From volunteer opportunities to participating in clubs, the Department of Theology offers plenty of ways for students to expand on their classroom learning.

Honor Society

Theta Alpha Kappa is the only national honor society dedicated to recognizing academic excellence in religious studies and theology. Theta Alpha Kappa has more than 200 chapters nationally in four-year educational institutions ranging from small religiously affiliated colleges to large public research institutions. The Alpha Alpha Zeta chapter was installed at Dominican in 1983.

The society offers a national program of scholarship awards and fellowship competitions. The Journal of Theta Alpha Kappa offers an annual prize and publishes outstanding student papers.

An affiliated society of the American Academy of Religion, Theta Alpha Kappa is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies and a member of the Council of Societies for the Study of Religion.

To be eligible for membership, students must have a 3.5 GPA in religious studies and/or theology and a 3.0 GPA overall. New members are inducted each spring.

Community-based Learning

The department strongly encourages all theology and pastoral ministry majors to incorporate community-based learning into their course of study.

While particular courses may be designed as community-based learning, effective learning of this kind can be incorporated into any theology course. Students interested in this option work with the course instructor to arrange 30 hours of work during the semester at an approved social service site. Through reflection papers or some other agreed-upon means, students relate their service experience to classroom learning. Upon successful completion of the course and its service learning component, the student receives one additional credit hour.

Internships

Theology majors concentrating on pastoral ministry must complete an internship in an appropriate setting, for example a parish, diocese, archdiocese or other agency such as a hospital, nursing home or hospice.

Internships are designed in consultation between students and their advisors and must result in at least three credit hours. During the internship, the student’s faculty supervisor and the site coordinator communicate regularly to ensure that the student benefits from the experience.

While an internship is required for students with a pastoral ministry concentration, an internship experience can benefit any student majoring or minoring in theology.

Study in Oxford

"We love to have our qualified students study abroad and encourage them to investigate their curricular and financial aid options. In most cases, they're surprised to find they can make it happen."
–Clodagh Weldon, DPhil
Professor of Theology and Co-Director, Honors Program

Juniors enrolled in Dominican’s honors program have a special opportunity to spend a year studying at Blackfriars Oxford. Run by Dominican friars, Blackfriars Hall is part of England’s famed Oxford University.

Students participate in the traditional Oxbridge tutorial system, meeting one on one with an assigned tutor twice a week to discuss personalized reading and writing assignments.

Tutorial topics are diverse and include:

  • Theology
  • Philosophy
  • English literature
  • British history
  • Psychology
  • Classics in translation

Students may also enroll in relevant language classes like Latin, New Testament Greek and Biblical Hebrew.

Senior Integrating Seminar

"We try to create a joyous, celebratory atmosphere for the thesis presentations. As a result, this ia always the highlight of each academic year."
–Clodagh Weldon, DPhil
Professor of Theology and Co-Director, Honors Program

Theology majors must complete the Theology Senior Integrating Seminar Theo 485 to graduate. The seminar helps students synthesize everything they have learned in four years of theology study.

The seminar has three components:

  • The seminar itself.  Regular meetings with peers and a faculty member provide both intellectual growth and emotional support.
  • A written project. Students complete either a research paper or a portfolio in consultation with their advisors.
  • A formal presentation. All students present their research or portfolio to the theology department, fellow theology students, recent graduates and their families.

Pastoral ministry majors are not required to complete a thesis or seminar.

Closing Ceremony

Each spring, the close-knit Department of Theology celebrates its graduating class with a festive closing ceremony. The ceremony has several parts:

  • Graduating theology majors present their required theses.
  • Graduating seniors in both theology and pastoral ministry receive a blessing that sends them out into the world.
  • A celebratory meal caps off the academic year and leads to the next.