University of Portland Bulletin 2021-2022


Michael Cameron, Ph.D., chair

Faculty: Aihiokhai, Astorga, Cameron, Daniels, Dempsey, Gaudino, Gordon, Henrichs, King, Stanfill, Turnbloom, Wheeler

The mission of the Department of Theology is to offer students a faith-driven world view and way of life as an alternative to the multiple competing thought systems and ideologies that are embraced by our secular society and culture. Grounded in the University of Portland's vision as a Catholic university, the Department provides students with a solid foundation in critical theological thinking that enables them to question and challenge systems of injustice and suffering. By engaging in complex contemporary issues, Theology students become persons of faith, justice, and compassion in a torn and divided world, and who lead by the witness of their lives. In this way, the Department contributes to the fulfillment of the University's mission of teaching and learning, faith and formation, and service and leadership.

In theological studies, ethics grows from the practice of seeing all reality in God. It does not stand alone. Motivated by this broader understanding of faith and ethics, the Department has pioneered integrative learning and pursues a critical dialogue of reason, faith, and ethics with multiple disciplines and departments across the curriculum.

Learning Outcomes for Theology Majors

Theology graduates of the University of Portland should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the content and methodologies of the major sub-disciplines of Catholic theology by examining issues through the lenses of each of the sub-disciplines.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of how these sub-disciplines inform and support one another by approaching a particular issue through the combined lenses of two or more of these sub-disciplines.
    1. Demonstrate a theological understanding of the ethical aspects of both individual and social actions by writing essays that examine the ethical side of human actions in a manner that is coherent, analytical, and theologically reflective.
    2. Demonstrate an understanding of religious faith.
      1. Discern the place of faith in one’s own life.
      2. Discern the place of faith in the lives of others.

    Capstone Experience

    In the fall of his or her senior year, a theology major will write a formal paper of substantive length, usually 12-18 pages, whose thesis and thesis development integrate the methodologies and perspectives of at least two sub-disciplines of theology, e.g., ethics and spirituality, or biblical studies and systematics. At the end of the fall semester this paper will be submitted to the theology faculty for evaluation. In the spring semester of his or her senior year, the student will enroll in the one-credit capstone course (THE 499).

    300 vs. 400-Level Courses

    Most theology (THE) courses are offered on a 300 and a 400 level.  400-level courses are intended for theology majors, minors, and other students with a special interest in theology. Courses at the 400-level do not entail more work, but provide assignments more suited to students interested in theology beyond just the core requirements.

    Theological perspectives (THEP) courses carry either a 300 or a 400 level designation, depending on the needs of the cross-listed discipline. The number does not indicate the relative difficulty of the course. Both are considered upper-division courses.