Religious Studies


Religious Studies Program Requirements

The following program requirements are from the Clarke University 2013-2014 Academic Catalog and apply to students currently enrolled. The university reserves any right to change, without notice, any information posted on this Web page and in the catalog. For the most current information, please contact the Clarke University Registrar's Office at


For a Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree in Religious Studies, a student completes 30 hours of religious studies course work at the following levels.

200 level courses – Majors will select up to three courses from any 200-level religious studies course in the catalog, excluding humanities general education courses (i.e., RELS 202 or RELS 211)

300 level courses – Majors are required to take the following 300 level courses:

  • RELS 387 – Guided Research
  • RELS 395 – Practicum in Catechetical, Liturgical, Pastoral, or Youth Ministries

In addition to the above two required 300 level courses, majors must complete at least two 300 level courses that cross-list with any 200 -level foundational religious studies course. Prerequisite: Nine hours in religious studies.

A 300 level cross-list course intensifies a major’s experience in the course topic area addressed. Intensification means a student has alternative or additional requirements for that course in some of the following areas: theological study, service learning, work with a professional mentor, or spiritual development. A student can cross-list any 200 level course, excluding humanities level general education courses (i.e., RELS 202 or RELS 211).

400 level courses – Majors are required to take the following:

  • RELS 402 Christian Experience of God
  • RELS 404 History of Catholic-Christian Thought
  • RELS 499 Senior Capstone


For a Minor in Religious Studies, a student completes 21 hours of religious studies courses, including:

  • 6 hours of foundation course credit.
  • 6 hour from any 300 or 400 level courses.
  • 9 hours of religious studies electives including humanities level general education courses.

These are arranged in dialogue with the religious studies department chair.


Ordinarily, application to a major may be made after a student has earned 30 or more semester hours of academic work and has successfully completed foundation course credits (6 hours).


Students majoring or minoring in Religious Studies may focus their studies in pursuit of a particular career path in any of the following areas:

  • Youth ministry
  • Music ministry
  • Health care ministry
  • Social work & faith-based service

Working with advisors in Religious Studies and another department (Psychology, Music, Nursing, or Sociology) and taking a selection of courses in both disciplines, students craft individualized learning plans to meet the specialization and to fulfill partial requirements for national Catholic lay ministry certification. See the Religious Studies department website for suggested curriculum options for each Ministry Track.


Students desiring to deepen their faith or explore the religious dimensions of their future professions may pursue the Spirituality and Leadership Track. Students work with a mentor to integrate Religious Studies coursework into another academic major or professional program around questions of faith, spirituality, and vocation. This 15 credit track is recognized on a student’s university transcript and includes:

  • 6 hours of foundational Religious Studies courses
  • 3 hours of 200 level Religious Studies electives
  • 6 hours from any 300 level cross-list or 400 level Religious Studies courses
  • Faith & Leadership Activity – With the guidance of a mentor, students lead or participate in an activity that demonstrates an integration of spirituality and the Clarke University mission. This may happen in an academic course, a student life activity, an extracurricular event, a faith community, or off-site with a learning contract.

Application Process

  1. Set up an appointment with the Chair of the Religious Studies department to learn more about the tracks and discuss your professional career interests.
  2. Fill out a single-page application for the appropriate track.


In addition to academic work, majors prepare for jobs in the field or for graduate school in the following ways:

  • Character and Vocation Indicator

    Once a student declares the major or minor, he or she will be given an instrument that helps them focus on both human and spiritual growth areas in relation to the religious studies field. Students will periodically review their own growth with the faculty in relation to the indicators.

  • Professional Portfolio

    Majors are required to construct a portfolio no later than the first 300 level intensification course. Portfolios give evidence of student growth and engagement with the four national certification standards approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Commission on Certification and Accreditation. The purpose of the portfolio is to assist students with their academic and career goals in religious studies.


Opportunities for job shadowing, internships, immersion experiences, and ministry engagement both on campus and in the neighboring parishes, are available for students with a major or minor in religious studies.


Credit for Prior Learning is available to qualified students whose prior learning experiences parallel existing courses. Students interested in obtaining credit for prior learning may apply for a maximum of six hours toward a major and three hours of credit toward a minor in religious studies through the Prior Learning Assessment program. For details, contact the department chair and see Prior Learning Assessment section of this catalog.


Religious studies majors are required to be technologically proficient in areas that aid them either in ministry or in graduate school work. Students are required to use databases and manage bibliographies for research. Students demonstrate competency with other e-learning content and skills as part of the portfolio-building process in their 300-400 level courses.


Religious Studies majors are required to fulfill and pass all academic and professional components related to the RELS 499 Senior Capstone course.

For more information, contact Paulette Skiba, BVM, Director of Religious Studies at (563) 588-8182 or

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