Sassetta’s painting of St. Francis meeting the Sultan of Egypt

detail of Sassetta’s St Francis before the Sultan; 2019 is the encounter’s 800th anniversary

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Interreligious Studies Minor

The increasing religious diversity of today’s societies calls for better interaction among persons of different religions. Whether you live here or abroad, and whether you take a job in the public or the private sector, you will work for, with, or on behalf of employers, colleagues, clients, customers, students, or patients of different religious persuasions. Interreligious Studies will enhance your ability to use your skills and your knowledge in your professional life, to say nothing of your personal life.

Few Americans have the education and the practical training to work with religion in a socially engaging way. In the Interreligious Studies program, you will think critically and intentionally about religions, not only as beliefs, but also as forms of community at least as important as race, ethnicity, nationality, and other kinds of human collectivity. You will examine the ways in which religious communities influence one another, come into conflict, and find themselves transformed by their encounters and dialogues.

The Interreligious Studies minor emphasizes

  • recognition of differences as well as similarities, with profound respect for religious diversity,
  • promotion of healthy, peaceful, and mutually enriching interreligious relationships,
  • commitment to the common good, and
  • appreciation for the importance of religious pluralism, especially the kind of pluralism that emphasizes the civic good.

This program is interdisciplinary, considering concepts, themes, and issues through the application of various lenses, the practice of distinct approaches, and wide exploration of pertinent materials,

Requirements for the IRST minor

Students wishing to minor in Interreligious Studies must take a total of 15 credits from at least two but preferably three disciplines. You may earn three of your 15 credits in an internship with one of our faith-based community partners (e.g., Auberle, the Immigrants and International Initiative of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Catholic Charities, and Elliance). Six of the credits should be earned in two of the following courses:

THEO ___ Religious Diversity and Dialogue
THEO 203 Hinduism and Buddhism
THEO 264 Religion & Global Conflict
THEO/JWST 283 Judaism, Christianity and Islam

IRST courses

You will have the following course options besides. We encourage you to consult with one of the program’s directors or advisors about which courses and internships best complement your major and further your goals. (IRST catalog numbers are in preparation.)

African Studies
AFST 204 Approaches to Black and African Theologies
AFST 281 African Religions
Communication & Rhetorical Studies
COMM 220 Approaches to Rhetoric, Religion, and Society
COMM 414 Rhetoric, Religion, & Society
COMM 467 Rhetoric of Religion and Nonviolence
History
HIST 171 History of Christianity
International Relations
IR 303 The Politics of Immigration
Jewish Studies
JWST 271 Anti-Semitism
JWST 275 The Jewish Experience in America
Public Health
PHBA 311 Public Health and Epidemiology
PHBA 423 Perspectives in Global Health
PHBA 428 International Pharmacy Services
Philosophy
PHIL 203 Philosophy of Religion
PHIL 228 Buddhist Philosophy
PHIL 253 Native American Philosophy
PHIL 402W Confucianism and Zen
PHIL 408W Confucianism: Philosophy of Change
PHIL 450W Islamic Philosophy
Political Science
POSC 101 Catholic Thought, the State and Security in the Modern World
POSC 314 The Theological-Political Problem
POSC 407 Terrorism
Psychology
PSYC 260 Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality
PSYC 280 The Art of Happiness: Wellbeing in Theory and Practice
PSYC 356 Psychology of Peace and Conflict
Sociology
SOCI 233 Sociology of Catholicism
SOCI 275 The Jewish Experience in America
SOCI 304E Islamic Culture in Spain
SOCI 333 Sociology of Religion
Theology
THEO 202 Christianity, Embodiment, and Violence
THEO 204 Approaches to Black and African Theology
THEO 216 Media, Religion, and Pop Culture
THEO 230 Global Diversity: Churches and their Cultural Contexts
THEO 232 Faith and Atheism
THEO 245 God, Money, and Power
THEO 246 Contemporary Perspectives on the Common Good
THEO 270 Eastern Christianity
THEO 271 Anti-Semitism
THEO 281 African Religions
Nursing
UPNS 124 Cultural Issues in Health Care
UPNS 223 Population-Based Health and Community Health Nursing
UPNS 290 Contemporary Public Health Issues in Africa
UPNS 324 Cultural Applications in Clinical Practice

IRST program directors and advisors