Active Learning Opportunities


academics theology philosophy
If you enjoy thinking about and questioning the great ideas and mysteries of spiritual experience and human existence, then Quincy University's Theology & Philosophy program is for you.

Theology draws upon the scriptural, doctrinal, moral, ritual, and pastoral traditions of the great Western religions. Philosophy draws upon the history of ideas, classical and contemporary ethical theories, and societal critiques, with special emphasis on values that promote peaceful, harmonious, and just relationships. Quincy's Theology & Philosophy program recognizes the importance of an ongoing dialogue between theology and philosophy in seeking to address the deep and universal questions of human existence.

Our faculty members hold the highest degrees in their fields as well as expertise in the careers you are considering. They will guide you through a challenging curriculum as you develop the proficiencies of a mature thinker: fairness, scholarly objectivity, and intellectual versatility. You will examine your own religious beliefs and philosophical understandings, as well as those of those of others. This helps you formulate a comprehensive view of life that is intellectually defensible and emotionally and ethically satisfying, but also open to further growth, knowledge, and appreciation.

Our Theology & Philosophy program offers a bachelor of arts in Theology & Philosophy, as well as a minor in Theology. As part of the program, you will choose from one of four concentrations:
  • Theology
  • Pastoral Ministry
  • Catholic and Franciscan Theology
  • Philosophy
Each concentration offers a particular lens through which to contemplate spiritual life and to prepare for your future. All foster rigorous intellectual activity and continuous ethical development.

Contact Us

For more information about the Theology & Philosophy program, feel free to contact:

Dr. Terrence Riddell
Chair, Humanities
217-222-5432 ext. 3195
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


PHI 115    Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics
Credit Hours: 3
This course is an introduction to philosophy that places an emphasis on ethics. Utilizing texts in Ancient, Modern, and Contemporary Philosophy, we will examine the interrelationships of some of the basic philosophical questions:  How should I act? What can I know? What is the nature of human existence? Contemporary ethical issues will be examined within this context.

PHI 116    Introduction to World Philosophy
Credit Hours: 3
This course will provide students with an introduction to both western and eastern philosophy. Philosophies discussed will include Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, as well as classic works in western philosophy.

PHI 239     Philosophy and Literature
Credit Hours: 3
Interdisciplinary course designed to raise traditional philosophical questions, e.g., the meaning of human existence, the interpretation of language, through reading both philosophical and literary texts.

PHI 251    History of Philosophy: Ancient-Medieval
Credit Hours: 3
Survey of the origins and historical development of Western philosophy and theology, from ancient Greece to the beginning of the modern era.

PHI 252    History of Philosophy: Modern and Contemporary
Credit Hours: 3
Survey of origins and historical development through the present.  Continuation of PHI 251.

PHI 270-9     Special Topics
Credit Hours: 1-3
Special topics in Philosophy depending upon demand and staff.

PHI 321     Ethical Theories
Credit Hours: 3
Examines traditional ethical positions and how they apply to contemporary moral debates. Prerequisite: any other philosophy course.

PHI 323     Bioethics
Credit Hours: 3
Ethical issues involved in medicine and biotechnology.

PHI 325     Environmental Ethics
Credit Hours: 3
Studies of the moral relationship of humans to the environment.

PHI 327     Business Ethics
Credit Hours: 3
Examines the conceptions of moral community and responsibility implicit in democratic capitalism.

PHI 329    Ethics and Technology
Credit Hours: 3
Examines the social and ethical aspects of emerging technologies.

PHI 331     Faith, Philosophy, and God
Credit Hours: 3
This upper-level seminar course explores the challenges philosophy has presented to Christian theology and theism more generally in the modern and contemporary period and how Christian theology and religious thought have responded to those challenges.

PHI 347    Existentialism
Credit Hours: 3
In this course students and faculty will read and discuss together various thinkers considered to be within the important and very diverse philosophical and literary tradition of existentialism. Existential philosophers and literary figures discussed may include Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Camus, deBeauvoir, and others.

PHI 351     Feminist Philosophy and Theology
Credit Hours: 3
This course explores the various ways feminist theory has affected and changed both philosophy and theology in the modern and contemporary periods.  (Same as TRS 351)

PHI 355     Violence, Power, and the Philosophy of Nonviolence
Credit Hours: 3
We explore the problem of violence and power in many ways and what philosophers have had to say about the incredible violence of the 20th and 21st centuries.  This course introduces students to the philosophical/theological tradition of nonviolent resistance through a focus on such figures as Thoreau, Emerson, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Thomas Merton, etc.

PHI 360    Figures and Texts in Philosophy
Credit Hours: 3
The course is designed to give students and faculty the ability to study areas of philosophical interest on a rotating basis. Each offering involves the concentrated study of selected texts from a designated period (Ancient or Medieval philosophy), area of philosophy (pragmatism), or by designated authors (Plato, Kant or Hegel).

PHI 368     Holocaust as Act and Idea
Credit Hours: 3
The analysis of the rise of German nationalists and anti-Semitic ideology leading to World War II and the Holocaust: the Holocaust as a combination of violent actions and both respectable and intolerable ideas.

PHI 370-9 Special Topics
Credit Hours: 1-3
Special topics studied in depth, depending on demand and staff. Possible topics include particular positions, e.g., Existentialism, Pragmatism, etc.

PHI 381     Contemporary Philosophy & Contemporary Politics
Credit Hours: 3
Looks at various post World War II philosophers in America and Europe, paying special attention to how they have addressed the most crucial political issues of our time, including the probe of genocide, America’s two wars against Iraq, terrorism, September 11th, and globalization.

PHI 391     Aesthetics
Credit Hours: 3
A philosophical study of the nature of art and creativity through the analysis of philosophers, critics, and artists who have treated these subjects.

PHI 424    The Common Good: An Interdisciplinary Exploration
Credit Hours: 3
The tension between the individual and the group exists in every culture. This interdisciplinary course examines many of the dimensions of this tension from different perspectives (e.g. psychological, sociological, economic, political, philosophical, theological, artistic, etc.) and explores a wide range of proposals offered to enable a society to pursue the common good.

PHI 470-9  Special Topics
Credit Hours: 1-3
Specific topics studied in depth, depending on demand and staff. Focus on the works of particular philosophers, in primary sources.

PHI 497     Coordinating Seminar
Credit Hours: 3
Required of seniors in the Philosophy and Ethics concentration of the Theology and Philosophy major.


TRS 116    Western Religious Traditions
Credit Hours: 3
This course explores the scriptural, doctrinal, moral, and ritual traditions of the three major Western religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Freshman and Sophomore students only.

TRS 201    Technological Resources for Students of Philosophy and Theology
Credit Hours: 1
In compliance with the University’s commitment to universal technological literacy, Philosophy and Theology majors will learn skills needed to access and incorporate philosophical and theological databases, online and offline computer programs, and educational media (Microsoft Office, et al).

TRS 217     Introduction to the Bible
Credit Hours: 3
Survey course of the Old and New Testaments. Prerequisites: ENG 111 and 112.

TRS 222    Introduction to the Franciscan Tradition
Credit Hours: 3
A survey course that explores the history, figures, literature, art and issues within the Franciscan tradition.

TRS 229    Introduction to Christian Moral Conscience
Credit Hours: 3
A basic introduction to processes of Christian ethical interpretation and moral decision making.

TRS 236     Sacraments
Credit Hours: 3
This course will examine the sacraments as concrete expressions of the grace of Christ in the church community. It will look at the scriptural and historical foundations of each of the sacraments, examine their liturgical rites, and discuss questions about their theological meaning and contemporary relevance.

TRS 246     Catholic Life and Thought
Credit Hours: 3
This course will examine the creed, sacraments, moral traditions, and prayer life of the Catholic church. Students will have the opportunity to reflect critically on these beliefs and practices within the context of their own faith perspective.

TRS 251    History of Christianity I: From Jesus to the Dawn of the Reformation
Credit Hours: 3
This course explores the key themes and historical development of Christian life and thought from the first century to the dawn of the Reformation.

TRS 252    History of Christianity II: From the Reformation to the Present
Credit Hours: 3
This course explores the key themes and historical development of Christian theology and culture from the Reformation to the present.

TRS 256    Introduction to Christian Theology
Credit Hours: 3
A survey of how Christians have thought about their faith over the centuries. Themes to be addressed will include Jesus Christ, the Christian God, grace and salvation, and the church, as well as the changing understanding of theology itself.

TRS 270-9  Special Topics
Credit Hours: 1-3
Special topics studied in depth, depending upon demand and staff.

TRS 319     Christian Sexuality
Credit Hours: 3
An investigation of sexuality in Christian life and tradition. Open discussion of contemporary issues in sexual ethics.

TRS 321     Theology of Church
Credit Hours: 3

A study of the meaning of today’s Church and the role of the laity in the Church. Special emphasis will be given to lay ministry in carrying on the mission of Jesus in contemporary society.

TRS 324     Religions in Dialogue
Credit Hours: 3
This course explores the fragile and often volatile relationships among the world’s major religions: Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, and the indigenous religions of Africa, Australia, the Pacific Rim, and the Americas. Close consideration will be paid to the Geopolitical and cross-cultural implications of these relationships.

TRS 331     Spirituality and Human Development
Credit Hours: 3
This course considers the relationship between a person’s spiritual growth and human development as a person moves toward greater maturity.

TRS 332    Assisi Experience
Credit Hours: 3
An investigation of special topics, depending on the participating staff, culminating in a trip to Assisi, Italy, in early May. Permission of instructor(s) required.

TRS 339     Guide to Christian Marriage
Credit Hours: 3
The meaning of marriage; preparation for marriage; legal and moral aspects of the contract; rights and duties of married people.

TRS 341     Liturgy and Worship
Credit Hours: 3
A study of liturgy and worship in Christian traditions. Worship leadership roles and the role of the congregation will be considered.

TRS 342    Franciscan Theology of the Environment
Credit Hours: 3
An exploration of environmental issues from the perspective of Franciscan creation centered spirituality including the scriptural views of creation, modern environmental ethics and the theological concept of ”stewardship.“

TRS 349     Theology of Death
Credit Hours: 3
The phenomena of suffering, dying and death from the perspective of pastoral theology.

TRS 351     Feminist Philosophy & Theology
Credit Hours: 3
This course explores the various ways feminist theory has affected and changed both philosophy and theology in the modern and contemporary periods. (Same as PHI 351)

TRS 352     Franciscan Servant Leadership
Credit Hours: 3
A course designed to prepare students to be sound Christian leaders in the world. The course will first focus on the writings of Robert Greenleaf, who coined the phrase “servant leadership.” It will then expand to investigate Sacred Scripture as well as Franciscan sources, showing a distinctive kind of servant leadership, Christian and Franciscan. Concepts include: leadership as service; the common good; acceptance and empathy; moral leadership; and community.

TRS 356     Christology
Credit Hours: 3
This course explores the central question of Christian theology, the identity of Jesus Christ, as it is thought and rethought in many ways throughout the history of Christianity.

TRS 357     Exploring the New Testament
Credit Hours: 3
The New Testament of the Christian Bible narrates the story of Jesus and reflects on what his life, teachings, death, and resurrection tell us about God. In this course students have the opportunity to explore first-hand the New Testament, gaining a broad overview of its theology, history, and literary power. However, beyond an overview, in this course we will also seek to mine some of the deep, spiritual riches of the New Testament through a close reading of selected texts.

TRS 359     Catholic Social Teaching
Credit Hours: 3
This seminar-style course will discuss the Catholic Church’s teachings on the most significant ethical, political, and social issues of our time and their relevance not only to our own country but to the entire world. Topics may include the death penalty, economic justice, capitalism, war and peace, globalization, etc.

TRS 361    Pastoral Ministry
Credit Hours: 3
A study of pastoral care and the skills needed to become effective practitioners in such areas as campus ministry, peer ministry, ministry to the elderly and the sick, and general parish/congregational ministry. The focus is on the lay person’s role in pastoral care.

TRS 362    Franciscan Theology
Credit Hours: 3
A close study of the contributions the Franciscan thinkers (especially Bonaventure and Scotus) have made to the Christian understanding of the Trinity, Christology, Anthropology, Creation, Salvation and the Church.

TRS 367    Hebrew Prophets
Credit Hours: 3
This course explores the prophets in the Hebrew scriptures, with a close study of the prophetic writings of such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.

TRS 369     Christianity from a Global Perspective
Credit Hours: 3
This course will examine the challenges that the local Christian theologies of Africa, Asia, and Latin America place before Christians across the globe. Particular attention will be given to understandings of love, justice, power, and inculturation.

TRS 370-9  Special Topics
Credit Hours: 1-3
Special topics studied in depth, depending upon demand and staff.

TRS 381    Religious Education and Youth Ministry
Credit Hours: 3
This course will explore the various dimensions of religious education and youth ministry including different models for religious education (traditional classroom, whole family catechesis, etc.), the different elements involved in youth ministry (catechesis, relational youth ministry, etc.), and the various ways to recruit and train volunteers working in religious education or youth ministry. A critical component of this course will involve understanding faith development, especially in children and adolescents.

TRS 382 Franciscan Spirituality
Credit Hours: 3
An examination of the spirituality and history of the Franciscan tradition and its contemporary implications. Examination of the charism, spirit, and development of the Franciscan movement.

TRS 470-9  Special Topics
Credit Hours: 1-3
Special topics studied in depth, depending upon demand and staff.

TRS 481-482  Field Experience
Credit Hours: 6
Experiences in lay ministry contexts such as pastoral care, pastoral religious education, pastoral responsibilities, etc., in preparation for positions in church and ministry. Approximately 50 hours of experience are required for each credit hour. (Does not fulfill general education requirement)

TRS 497    Theology Capstone
Credit Hours: 3
Supervised reference and research work; coordination of studies taken in Theology. Includes a portfolio of work done in the major.

Program Requirements

Theology and Philosophy
  • General Education requirements for baccalaureate degree.
  • A total of 36 credit hours beyond the general education requirement are required. Each area of emphasis requires completion of the common core of five courses: TRS 217 Introduction to the Bible; PHI 251 History of Western Philosophy & Theology I: Ancient and Medieval; PHI 252 History of Western Philosophy & Theology II: Modern and Contemporary; TRS 329 The Christian & Modern Problems; TRS 324 Religions in Dialogue.
  • Each area of emphasis requires completion of the common capstone experiences in the senior year.
  • The emphasis in Pastoral Ministry calls for the completion of at least five courses from the following list. Courses marked with an asterisk are required. Service Learning, *TRS 236 Sacraments; TRS 246 Catholic Life and Thought; TRS 256 Introduction to Christian Theology; TRS 319 Christian Sexuality, *TRS 321 Theology of Church; *TRS 331 Spirituality and Human Development; TRS 339 Guide to Christian Marriage; TRS 341 Liturgy and Worship; TRS 349 Theology of Death; TRS 357 Gospels and Epistles, *TRS 481-482 Field Experience.
  • The emphasis in Catholic and Franciscan Theology calls for completion of five courses from the following list. Courses marked with an asterisk are required: *TRS 222 Introduction to the Franciscan Tradition; TRS 236 Sacraments; *TRS 246 Catholic Life and Thought; TRS 256 Introduction to Christian Theology; TRS 382 Franciscan Spirituality; TRS 321 Theology of Church; PHI 331 Faith, Philosophy, and God; TRS 332 Assisi Experience; TRS 359 Catholic Social Teaching; TRS 336 Theology of the Reformation Era; TRS 342 Franciscan Theology of the Environment; *TRS 356 Christology and *TRS 357 Gospels and Epistles; TRS 362 Franciscan Theology; TRS 349 Theology of Death; TRS 369 Christianity from a Global Perspective.
  • The emphasis in Philosophy and Ethics calls for completion of six courses from the following list. Courses marked with an asterisk are required. Students must also complete either PHI 329 Ethics and Technology or PHI 381 Contemporary Philosophy. Courses include *PHI 321 Ethical Theories; PHI 325 Environmental Ethics; PHI 327 Business Ethics; PHI 232 Philosophy and Religion, East and West; PHI 323 Bioethics; PHI 351 Feminist Thought; PHI 355 Violence, Power, and Philosophy of Non-Violence; PHI 368 Holocaust as Act and Idea; TRS 319 Christian Sexuality; PHI 331 Faith, Philosophy, and God; TRS 359 Catholic Social Teaching.

Requirements for a Minor:
A minor in Theology and Philosophy requires completion of the following common core of courses plus one additional program course at the 300-level (for a total of 18 credit hours): TRS 217 Introduction to the Bible; PHI 251 History of Philosophy and Theology: Ancient-Medieval; PHI 252 History of Western Philosophy and Theology: Modern and Contemporary; TRS 329 The Christian and Modern Problems; PHI 331 Faith, Philosophy, and God.

Active Learning Opportunities

The Theology & Philosophy faculty will assist you in choosing internship opportunities at various religious institutions and agencies. Internships, which may be paid or unpaid, can be completed on a credit or non-credit basis. Such field experiences will help you to better define your career preferences while building a portfolio and expanding your network of professional contacts.

You will also find ample opportunities on campus to express your spirituality. You can fill leadership roles in the liturgical, social, and service-oriented activities of Campus Ministry, which offers programs reflective of non-Catholic as well as Catholic faith life. Quincy's service-learning initiative builds on strong ties to the community, enabling you to participate in projects that assist the needy and less fortunate in ways that create lasting value.

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