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 Ethics, Religion, and International Politics (THEO 5563/INTL 5563/PHIL 5563).

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

When the student has completed all six minor courses, the student will be expected to write a short paper (no more than 1000 words) reflecting on their studies in the minor, the relationship between courses in their "cluster" and their major, and how what they have learned may impact their future beyond Boston College. Students who have completed the minor will be expected to give a brief presentation of this reflective paper at a spring reception for affiliated faculty, staff, and fellow students involved in the Religion and Public Life minor.

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