The Religion and Public Life minor will offer students a way to explore and connect diverse conversations about the role of religion in public life. Bringing together a wide array of courses to choose from, the Religion and Public Life minor will have an interdisciplinary emphasis and be composed of six courses, two required courses plus four electives.

Expectations of undergraduates who minor in Religion and Public Life

The aims of the Religion and Public Life minor are to form undergraduate students who are able to:

Understand and narrate the history of religious and cultural interactions across the U.S. historical landscape.

Speak knowledgeably about what comprises a religiously diverse society-- its constructions, conflicts, and common goods—both within the American tradition and in international contexts.

Understand varying roles of an engaged citizenry and the political consequences of religious associations.

Ask difficult questions that lead to analyses of the moral consequences of public policies.

Articulate what the 'Common Good' might look like in a pluralistic society.


There are two required courses: Religion and American Public Life (THEO 3253) and The other required course, to be taken during senior year, is Ethics, Religion, and International Politics (THEO5574/INTL5563/PHIL5563); it is cross listed among theology, international studies, and philosophy.

The introductory seminar, listed as a theology course (THEO 3253), "Religion and American Public Life," will be taught by the director of the minor. This introductory course will be a focused and constructive seminar conversation about the various intersections between religion and public life, focusing on the American context. All students entering the minor will take this introductory course first. During the course, students will meet with the director to determine which elective courses are the best fit for their interests and, if needed, will be connected with another faculty member who will assist in recommending electives.

These electives will form a "cluster" that narrows the focus of the minor to consider the individual student's interests in religion and public life, either within or expanding beyond the American context. This "cluster" consists of four electives, including at least one "advanced elective." An advanced elective is a writing intensive course that should be taken near the end of the student's fulfillment of minor requirements. The elective courses must be chosen from at least two departments outside of theology. 

Example of Elective Clusters

  • Religion and the Arts
  • Religion, Culture, and Media
  • Religion and Political Philosophy
  • Religion and the Social Sciences
  • Religion and American Politics
  • Religion and International Politics


Interested in the Minor

Students who are interested in the Boisi Center Minor in Religion and Public Life should contact the director, Fr. Mark Massa, by email at