Integrative Studies in Ethics and Theology
The Integrative Studies in Ethics and Theology doctoral program embraces two areas of specialization in theological research.
A: Christian Ethics, focusing on modern and contemporary ethics, with special interests in:
- Philosophical and Theological foundations of Catholic and Christian Ethics;
- Contexts of Catholic and Christian Social Ethics;
- Methods of Catholic and Christian theological ethics.
Research and teaching in philosophical foundations of Catholic and Christian Ethics focus particularly on continental philosophy and ethics (freedom and agency, human dignity, recognition theory, responsibility, human rights); in Catholic and Christian Social Ethics the focus is on medical ethics, ecological ethics, political ethics, and global ethics; in Methods of Catholic & Christian ethics, research and teaching focus particularly on the Natural Law traditions, historical analysis, hermeneutics, the social sciences, including qualitative modes of inquiry, and liberation theologies. Feminist ethics and gender theory are studied as a cross-sectional topic in all three areas.
B: Systematic Theology, focusing on modern and contemporary theology, with special interests in:
- Foundational and methodological issues of Catholic and Christian theology;
- The contexts that inform theological understandings;
- Hermeneutics and the practical interaction of systematic theology with ethical issues.
Research and teaching in Systematic Theology address foundational questions of Catholic and Christian theology, with particular focus on theological methods; contexts of understanding are explored with a particular focus on interpretations of the Catholic tradition and the history of spirituality. Hermeneutics and the practical interaction of systematic theology and ethics are studied in relation to contemporary political and social concerns, focusing on political theology, 20th century, continental philosophy/theology, and liberation theology. Feminist theology and gender theory are studied as a cross-sectional topic in all three areas.
Throughout coursework, faculty and students identify and reflect upon the integration of ethics and theology into coherent frameworks of Christian Theology and Ethics. For example, ethics addresses the theological implications of its philosophical foundation, ethical agency and responsibility, normative theories, and institutional structures of justice in the 21st century, whereas systematic theology addresses the ethical implications of the biblical, historical, and theological insights of creation theology and revelation theology for individual religious experiences, the commitment to one’s faith, and the institution of the Church. Special integrative seminars, reading groups, and colloquia are in place to achieve the goal of ‘integrative studies in ethics and theology.’
In training academic and intellectual leaders, we are committed to disciplinary rigor, complemented by interdisciplinary studies. There is interdisciplinary collaboration with the fields of bioethics, environmental ethics, literature and theology, and theology and philosophy. The joint MA program in Christian theology & Women’s Studies fosters the cross-sectional research of feminist ethics and theology.