Theology / Religious Studies Department

Theology / Religious Studies Department

What We Do:

We acquaint students with Christianity's long and disciplined reflection on the quest for God, wisdom and human fulfillment. While we accent Catholic theology, we also study other Christian and religious traditions, including Judaism and Islam.

How We Stand Out:

  • Theology at a Jesuit university emphasizes intellectual rigor, faith that does justice, encounter and dialogue.
  • Our faculty are internationally recognized and published scholars.
  • We foster a strong sense of community with departmental clubs and events that will enrich your learning experience.
  • We offer faculty-led travel courses to Uganda, Jerusalem, Germany and Croatia.
  • Our small class sizes allow professors to get to know you on an individual basis.
  • The flexibility of our program allows students to pursue a double major or a minor in another area of study.

"It would be difficult to find a theology department more dedicated to the success of their students (than Scranton's)."

Nathan Houston, '20

Programs:

  • Theology / Religious Studies major - Our bachelor's program requires 30 credits in the major, including courses in the Old and New Testaments, historical / systemic theology, moral theology and a non-Christian religion.
  • Theology / Religious Studies minor - The minor requires 18 credits. Students select courses freely from across several areas of theology.
  • Master's degree in Theology - The program offers advanced study of historical and contemporary theological topics. Applicants should have a solid background in the humanities.
  • Accelerated (5-year) B.A. / M.A. - Theology majors with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a major GPA of 3.5 are eligible for this combined, five-year bachelor's / master's program.

Meet Our Faculty:

Maria Poggi Johnson

Maria Poggi Johnson

Chair

Professor, Department Chair

Ph.D., University of Virginia
B.A., Oxford University

Phone: 570.941.7957
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Michael G. Azar

Michael G. Azar

Associate Professor

Ph.D., Fordham University
M.A., St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary
B.A., Colorado Christian University

Phone: 570.941.4418
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Patrick Mahaney Clark

Patrick Mahaney Clark

Associate Professor

Ph.D., University of Notre Dame
M.A., Boston College
B.A., Duke University

Phone: 570.941.7590
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Will T. Cohen

Will T. Cohen

Associate Professor

Ph.D., The Catholic University of America
M.A., St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary
B.A., Brown University

Phone: 570.941.4545
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Brigid Frein

Brigid Frein

Associate Professor

Ph.D., Saint Louis University
B.A., Gonzaga University

Phone: 570.941.7736
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Christopher Haw

Christopher Haw

Assistant Professor

Ph.D., University of Notre Dame
M.A., Villanova University
B.A., Eastern University

Phone: 570.941.5932
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Joel Kemp

Joel Kemp

Assistant Professor

Ph.D., Boston College
J.D., Harvard Law School
M.Div., Andover Newton Theological School
B.A., Harvard College

Christian Krokus

Christian Krokus

Associate Professor

Ph.D., Boston College
M.A., Boston College
B.A., Lafayette College

Phone: 570.941.4546
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Nathan Lefler

Nathan Lefler

Associate Professor

Ph.D., The Catholic University of America
M.A., Yale Divinity School
B.A., University of Chicago

Phone: 570.941.6544
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Cyrus P. Olsen III

Cyrus P. Olsen III

Associate Professor

Ph.D., University of Oxford
M.A., University of Oxford
B.A., University of Aberdeen

Phone: 570.941.7729
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Charles R. Pinches

Charles R. Pinches

Professor

Ph.D., University of Notre Dame
B.A., Wheaton College

Phone: 570.941.4302
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Eric Plumer

Eric Plumer

Associate Professor

Ph.D., University of Notre Dame
M.A., Oxford University
B.A., Fairfield University

Phone: 570.941.6543
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Marc B. Shapiro

Marc B. Shapiro

Professor; Weinberg Chair of Judaic Studies

Ph.D., Harvard University
B.A., Brandeis University

Phone: 570.941.7956
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Internal Website

Inside the Classroom:

  • Learn to think critically and to communicate intelligently about God, Christ, the Gospel, faith and the meaning of life.
  • Build bridges between the Church and the world and among different religious traditions.
  • Learn what it means and how to be "men and women for others."
  • Study key aspects of human living, such as friendship, marriage, work, rest, knowledge and love.
  • Examine historical and contemporary issues like medical ethics and economic justice.
  • Visit local churches, synagogues, mosques and temples, and welcome visitors to your classroom.
  • Intern at local schools and social service organizations.

Student Research:

Your professors will guide you in research projects and papers, and you'll have the opportunity to present your work at conferences.
Featured Abbey Murphy, '20, presented a paper in 2019 at the National Undergraduate Theology Research Conference at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska."I had a great experience presenting my theology research at a conference, because I had the opportunity to have interesting discussions with other students about our projects. I not only learned about topics outside of my research interests, but I began to think about my research in relation to the research of others."

Career Outcomes:

What can you do with a major in theology?
Over the past decade, our students have gone on to work in:
  • High schools (as teachers and campus ministers)
  • Parishes (as directors of religious education and music ministry)
  • Hospitals (as pastoral outreach coordinators)
  • Social service agencies (as counselors, directors and caseworkers)

Many students continue their study of theology in master's and doctoral programs, as well as seminaries across the country. Others pursue graduate degrees in: 

  • Law
  • Counseling
  • Medicine
  • Clinical psychology
  • Art history