Franciscan Studies, Theology, and Applied Ethics


Franciscan Studies, Theology, and Applied Ethics at Saint Francis University

Becoming more introspective and socially involved through your studies is a primary theme carried throughout our program.  Our courses examine the deepest and most fundamental questions of human existence.  Program offerings will challenge you to 'know yourself and the world around you' and will result in building your own personal framework for ethical decision-making.  


Offered: On-Campus

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specialize your studies by pursuing an independent study with a faculty mentor
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multi-disciplinary academic approach that challenges students to think critically about all subjects
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expert faculty poised to collaborate and mentor students in honing their personal ethical decision-making skills
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Why the Study of Franciscan Studies, Theology, and Applied Ethics Matters

The ability to examine any subject carefully and cautiously and to be willing to change one's own beliefs as part of this process is fundamental for tomorrow's leaders.  In fact, according to NACE's Job Outlook 2016 survey, employers cite written communication skills, problem-solving skills, verbal communication skills, and a strong work ethic as important attributes of job candidates.


Students who study philosophy, ethics, social responsibility, and religion will hone the most desirable traits as identified by future employers.  

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Franciscan Studies, Theology, and Applied Ethics the Saint Francis Way

The Department of Franciscan Studies, Theology, and Applied Ethics cultivates a Franciscan character in each student through quality educational courses, programs, and experiences. Saint Francis’s call to a life of ongoing gospel conversion guides our teaching of philosophy, theology, and ethics, as well as our commitment to liberal arts learning, interfaith literacy, community engagement, and career readiness. 

Interdisciplinary Learning Opportunities

Theology is by its nature is interdisciplinary, making use of insights from philosophy, anthropology, sociology, history, and psychology just to name a few.  Our minors are popular in complementing degrees in the Health Sciences, Business, Education, Social Work, Foreign Languages, etc.


Courses like Compassionate Caregiving, Religion and Science, and Sports Ethics compliment some of the University’s most popular majors.  Many students choose to pursue the Compassionate Care as a minor, grounded in the Franciscan tradition, which prepares future health care professionals to dialogue with patients about their health or illness. 


Opportunities for Service

Service is at the heart of our university’s Franciscan identity, and at the heart of this department. Students are encouraged to make service central to their education, bringing together classroom learning and community service. We actively support the Dorothy Day Center, located on our campus, giving students the chance to become part of a “family” of people who serve local people. 


Undergraduate Research and Internships

Once students become grounded in the fundamentals of the discipline, we encourage them to pursue their own research interests by presenting their work at professional conferences and publishing in undergraduate journals.


To help with these goals, the department also hosts an annual conference, The Examined Life: An Undergraduate Conference in the Liberal Arts, in which students submit academic essays or creative work (short fiction, poetry, etc.) tailored for a 15-20 minute oral presentation; poster presentation or similar visual representations of research; or visual artwork such as painting, sculpture, film, photography.


Students interested in entering the workforce are encouraged to do at least one internship. Doing this helps students gain real-world experience while broadening their professional network.




Minors Designed to Compliment Your Major Area of Study

  • Apply the principles for making ethical decisions that promote peace, justice, and compassion for all creation.
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills and the ability to critically examine any subject.
  • Evaluate foundational theoretical perspectives.
  • Relate Catholic and Franciscan historical, cultural, religious, and theological perspectives to contemporary issues.  
  • Program Offerings
  • Wolf-Kuhn Ethics Institute
  • Compassionate Care Minor

    22-23 Course Catalog Requirements


    Ethics Minor

    22-23 Course Catalog Requirements


    Philosophy Minor

    22-23 Course Catalog Requirements


    Religious Studies Minor

    22-23 Course Catalog Requirements


    Social Responsibility Minor

    22-23 Course Catalog Requirements


  • The mission of the Ethics Institute is to contribute to the community's understanding of contemporary ethical issues facing various types of professions.

    The Institute is focused on ethics in: 

    • Business
    • Education
    • Law
    • Religion
    • Government
    • Medicine
    • Communications
    • Labor relations
    • Social services

    Faculty and students associated with the Wolf-Kuhn Ethics Institute are available for collaborative projects with our community.

    Some examples of community collaborations include:

    • Leading community workshops focused on ethical issues in areas such as business, medicine, and public policy;
    • Working with local high school debate and mock trial teams to help them to develop their skills of argumentation and persuasion;
    • Hosting interfaith gatherings aimed at finding shared values and working toward the common good.
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Experienced faculty who love to teach

Our faculty have expertise in discussions of the ethical issues in healthcare, business, and public policy.   The program is comprised of talented individuals dedicated to mentoring students in their specialty areas, including philosophy of law, science, existentialism, American philosophy, and symbolic logic as well as the logic of ordinary language.  


Faculty are dedicated to the study of peace and justice as well as the ethical issues that continuously confront society.  


Department Contact:  Arthur Remillard, Department Chair,  814.472.3339,



Frequently Asked Questions About Franciscan Studies, Theology, and Applied Ethics

  • Can I study abroad while still pursuing program offerings?

    Our department offers religious studies courses in study abroadprograms in France, Mexico, and Bolivia, along with the opportunity to take theology courses in Austria.

    • In France, our students study the religious architecture and pilgrimage sites surrounding Ambialet.
    • In the Yucatan Peninsula, at Playa Del Carmen Mexico, they delve into the countries’ rich, Franciscan, religious history while learning Spanish and serving at a local orphanage.
    • The Bolivia site offers students the chance to learn about environmental issues associated with mining, while actively engaging in service with the locals in La Paz and around Lake Titicaca.

    Additionally, our department has supported student-designed projects in Nicaragua, Africa, Honduras, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. If you have a project in mind, we will do everything in our power to make it happen. We are open to studying and serving with you. If you want to travel while you learn, SFU is the place to do it!

  • What career opportunities are there for students studying Franciscan Studies, Theology, and Applied Ethics?

    Increasingly, business and industry are seeking thoughtful employees who can analyze, reason, and think and act ethically. Incorporating Philosophy and Religious Studies into your education enhances your work in all disciplines, notably healthcare, business and public policy.


    Philosophy students have accepted the following positions:

    • Arts Consultant
    • Author
    • College Counselor
    • Criminal Defense Attorney
    • Director of University Gift Planning
    • Director Information Systems
    • Education
    • Foreign Service Officer
    • High School English Teacher
    • Marketing Analyst
    • Ministry
    • Law
    • Producer/Director
    • Psychologist
    • Publisher
    • Real Estate Attorney

    With coursework in Religious Studies, you may pursue one of the following career paths:

    • Clergy member
    • Scholar
    • Author/Speaker
    • Parochial/CCD Teacher
    • Spiritual mentor
    • Social work
    • Non-profit
    • Religious administrative
  • What clubs are available for students?

    Meeting like-minded students is an exciting part of college life.  The Franciscan Studies, Theology, and Applied Ethics department brings students like you together in the following clubs:


    Theta Alpha Kappa (Alpha Gamma chapter), ACHS member - National Honor Society for Theology/Religious Studies


    Delta Epsilon Sigma Logo

    Delta Epsilon Sigma - National Catholic Honors Society


    SFU Philosophy Club - Opportunities to become an active member and hold an office