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Theology and Philosophy Program

Bachelor of Arts — Program Overview

Are you a deep thinker, always mulling over questions like, "What’s the meaning of life?” Do you have a knack for debate, while still respecting others with different views? You might consider majoring in theology — the point where faith and learning intersect.

At Briar Cliff, theology majors do some serious soul-searching and confronting of issues that effect us all — like poverty, equality and care for the environment — through the lens of our Roman Catholic and Franciscan heritage. Not Catholic? Don’t worry, you’ll be challenged to examine the world in light of your own faith and tradition.

Specialize your degree.

Make sure your theology degree is tailor-made to fit your needs, by choosing one of these four tracks:

  • THEOLOGY TEACHER: Do you want to teach religion or catechism in Catholic schools? Take this track, which combines the theology and education majors, and earn a “Religious Teacher” certificate issued by the Diocese of Sioux City.
  • THEOLOGY STUDIES: This track provides a strong academic foundation for joining the priesthood, a religious order, or other future work in service to the Church. 
  • BIBLICAL THEOLOGY: Choose this track if you want to concentrate on biblical studies, especially beyond Briar Cliff in graduate school. You’ll examine the sacred texts of Judaism & Christianity, and develop interpretive & analytical skills necessary for contemporary theological inquiry.
  • THEOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS: If you’re thinking about combining your theology degree with another major, this track is for you. You’ll gain a solid foundation in Christian teachings that will help you in whatever career path you choose; from art to business to social work.

Challenge yourself, and others.

Present and defend your research at the annual Great Plains Undergraduate Theology Conference, where you’ll bounce your ideas off some of the top theology and religious studies undergraduates from across the region.

See the world. Make a difference.

Theology is about more than research and debate (although there will be plenty of time of that). You’ll also have the chance to embark on mission trips to some of the world’s most impoverished places, spearhead local volunteer efforts with BCU’s campus ministry program, or land a volunteer internship for class credit. Because, as Saint Francis said: “Preach the gospel at all times. And when necessary, use words.”

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Core Theology and Philosophy Program Courses

THEO 115 - Foundations of Christianity

This course will explore the essentials of Christian faith and practice, particularly as they are expressed in Roman Catholic Christianity. Students will be invited to reflect on the meaning of faith, the relevance of the message and mission of Jesus Christ for the contemporary world, and the role of personal spirituality in everyday life. Offered in spring for honors students. Read more »

THEO 116 - Church in the World

This course will explore the history of the Christian church beginning with the foundations described in the Gospels and the Book of Acts. Students will learn about the crises, personalities, and cultural contexts that shaped the Christian Church in ages past and brought about the current state of denominational plurality and doctrinal differences. Since THEO 203 - Protestant Churches considers the development of the Protestant Churches after the Reformation, this course gives special attention to the past few centuries of the Roman Catholic Church. Additionally, students will learn about the various ecumenical dialogues that have begun in the last several decades in an attempt to restore some of the unity of the early Christian Church. Spring offering for honors students Read more »

THEO 223 - Old Testament

This course is a study of the formation and composition of the Old Testament as an inspired record of the progressive revelation by God to Israel and the faith response of God's people, as well as preparation for the revelation of/in Christ. There is a special emphasis on basic theological themes and their applications to the lives of the people of God today. Read more »

THEO 224 - New Testament

A study of the formation and composition of the New Testament, and a survey reading of the New Testament literature exemplifying essential messages and themes and their implications for the lives of Christians today. Read more »

Additional Program Requirements

The Theological Foundations Track requires THEO 245 or 255, 325, 405, 491 and four THEO electives, two of which must be 300-level or higher.

The Biblical Theology Track requires THEO 480 and three of the following: THEO 361, 362, 363, 364; plus three elective courses from the 300-400 THEO level. It is strongly recommended that one elective be a biblical language course.

The Theology Teacher Track requires a major in K-12 education, icnluding a semester of student teaching in K-12 religion classes. Course requirements include THEO 245 or 255; 325, 405, 491, plus four elective THEO courses, three of which must be level 300 or above.

The Theology Studies Track requires THEO 245 or 255; 310, 325, 405, 491, PHIL 110, 220, 300 and 410, plus four elective THEO courses.