Course Descriptions

Required for All Majors and Minors

Course NumberCourse TitleDetails
CATH 395

Development in the Life of the Church Seminar

Last Offered
Spring 2022

Next Offered
Spring 2023

A project-based seminar experience that will mix joint and individual projects with guided reading focused on a theme established by the instructor.

The Spring 2023 topic will be the place and interpretation of the Bible in the history of Catholic faith and life.

3 Credits

Required for Majors

Course NumberCourse TitleDetails
CATH 201

The Word of God in Human Words: Introduction to Scripture

Last Offered
Spring 2022

Next Offered
Fall 2022

The Bible is the most influential and studied book in human history, for it has been received as God’s Word to humanity by countless numbers of people for centuries. The Christian Bible has two major sections. There is a collection of writings from ancient Israel known as the Old Testament, Hebrew Bible, or, in Jewish tradition, the TaNaK. There is also a collection of 27 writings produced by the early Christians known as the New Testament. The course does not presume any previous familiarity with the Bible.

The Bible is a single book which is itself a collection of many smaller books. Our focus in this class will be on the overarching story that the Bible tells across its major compositions. We will be concerned with the major persons, events, topics, and theological themes found throughout the Bible. The biblical books, which mediate God’s revelation of Himself and His will to human beings, were composed over nearly 1,000 years by human beings living in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean world. Therefore, we will bring our knowledge about the historical, literary, and social settings in which the biblical books were composed in order to grasp what the Bible teaches about God, His actions as Creator and Savior, and the response which God asks of human beings.

3 Credits

Bridges: Meets Theology Requirement

Bridges: Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

CATH 205/205C

I Believe: Principles of the Catholic Faith

Last Offered
Spring 2022

Next Offered
TBD (205C Fall 2022)

The center of the Catholic faith is Jesus Christ, who as the eternal Son of God become human, reveals who God is and the meaning and goal of human existence. The Church's reception of his revelation is articulated in the ancient statements of faith known as the creeds. Using the Apostles' Creed as our guide, this course will explore the basic principles of the Catholic faith and explicate the thinking which they entail.

CATH 205C sections are for the Catholica Learning Community for freshmen in the College of Liberal Arts.

3 Credits

Bridges: Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

CATH 301

The Human Drama: The Catholic Church through the Ages

Last Offered
N/A

Next Offered
Spring 2023

The story of Christian believers from the early centuries to the 21st century, with attention to its emergence as a persecuted marginal movement, toleration and establishment as the religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century, the struggles and challenges faced from late antiquity to the disruptions of the Black Death, the age of reforms and missionary outreach (15th through the 17th centuries), the challenges of rising secularity and the response of two councils. The course will balance institutional narrative with exploration of emerging spiritualities among religious and lay Catholics, and their impact in society.

3 Credits

CATH 499

Catholic Studies Capstone Experience

Last Offered
Directed Study

Next Offered
Meet with Dept. Chair

Intended as a flexible requirement, fulfilled by a seminar format, independent study, internship or portfolio, designed in collaboration with student's advisor in Catholic Studies.

3 Credits

Bridges: Capstone Experience

Electives

Catholic Studies Faculty Courses

Course NumberCourse TitleDetails
CATH 251

Christian Philosophy

Last Offered
Fall 2021

Next Offered
Fall 2022

Like any faith tradition, Christianity contains a broad pattern of beliefs and practices. Some of the beliefs are not only compatible with but at times dependent on the cogency of certain philosophical conceptions regarding: (a) the existence and nature of God, (b) a theory of human action, (c) the makeup of the natural world, (d) the distinction between good and evil, and (e) our capacity to know things.

This course will not only examine critically the relation between Christian religious beliefs and such philosophical conceptions, but also suggest how some Christian beliefs have had a significant impact on the development of various cultures, particularly in the West. Such an examination can assist both philosophical inquiry and the critical analysis of cultural, political, economics, and moral beliefs and practices.

3 Credits

Bridges: Meets Philosophy Requirement

Bridges: Meets Theology Requirement

Bridges: Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

CATH Majors: Meets Major Requirement for CATH 205

CATH 252

Existentialism

Last Offered
Spring 2022

Next Offered
TBD

We will work our way through a family of thinkers often labeled existentialists, such as Kiekegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Camus. Our study will be guided by means of a few shared themes: freedom, anguish, responsibility and meaning.

3 Credits

Bridges: Meets Philosophy Requirement

Bridges: Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

CATH 266

Health, Disability, and Justice

Last Offered
N/A

Next Offered
Spring 2023

This course draws on resources from Christian theology, philosophy, and psychology to explore the meaning and scope of “health” in relation to the human species, with particular attention to how disability and mental health are understood. Students will engage historical and contemporary accounts of human flourishing and discern how taking health and disability into account generates competing understandings of what it means for human beings to flourish. The course concludes with a consideration of how to advocate for just treatment of persons with disabilities. Students will identify practices and social structures that inhibit flourishing for people with disabilities, and reflect on what sorts of practices might best promote justice.

3 Credits

Bridges: Ethical Reasoning & Moral Responsibility

Bridges: Social & Historical Reasoning

CATH 281

Rule-Breakers: A New Look at the Ten Commandments through Film

Last Offered
Spring 2022

Next Offered
Spring 2023

Rule-Breakers takes as its centerpiece the internationally acclaimed film series, "Dekalog," a set of related narratives exploring the consequences of transgressing divine norms found in the Ten Commandments. Through these masterfully crafted stories, we will explore perennial questions about the human condition and consider what it means to live out of harmony with God and other humans.

We will divide our time into three parts: first, engage in student-led introductions to the night's topic, based on assigned readings; second, watch the 50-minute film together; and in the final hour discuss the subtleties of the film narrative and its implications for our understanding of the commandment being explored.

3 Credits

Bridges: Meets Theology Requirement

Bridges: Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

CATH 315

Internship

Last Offered
By Arrangement

Next Offered
Meet with Dept. Chair

Earn 1-3 Catholic Studies academic credits. Engage in social outreach, teaching, or ministerial experiences in and outside the Pittsburgh area. Available for spring, summer, or fall semesters.

1-3 Credits

CATH 320

Experiencing African American Catholic Spirituality

Last Offered
N/A

Next Offered
Fall 2022

This course will introduce students to the culture, spirituality and history of African American Catholics in the US. As people of the African diaspora, their history and spirituality are rooted in Africa. Therefore, the course will review references to Africa in scripture, early Catholic history, and some common aspects of African cultures, spiritualities and religious customs. Students will engage with African and African American Catholics through experiential opportunities. Focusing on a cross-cultural perspective, students will compare African and African American religious cultures and spiritualities. Often, African Americans Catholics are viewed as an anomaly in the Catholic Church and among other Black Christian denominations in the US. Students will discuss this issue and examine some of the moral and social challenges faced by African Americans through the lens of Catholic social justice.

3 Credits

Bridges: Cultural Fluency & Responsiveness

Bridges: Social & Historical Reasoning

CATH 353

The Apocalypse and the Bible

Last Offered
N/A

Next Offered
Spring 2023

A study of apocalypticism as found in biblical texts from both the Old and New Testaments, especially the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation. Attention will also be given to major ways in which biblical apocalypticism has been received throughout its history of interpretation, including major instances in music and the arts.

3 Credits

Bridges: Competencies Pending

CATH 452

Marion & Phenomenology (PHL 489, PHL 589)

Last Offered
N/A

Next Offered
Spring 2023

Jean-Luc Marion has moved phenomenology in new directions with his development of the notion of saturated phenomenon. Criticizing the grounding of phenomenology in objects (Husserl) and Being (Heidegger), and building from insights of Derrida and Merleau-Ponty, he posits the principle that “the more reduction, the more givenness.” On this basis he does a phenomenology of “being given” that is far more receptive to what is nonintuitive, in excess of conceptuality, and theological. The course will explore the genesis of saturated phenomenon, the problem of epistemology that it engenders, and how it has been taken up by Catholic and non Catholic theologians both positively (Levinas, Henri, Mackinlay, Chrétian) and critically (Janicaud).

3 Credits

EQ 118/118C

Whose Humanity Matters?

Last Offered
Fall 2021

Next Offered
TBD (118C Fall 2022)

There is perhaps no question that appears to have a more obvious answer: Everyone’s humanity matters! But do we actually behave toward others in ways that affirm that truth? This course will explore this question through the lens of incarceration practices, historically and in our own times. Through examinations of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, and racist theologies that have been used to justify the incarceration and lynching of African-Americans in this country, we will consider ways in which Christianity has been distorted to justification dehumanizing, imprisoning, and killing people who have been pushed to the margins of society. A re-examination of the Christian scriptures will identify why a true understanding of the Christian faith affirms the human dignity of every person.

CATH 205C sections are for the Justitia Learning Community for freshmen in the College of Liberal Arts.

3 Credits

Bridges: Essential Questions Seminar

EQ 132/HONR 155

Is Care for the Planet My Responsibility?

Last Offered
Spring 2022

Next Offered
Fall 2022

With the stakes of climate change already high and ever rising, this essential-question course considers various levels of responsibility-personal, societal, global-for the ecological crisis facing humanity. The consideration of one's own responsibility will be facilitated by an engagement with myriad resources both within and outside of Catholic Christianity treating issues of ecology, care for the planet, and a renewed understanding of creation and faith informed by dialogue with the natural sciences.

3 Credits

Bridges: Essential Questions Seminar

EQ 140

Who Needs Healing?

Last Offered
N/A

Next Offered
Fall 2022

How are our views of health and disability socially and culturally conditioned? This course provides students an opportunity to reflect on their own experiences of health, the role that health plays within their understanding of their own wellbeing, and their personal, professional, and civic responsibilities toward persons who are disabled. Students will explore a number of intellectual arguments about how health is constituted and what counts as a disability, and participate in assignments that consider how academic discussions of disability intersect with current events and public policy measures and with art and literature. We focus in particular on how health and disability are understood in the Christian theological tradition, both in historical Christian thought and in contemporary theologies of disability, and on the ways that Christianity has both influenced and been shaped by broader cultural attitudes toward disability.

3 Credits

Bridges: Essential Questions Seminar

Cross-Listed Courses

Course NumberCourse TitleDetails
CATH 121

Interpersonal Communication (COMM 103)

Last Offered
Spring 2022

Next Offered
Summer 2022, Fall 2022

Introduces interpersonal communication praxis (theory-informed action) in personal and professional relationships. The course develops communication skills in a variety of personal and professional relationships, including friendships, romantic relationships, work relationships, and family relationships and explores how interpersonal justice, a requirement for social justice, both stemming from and contributing to its action, requires reflection and care.

3 Credits

Bridges: Communication & Creative Expression

CATH 122

Catholic Thought, the State, and Security in the Modern World (POSC 101, IR 101)

Last Offered
Fall 2021

Next Offered
Fall 2022

The increasing tensions of the present security environment can have a strangling effect on the spirit and ethos of moral reason, and faith founded social institutions. The State needs to be secure and have its people secure. Doing so, however, may involve hard choices to do things it would not do ordinarily. How can a principled and faith founded people respond to these exigencies? This course introduces the student to the rich tradition of Roman Catholic thinking on the subject of war, peace, and the State and the dignity of the individual. It will then open a conversation with some of the other approaches to contemporary problems, as well as assess responses to pressing security issues confronting the world.

3 Credits

Bridges: Ethical Reasoning & Moral Responsibility

Bridges: Social & Historical Reasoning

CATH 125

Spiritans & the Catholic Faith in a Global Environment (IR 125)

Last Offered
Spring 2022

Next Offered
Spring 2023

This course seeks to survey the history, charism, and spirituality of the Spiritans and the wider presence of the Catholic Faith within the context of their global presence. Catholic Social Teaching and the ministry of the Spiritans will be considered in the face of changing global challenges.

3 Credits

Bridges: Cultural Fluency & Responsiveness

Bridges: Social & Historical Reasoning

CATH 135

History of Christianity (HIST 171)

Last Offered
Spring 2022

Next Offered
TBD

This course traces the development of the Christian religion from its obscure origins to its present status as a diverse world religion with hundreds of millions of adherents. Our focus is on the ways in which the thought and organization of the Christian churches have responded to the enormously diverse societies and cultures in which they have existed.

3 Credits

Bridges: Cultural Fluency & Responsiveness

Bridges: Social & Historical Reasoning

CATH 224

Approaches to Rhetoric, Religion, and Society (COMM 220)

Last Offered
Spring 2022

Next Offered
Spring 2023

Explores intersections between religion and public life in civic contexts through rhetorical principles and practices. The course focuses on the context of American society, history, and practice.

3 Credits

Bridges: Communication & Creative Expression

Bridges: Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

CATH 253

Love and Friendship (PHIL 299)

Last Offered
Spring 2022

Next Offered
Fall 2022

A philosophical consideration of love and friendship: the nature of love, its causes, its effects, its many manifestations, the mutual love found in friendship, the kinds of friendship, and the importance of friendship in human life.

3 Credits

Bridges: Meets Philosophy Requirement

Bridges: Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

CATH 265

Artificial Intelligence Ethics (GREF 210)

Last Offered
Spring 2022

Next Offered
Fall 2022

Digital technologies, and the artificially intelligent systems making them possible, have taken over our lives, from cell phones to cloud computing to voting. But where does ethics come in, and who decides what is ethical? How can we think clearly about issues of privacy, monopoly, free speech, autonomy, racism, misogyny, and equality? What is the relationship between humans and technology, and what should it be? This course, hosted by Duquesne’s Carl G. Grefenstette Center for Ethics in Science, Technology, and Law, will examine a wide variety of topics in artificial intelligence, including algorithmic bias, machine learning, and transhumanism. The course will empower students to thoroughly appraise the ethical concerns in science and technology through a Catholic lens.

3 Credits

Bridges: Ethical Reasoning & Moral Responsibility

CATH 322

Public Advocacy (COMM 307)

Last Offered
Fall 2021

Next Offered
Fall 2022

Prepares students for rhetorical and communicative leadership in the professional and public spheres. Explores the theory and practice of oral and written persuasive appeals.

3 Credits

Bridges: Communication & Creative Expression

Bridges: Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

CATH 351W

Medieval Philosophy (PHIL 301W)

Last Offered
Fall 2021

Next Offered
Fall 2022

A sampling of Christian and Islamic thought from late antiquity through the thirteenth century, with emphasis on the continuity, the development, and the fruitful interplay of the Platonic and the Aristotelian traditions. We will weigh the difficulty of assimilating this complex pagan heritage within the context of revealed religion and consider how medieval thinkers worked toward a solution in connection with such themes as knowledge, God's existence, the problem of evil, the relation between divine and natural causes, and the soul.

3 Credits

Bridges: Meets Philosophy Requirement

Bridges: Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

CATH 352W

Thomas Aquinas (PHIL 315W)

Last Offered
Spring 2022

Next Offered
TBD

An introduction to the philosophical thought of St. Thomas Aquinas, focusing on such topics as God, nature, knowledge, language, the problem of evil, and the relation between faith and reason.

3 Credits

Bridges: Meets Philosophy Requirement

Bridges: Meets Theology Requirement

Bridges: Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

CATH 451

St. Thomas Aquinas - God and Being (PHL 421, PHIL 521)

Last Offered
N/A

Next Offered
Spring 2023

This course is an introduction to Thomas Aquinas' philosophical theology through a close reading of his Summa contra gentiles—not the whole text, which would take many semesters, but as much as we can read with care. We will give special attention to the historical context of the work so as to shed light on the much discussed question of Thomas' intention in writing it, and also to the role he assigns the philosophy of nature.

3 Credits