philosophy into a thesis-length study (30-45 pages). Students who go this route register in the Spring semester only for Theo 48002 PH/TH Thesis Writing (3 credits).   For this option, please follow the same timeline that is used for the Honors Program in Theology 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)
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

How to Declare a Theology Major

To declare, contact Asst. DUS. Prof. Anthony Pagliarini.

To view our Undergraduate Welcome Packet, click here.