Catholic Studies

Interdisciplinary Minor in Catholic Studies

Director: Stephen Chanderbhan, PhD

The Catholic Studies minor at Canisius University examines the doctrinal, historical, spiritual and cultural traditions of Catholicism.

In addition, it includes “dialogue” with people of other faiths and the examination of intellectual disciplines that have been influenced by Catholicism, such as art, history, law, literature, politics, philosophy and the sciences. As such, this program is truly interdisciplinary, highlighting many and various aspects of the Catholic tradition upon which the College was founded.

Any person who wishes to know more about the Catholic heritage, especially as it finds its expressions in public institutions and spaces (both within and outside of the institutional Church), would find this minor relevant. Those pursuing careers or academic objectives that are related to the Catholic Church would also find this program worth completing: for example, future seminarians, lay ministers, teachers interested in the Catholic educational system, those preparing for graduate work in theology or religious studies and anyone planning to pursue an administrative, marketing, accounting, or IT career in a Catholic organization such as a social work agency or health care system. The program director will help the student choose appropriate courses or appoint an advisor to do so.

Each student who completes this minor will:

  1. Be knowledgeable about some facet(s) of Catholic doctrine or piety and the relevance of a concept that originates from the Catholic philosophical or social traditions.
  2. Be able to think critically about the Catholic contribution in some area(s) of history or culture.
  3. Become an effective scholarly researcher and writer about Catholicism and its intellectual heritage.

All courses in the Catholic Studies minor except CTH 400 are offered in traditional academic departments and usually meet the criteria established by these departments for field studies or major credit. Almost all courses in the minor are also part of the College’s Core Curricula (Regular or Honors) and therefore can also be taken as a way to fulfill Core requirements.

Where possible, language and reading courses in Latin and Greek are recommended.

Please contact the program director, Dr. Steve Chanderbhan, for a more detailed description of the program, including course descriptions, possible course substitutions, and ways students have benefitted from this minor in recent years.

Minors are an important part of the undergraduate curriculum.  If students declare a minor by sophomore year, they can usually complete it in a timely manner.  Students should work with their advisor to determine if it is possible that the minor can be completed by graduation.  

To receive a minor, a student must complete at least 9 credit hours of coursework distinct from their major(s) and from other minors, and students must complete more than 50% of the coursework required for the minor at Canisius. Please note that “ancillary/supporting” courses required for a major may still count as distinct courses as long as the remaining coursework still meets the 30 credit-hours required for a major. For more information about minor policies, please see the Declaring Majors and Minors page in the catalog.

N.B., For substitutions and/or exemptions regarding the requirements listed below, please contact the Program Director, Dr. Stephen Chanderbhan.

Curriculum of the Catholic Studies Minor

RST 231Introduction to Catholic Studies3
CTH 400Research in Catholic Studies3
Select one course in each of the following areas (but no more than two courses from any one department in these areas):12
Catholic Theology and Life
Catholic Culture: Literature, Art, Music & Science
Catholic History & Politics
Catholic Philosophy & Social Thought
Total Credits18

Courses that Fulfill Catholic Theology and Life

HON 359Spiritual Autobiography3
RST 230Catholic Belief Today3

Courses that Fulfill Catholic Culture: Literature, Art, Music and Science

ENG 233The Quest in Medieval Literature3
FAH 213Greek and Roman Art3
FAH 224Medieval Art3
FAH 245Renaissance Art3
FAH 248Baroque Art3
RST 237Images of Jesus in Film and Art3
RST 314New Testament in Literature and Art3

Courses that Fulfill Catholic History and Politics

CLS 104Roman History3
HIS 106The Medieval World3
HIS 226History of Ireland3
HIS 264Latin American History to 18303
RST 325Early Christianity3

Courses that Fulfill Catholic Philosophy & Social Thought

HON 360Topics in Modern Christianity3
PHI 267Faith, Reason, and Justice Catholic Social Thought3
RST 340Moral Issues Today3
RST 341Catholic Social Ethics: Theological Perspectives3
RST 345Bio-Moral Problems3