Catholic Studies

Statue and tree limbs

Program Description 

The Catholic studies minor is an interdisciplinary program that introduces students to issues and themes in the study of the Catholic Church and Catholic beliefs. The Catholic studies program includes a curriculum that analyzes the rich contributions of Catholicism to human history, culture and thought. The program is ideal for students interested in Catholic theology, Christianity and developing a deeper understanding of Catholic beliefs and how they informed history and impact modern society.

The Catholic studies minor includes courses from a number of Rockhurst University departments, with a required overview course, Introduction to Catholic Thought and Culture. In addition to Introduction to Catholic Thought and Culture, students complete a total of 12 upper-division credit hours (normally four courses) chosen from an approved list that includes courses in both Catholic thought and Catholic culture. 

All Rockhurst University students, regardless of major, are invited to participate in the Catholic studies minor. No specific background or previous education is necessary and people of all faiths or persuasions are invited to participate.

Thomas More Center for the Study of Catholic Thought and Culture

Welcome to Rockhurst University's Thomas More Center for the Study of Catholic Thought and Culture. The Center, named after the University's patron saint, promotes critical and committed analysis of the Catholic tradition. Its thought-provoking programs solicit discussion of all aspects of Catholicism, including literature, history, fine arts, philosophy, theology and the natural and social sciences.

The Thomas More Center encourages faculty and student research and study through a minor program in Catholic studies for undergraduates and a research grant program for Rockhurst faculty. Additionally, the Center provides continuing education opportunities and outreach programs to the community-at-large, including a lecture series that annually hosts a presentation by a noted scholar or artist on some element of Catholic thought and culture.

Established in the Spring of 2000, the Center has sponsored a course whose lectures have been published by the Rockhurst University Press — Catholicism at the Millennium: The Church of Tradition in Transition. Edited by Wilburn T. Stancil, the book comprises a variety of insightful essays by Rockhurst faculty on facets of the Catholic tradition in today’s world. It may be ordered through the Rockhurst University Press at its website ( or by calling (816) 501-4023.

Another Center-sponsored course resulted in a book, edited by Joseph A. Cirincione, entitled Deep Down Things: Essays on Catholic Culture(Lexington Books, 2008).  The book features contributions from Rockhurst faculty, as well as outside scholars solicited by the Center, on the nature and influence of Catholic ideas on human culture throughout history.  Deep Down Things is available from the publisher and various on-line vendors.

The Thomas More Center also publishes Dimensions, an occasional newsletter with notices of upcoming events, book reviews, essays and reflections on aspects of Catholic thought and culture. To receive the newsletter, click on the "Contact Us" link to the left and request that your name be added to our mailing list. Be sure to include your postal mailing address.

Feel free to contact Rev. Brian Frain, S.J., at 816-501-35-38 or with your comments and suggestions.  We invite your participation in our ongoing conversation about important issues and ideas in the Catholic tradition.

Learning Outcomes 

  • Critically evaluate a range of Catholic traditions, narratives and expressions
  • Recognize how Catholic traditions and theology play important roles in local, national, and global issues and events.
  • Appreciate the diversity of perspectives among Catholicism, Christianity and other religious traditions.

Course Map 

Prospective Students 

Current Students 


  • Small class sizes
  • Engaging discussion
  • Personalized attention from faculty


The Catholic studies minor complements many other areas of study, giving students a well-rounded education that prepares them for various career opportunities in fields such as:

  • Theology
  • Law
  • Government
  • Teaching
  • Higher education