Theology is one of the oldest university disciplines. It has a long and distinguished tradition in Carlow College, having been taught here for over 230 years. Theology enables students to achieve an understanding of what it is to flourish in the widest sense in our contemporary culture and society. Carlow College, situated in the cultural quarter and heart of Carlow town, offers a firm foundation in the history and skills of theology while also placing a keen emphasis on the theology of culture, applied ethics, social justice, and teaching practice. Our students develop the skills to assess critically religious practices and beliefs, cultures and creeds, ideas and values. Theology is a core discipline of the BA (Hons) Arts and Humanities four year degree programme, which means that students take theology alongside the disciplines of philosophy, literature, history, and psychology.
We have a variety of theology modules from which our students can choose to study according to their own career and educational plan. The modules are designed to respond to the social, human, familial, international, religious, and personal needs of contemporary life. These include: Theological Themes in World Literature, Cinema, & Music, Biblical Studies, World Religions, Religion, Conflict, and Peace, The God Question, Social Justice and Applied Ethics, as well as our teaching placement modules in primary and post-primary education.
There is a long tradition of teaching placement as part of studying theology at Carlow College. The two-year teaching placement module is offered to students in years three and four of the Arts and Humanities programme and is overseen by the Co-ordinator of the module. This module is grounded by the support, guidance and participation of cooperating teachers and college tutors. It provides students with practical teaching experience in primary and post-primary school settings in a way that is structured and supported. It is designed to give student teachers an opportunity to gain practice in teaching, to participate in school life, and to apply educational theory in a variety of teaching and learning situations. Methodology workshops prepare student teachers for classroom teaching and collective debriefing/reflective sessions provide support throughout placement.
Our theology students have a number of opportunities to explore theology ‘outside’ of the traditional classroom. These include inter-disciplinary collaborations with staff and students of SETU Carlow and Waterford, study days, fieldtrips, and visits to places of worship with staff and students from TCD including the Irish Jewish Museum, Clonskeagh Mosque, the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar in Ballsbridge, the Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Centre in Kilmainham, and the Chester Beatty Library (Dublin Castle).
The current offering of modules in the BA (Hons) in Arts and Humanities is designed to offer enough range and depth of credits to study theology at master’s degree level. The breath of offerings also allows students to pursue postgraduate studies in Chaplaincy, Pastoral Studies, and Religious Studies. Theology at Carlow College also allows students, who wish to teach in secondary schools, to achieve the Teaching Council of Ireland’s requirements for the teaching of Religion.