Loyola University Chicago

Department of Theology

Integrative Studies in Ethics and Theology (ISET)

The PhD in Integrative Studies in Ethics and Theology (ISET) represents an effort to rethink the riches of the Christian theological tradition to meet the intellectual, societal, and ethical challenges that confront humanity in the 21st century. In their studies and research, students give particular attention to the ways in which Christian theology and ethics interrelate and mutually inform one another.

Integrative Elements of the Program

The first integrative element of the program is the ISET doctoral seminar, which all ISET students (those in both focus areas) take twice, in the Spring of each year of coursework. This course is organized around a theme and attends to key thinkers in their fullness and complexity, including specific attention to interconnections between ethics and theology in the structure of their thought. Recent themes have included, for example, Tragedy and Ambiguity; Theological Anthropology and Consumer Society; and Responsibility. The course also has an integrative nature by virtue of the different disciplinary foci of the students. This builds a community of conversation among our ISET students and makes for rich discussion, with students bringing varied questions and insights to the course readings.

Second, the comprehensive doctoral exams have an integrative aspect. The first two days of comprehensive exams cover the student’s area of focus, either Ethics or Theology, but the third day is integrative. Each student chooses one of two options: a) to compare two figures in depth - one working primarily in Christian ethics and one working primarily in Theology or Bible; or b) to focus this day around a particular theme and propose authors working on this theme to read and prepare.

Finally, the dissertation will shape the ways in which the program is "integrative" for each individual student. Here your own research interests, as well as faculty expertise, will be determinative.

Areas of Focus within the Program

Within the program, students choose between two areas of special focus, either ethics (ISET-Ethics) or theology (ISET-Theology). For more information about these area of focus, click on the links in the preceding sentence or on the menu items at left.

Language Requirements

Post-master’s degree applicants who want to pursue the specialization in Integrative Studies in Ethics and Theology must be able to demonstrate a reading knowledge of French, German, or Spanish before matriculation into the doctoral programs. They must demonstrate a reading competency in one of the other two modern languages (or, in the case of Theology, a language pertinent to the intended dissertation topic) before the beginning of their third year of doctoral study.

For Theology Department Graduate Admission Requirements, click here.

To apply, please use the online application.