Why take this New Minor Subject?

Religion is everywhere. It shapes culture, politics, history, and contributes to a diverse world. The academic study of religion asks us to think critically about the role of religion in history and its politics and intersections in the present.

We explore the impact of historical sacred texts and traditions. We learn about world religions and traditions such as Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and their interactions. We learn about important theological debates, from early Christian questions to the interactions of religion and science. And we think about the deep ethical questions of our time in critical ways.

Students have multiple opportunities to explore contemporary ethical issues such as religious pluralism, immigration, or climate change. All of these topics are likely to intersect with your major field of study in surprising ways, in ways that brings politics, history, literature, and the arts to life.

Studying Religion at Trinity College Dublin

Learn more about the unique and innovative undergraduate programmes offered in the School of Religion, ranked in the top 100 by QS World University Rankings. Focus on Religion in our BA Single Honors or study it alongside another subject in our Joint Honors Degrees.

What will I learn?

The academic study of Religion at Trinity is divided into four main “pillars” or themes, and students who Minor in Religion will have the opportunity to explore each of these four pillars:

Study the world’s religions

Approach the study of a number of the world’s religions with an academic eye. Using cultural studies and comparative techniques, you will explore theories of religion, material culture of religions, and interreligious encounters. You will study Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, and Christian sources, and examine the place of religion in the world today.

Explore biblical studies and religions in antiquity

Study the origins of Judaism and Christianity, and learn about history, ancient literature, and languages. Discover the diverse cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world. Use archaeology and ancient texts as windows to the religious pasts that continue to shape the civilisations of our world.

Discover theologies for today’s world

Theology explores the key questions from different eras about God’s existence and agency. It relates the significance of Jesus Christ in Christianity to questions of human freedom and meaning, history and cultural expression. In a pluralistic and non-denominational context, theology asks what role faith plays in the public realm and in debates on justice, science, ecology, and inter-religious dialogue. It allows you to engage a wide range of subjects simultaneously, including philosophy, ethics, anthropology, history and the study of the Bible.

Debate the big ethical and political issues of the day

Questions of ethics and politics are major concerns for our time. How have different religious and humanist traditions understood what it means to be an ethical or moral human being through history and in our time? What does it mean to think ethically about unprecedented problems like artificial intelligence or climate change? What do religious traditions say about sex and gender, politics, war and peace, the common good and human dignity?

What will I do?

In the first year, you will be asked to choose four modules, each from one of the School’s four “pillars.” You will be introduced to the study of biblical texts such the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament. You’ll learn about historical and contemporary conversations in theology. You’ll explore the cultural study of religion, world religions, and religion’s material practices. And you’ll engage in the major ethical and political issues of our day: from climate change to sexual ethics to human rights. From your first year on, you’ll develop your own interests in these four pillars further and think.

Find a list of modules here.

How will this be assessed?

Modules in Religion use both continuous assessment and examination. Individual lecturers have their own style of assessments for their own field, but you may find yourself doing anything from: writing a research paper on historical religious figures, thinking about climate justice, analyzing a biblical text, exploring late antiquity, thinking about material objects used in religious traditions and practices.

If you’re a Junior Fresh Single Honours Student or Joint Honours student interested in taking up Religion as a new Minor Subject in your Senior Fresh year, please contact the Course Coordinator, Prof. Jacob Erickson at ericksoj@tcd.ie.

If you're a Trinity Joint Honours student, you may find more information on new Minor Subjects here.