Theology

OVERVIEW

Sooner or later, most people encounter and consider life’s big questions.

Why are we here? Is anything in life really certain? What is a good life? Does God really exist? Are our lives driven by fate, or are we free? Are there higher laws than those we compose? How can we recognize good and evil? What is the meaning of the human religious experience?

If those and other important questions intrigue you, you may be drawn toward the study of theology. Theological study has for centuries attempted to address these profound types of issues, and the discussion continues today. Alvernia’s theology program focuses on the Judeo-Christian tradition with emphasis on the Catholic expression of that tradition, but also exposes students to other faith traditions.

Majoring in theology does not necessarily mean that you’ll go to work for a church organization, although many students enter the program with that as their goal. Other theology majors find their place within a community organization or a healthcare setting, or may seek a career as a lawyer, teacher, public employee or journalist.

When you study theology, you build knowledge and skills that can be applied in nearly every endeavor. You will become adept at problem solving, and acquire the ability to express your thoughts and communicate clearly. You will learn the art of effective argumentation and improve your research and writing skills. In short, you’ll acquire abilities that will serve you well your entire life.

The abilities you’ll develop as you study in this major set you apart and make you valuable to employers. In addition, you’ll discover that exploring and wrestling with questions that have occupied mankind since its beginning are some of the most rewarding endeavors you will ever encounter.

WHY AU

Why should you study theology at Alvernia University?
Because at Alvernia you get all the benefits of an outstanding university education in a manageable setting with personal attention and unique opportunities that can benefit you as you move toward your career.

Small Class Size
Alvernia has an average 12:1 student-faculty ratio, with fewer than 20 students in most classes. This facilitates valuable, professional relationships among faculty members and students. In these small class settings, you get individual attention to help you excel.

Faculty Who Care
Alvernia’s faculty members aren’t just teachers. They’re experts in their fields who are committed to passing along their knowledge and expertise to their students. In small class settings faculty members become mentors and advisors, intent on helping you learn, grow and succeed.

Research Opportunities
There may be opportunities for theology majors to work with faculty members on research projects relating to their areas of concentration. This collaboration prepares students for professions and/or graduate school.

Honors Program
Alvernia’s Honors Program for students who are academically gifted and highly motivated is designed to allow students to work at their own pace and to recognize and encourage academic excellence. Honors students interact with one another to exchange ideas and information across a wide range of disciplines and interests.

The Honors Program offers co-curricular activities, service opportunities and intellectual and social support to encourage students to exceed their own expectations. Learn more about Alvernia’s Honors Programs at www.alvernia.edu/academics/honors.

Get Real
Classroom learning is valuable and necessary, but out-of-the-classroom, experiential learning provides theology students with hands-on, real world learning opportunities that enrich your educational experience and are highly valued by employers.

You’ll have opportunities for experiences such as internships, co-ops, clinical experiences, field experiences, community service and campus events. Participating in these types of experiences help you stretch and grow toward your full potential.

Learn more about Alvernia’s Get Real program at www.alvernia.edu/getreal.

Study Abroad
Living and studying outside of the United States can change you in ways you can’t begin to envision. Students who study abroad typically gain immeasurable confidence and experiences they could not have imagined.

Many theology majors have benefitted from participation in a Study Abroad program in countries including Italy, Spain, England, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Morocco, Palestine, Argentina and Mexico.

Learn more about Alvernia’s Study Abroad program at www.alvernia.edu/studyabroad.

YOUR CAREER

Theology is a versatile major that can prepare you for a variety of exciting careers. While you may be aspiring toward a career based in church work, it also could be that you’re interested in writing, law, education, community work, lobbying, consulting or counseling. Perhaps you’re thinking about a career in public service, or would like to work for a religious publishing house or help staff or direct a Diocese office.

You might put your skills to work as a campus minister; hospital, prison or military chaplain; director of a church camp; pastor; priest; missionary; or religious education professional.

The skills and qualities you develop as a theology major can qualify you for a number of positions, as employers value strong critical thinking skills and the ability to communicate effectively. Alvernia theology graduates have gone on to serve in many types of careers, bolstered by the knowledge and experience gained during their time at the University.

Earning a theology degree at Alvernia can also prepare you for seminary or graduate school Graduates have pursued advanced degrees at institutions such as Villanova University and the University of Pennsylvania.

For more information about Alvernia’s theology program contact the Admissions Office at 1-888-ALVERNIA or 610-796-8269 or admissions@alvernia.edu.

YOUR CURRICULUM

At Alvernia, you can study theology as a major or a minor, as theology can be an excellent complement to another major. Theology majors must complete 30 credits in the major, while minors must complete 18 credits.

Two of Alvernia’s theology courses, Franciscan Pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome and Santo Domingo, include travel and involve extra expenses for students.

All Alvernia students must successfully complete a minimum of 123 semester credits to receive a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree.

Required courses for theology majors are:
THE 105 – Foundations of Theology
THE 380 – Christ and the Church

Choose one of the following:
THE 200 – Christian Approach to Morality
THE 210 – Medical Moral Theology
THE 225 – Global Issues: The Gospel Perspective

Choose two of the following:
THE 306 – Biblical Studies: Gospel Portrait of Jesus
THE 308 – Biblical Studies: Old Testament Studies
THE 309 – Biblical Studies: New Testament Studies

You also must take an additional 15 elective credits in theology. Electives include:
THE 245 – Introduction to Eastern Philosophy and Religion
THE 255 – Santo Domingo (includes a week-long immersion experience in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)
THE 300 – Marriage and Sexuality
THE 345 – Issues in Historical Theology
THE 350 – Franciscan Studies
THE 355 – Franciscan Pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome (travel course)
THE 364 – Mysticism
THE 405 – Medieval and Reformation Theological Evolution
THE 420 – Worship and Sacraments
THE 425 – Judaic Studies

Students who minor in theology are required to complete any 18 credits in the major.

You can learn more about all courses offered by Alvernia University by viewing the 2015-2016 Academic Course Catalogue at http://www.alvernia.edu/academics/catalogs/Catalog_2015-16/index.html.

Your Real World Learning Experience
Alvernia believes that real world experience is extremely important, as it can improve your confidence and introduce you to professionals in your intended field of employment. All Alvernia students participate in service learning, a teaching and learning experience that enables students to get real-world learning while benefiting a community partner. As a theology major, you might be involved with a religious organization or work with a community partner that strives to promote social justice.

Theology majors also are encouraged to spend a semester at The Washington Center, an organization that offers residential academic programs and internships in the nation’s capital.

If you participate in The Washington Center program, you can gain practical experience by working in a Congressional office; government agency; religious institution; or an agency devoted to legal affairs, international relations or business and economic issues. Or, you may have an opportunity to intern with a non-profit organization that addresses environmental concerns, women’s issues, the arts, education, science or labor relations.

You can learn more about the Washington Center and opportunities available there at www.alvernia.edu/about/ethics-and-leadership/washington.html. Also, you can find out more about real world learning at www.alvernia.edu/academics/experiential_learning.

Research Opportunities
Research is a valuable aspect of any education. Theology faculty at Alvernia conduct research and write on a variety of complex topics, including the theology of John Henry Cardinal Newman, the Franciscan tradition, genetics and ethics, ethical treatment of animals, religion and popular culture and issues of social justice.

As a theology major, there may be opportunity for you to assist in faculty research, and to benefit from knowledge gained through faculty research.

The Honors Program
If you’re academically gifted and highly motivated, you may want to learn more about Alvernia’s Undergraduate Honors Program. Honors students have opportunities to take courses dealing with unusual topics and participate in a variety of activities. You can learn more about the Honors Program and how to apply at www.alvernia.edu/academics/honors/index.html.

The Eight-Semester Plan
You can do it! It’s easy to stay on track to graduate in four years if you pay close attention to what classes you need and make sure to take them in a timely manner. Advisors are available to assist in planning academic programs, course selection and registration, but it’s your job to make sure that you meet all academic requirements and comply with University policies.

Start planning well in advance for an internship, study abroad or other off-campus experience, as you’ll need to assure that you will be able to complete all required coursework.

Study Opportunities beyond Campus
Your college years are the perfect time to broaden your horizons and participate in experiences that will change your life. Alvernia offers some great opportunities for students who want to spend some time studying beyond its campus.

In addition to spending a semester at the Washington Center, you might want to consider a semester abroad, studying theology and visiting religious, historical and spiritual sites in a city such as Rome, Florence, Athens, Oxford or Dublin.

Study Abroad Programs
Alvernia’s Study Abroad Office works closely with students who want to spend one or more semesters in a different country. Theology students have studied and traveled in Italy, Spain, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, England, Germany, Greece, Belgium, Austria, Morocco and Palestine.

You pay the regular Alvernia tuition while studying abroad, and continue to receive financial aid, if applicable. Credits earned count toward your Alvernia undergraduate degree.

If you’re interested in studying in another country you should start planning early, as you’ll need to start the application process about a year in advance.

You can get more information about these programs from the Study Abroad Office at www.alvernia.edu/studyabroad or by contacting studyabroad@alvernia.edu.


Year-by-Year Major Map

FRESHMAN YEAR

Think Globally

  • Explore opportunities for study abroad, alternative break trips, pilgrimage to Assisi, the Washington Center and service trips
  • Start at the Study Abroad Office or studyabroad@alvernia.edu

Take the Right Classes

  • Review general education, University and Major requirements
  • Be aware of which semester required courses are offered
  • Focus on getting good grades

Get Good Advice

  • Get to know theology faculty and your advisor
  • Visit the Educational Planning Center on the first floor of Bernardine Hall

Real Life Learning

  • Explore opportunities for upcoming practicums
  • Utilize skills acquired in First Year Experience

Make the Right Connections

  • Identify peers that support your academic goals
  • Get involved by joining Campus Ministry and the Philosophy Club. Get involved with the Student Government Association, or join some of the many other student clubs and community organizations

Get Ready to Graduate

  • Develop a working resume
  • Assess strengths, weaknesses and interests
  • Begin the process of obtaining all required background checks and clearances


SOPHOMORE YEAR

Think Globally

  • Review opportunities for extended learning and, if interested, start planning with the Study Abroad Office

Take the Right Classes

  • Make sure you’ve reviewed which semester required courses are available
  • Focus on getting good grades

Get Good Advice

  • Talk to theology faculty and your advisor about your career interests and how to identify opportunities that may enhance your chances of finding a job in that area
  • Stay in touch with the Educational Planning Center

Real Life Learning

  • Look into the Alternative Break program
  • Shadow in jobs that relate to your specific interests
  • Look for part-time or summer jobs that relate to your interests
  • Get familiar with the Educational Planning Center’s Internship data base

Make the Right Connections

  • Volunteer for community service
  • Stay involved in clubs and organizations
  • Observe the roles of those in leadership positions
  • Form study groups

Get Ready to Graduate

  • Update working resume
  • Assess strengths, weaknesses and interests
  • Complete the process of obtaining all required background checks and clearances


JUNIOR YEAR

Think Globally

  • Participate in Study Abroad program
  • Participate in service trips or “May”mester

Take the Right Classes

  • Secure internship, if applicable
  • Focus on getting good grades and improving GPA
  • Work with advisor to make sure you’re on track to graduate on time

Get Good Advice

  • Talk to faculty members about career or graduate school opportunities
  • Stay in touch with the Educational Planning Center
  • Get familiar with Vault.com, a career services library available on Educational Planning Center’s website

Real Life Learning

  • Look into the Alternative Break program
  • Shadow in jobs that related to your specific interest
  • Look for part-time or summer jobs that relate to your interests
  • Get familiar with the Educational Planning Center’s Internship data base

Make the Right Connections

  • Assume leadership roles on campus
  • Connect with alumni in your field

Get Ready to Graduate

  • Get feedback on your working resume from the Educational Planning Center
  • Get resume ready for practicum applications and job fairs
  • Work on getting recommendations
  • Attend Career Planning opportunities such as job fairs and practice interviews
  • Look for coaching opportunities


SENIOR YEAR

Think Globally

  • Look for service opportunities

Take the Right Classes

  • Make sure you are on track for any required research or writing projects

Get Good Advice

  • Work closely with advisor to make sure you’re on track to graduate on time
  • Stay in touch with the Educational Planning Center
  • Talk to faculty members about career or graduate school opportunities
  • Ask for advice from professionals in your area of interest

Real Life Learning

  • Successfully complete your internship, if applicable
  • Participate in off-campus activities, such volunteering with an Alvernia community partner

Make the Right Connections

  • Continue in leadership roles on campus
  • Connect with alumni in your field
  • Attend campus events at which alumni are present
  • Meet professionals in the community who work in your area of interest

Get Ready to Graduate

  • Fine tune your resume
  • Search for jobs through Vault.com
  • Finalize recommendations
  • Attend Career Planning opportunities such as job fairs and practice interviews
  • Attend the Alvernia Job Fair
YOUR SERVICES

Alvernia is committed to serving the needs of its students. Whether you have questions or problems related to academics, life on campus, student activities, social activities or any other issue, there is someone available to help you. You can learn more about all student services at www.alvernia.edu/student-life/student-services.

Educational Planning Center
The Educational Planning Center offers advice and support to help you with any problems or issues related to your Alvernia education. It also assists with career exploration and preparation. The office is open every day and can be contacted at 610-796-8266.

Career Services
Staff members at the Career Development office will help you with any questions you have about exploring or planning careers. They also will guide you about how to look for and apply to jobs as you get closer to graduation. The office also has a career resources library. You can learn more about career services at www.alvernia.edu/student-life/career-services, or by emailing career.services@alvernia.edu.

Financial Aid
The Financial Aid office is the place to contact with any questions you have about the cost of an Alvernia education and options for paying for it. Nearly all undergraduates at Alvernia get some type of financial aid, and everyone is encouraged to apply for it. You can learn more at www.alvernia.edu/financialaid/index.html or by emailing financialaid@alvernia.edu.

Admissions Office
If you’re interested in applying to the theology program at Alvernia, contact the Admissions Office at 610-796-3011 or at http://www.alvernia.edu/admissions.

Faculty Members
Alvernia’s theology program is staffed by dedicated, highly qualified professionals who are committed to sharing their expertise and knowledge with their students. Faculty members have extensive experience in various areas, and bring their professional expertise to the classroom. They often work one-on-one with students to enhance the student’s learning experience, and serve as mentors to aspiring students.

Theology faculty members are actively engaged in research, have written books and chapters of books, produced articles that have appeared in prestigious publications and presented nationally and internationally at conferences.

You can learn more about Alvernia theology professors and their impressive backgrounds and credentials at http://alvernia.edu/academics/arts-and-sciences/humanities/theology/faculty/index.html.

GET INVOLVED

There is so much more to college than classes, and theology majors at Alvernia have some excellent opportunities to get involved in activities that are both enjoyable and provide beneficial, hands-on experience. Students who get involved and engaged in extra-curricular activities benefit both academically and socially, and open themselves to integral life lessons from beyond the classroom.

You’ll be encouraged to participate in a range of activities, including some rewarding and inspiring service projects. Some organizations and activities you might enjoy include:

  • Campus Ministry at Alvernia is vibrant and engaging, providing opportunities for students, faculty and staff to respond to God’s call in a community of faith. Campus ministry programs offer opportunities for service, alternative breaks and retreats.
  • The Philosophy Club encourages students to discuss, question and reflect through philosophical conversations and events that develop and grow communication and critical thinking skills. Club members explore various venues through discussions and trips.
  • If you are interested in writing, editing, design, photography and/or marketing, you’re encouraged to get involved with The Alvernian, the university’s student newspaper. Editorial positions are available for qualified participants.
  • The Zephrus is Alvernia’s literary magazine. Published each spring, it contains original poetry, fiction, essays, photography and artwork by Alvernia students.
  • You can learn more about Alvernia’s Student Government Association, becoming a Student Ambassador, student trips and other activities at www.alvernia.edu/student-life/activities.
  • The Holleran Center for Community Engagement serves as a bridge between the University and the community. The Center partners with a variety of organizations to provide Alvernia students with opportunities to serve. You might work with a child at the Children’s Home of Reading, or assist with a project for the Reading Berks Council of Churches. You can read more about volunteer opportunities at http://alvernia.edu/about/holleran-center.





theology

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