Welcome to Catholic Studies at VCU

Catholic Studies at VCU explores the world’s oldest and largest expression of Christianity from a perspective that is global, interdisciplinary, and comparative. The minor in Catholic Studies is one of a very few at state universities in the United States and as such is designed for all undergraduates, regardless of creed or religious affiliation. Study of such a globalized faith as Roman Catholicism is undertaken in an transnational framework within the VCU School of World Studies. Many students complement their study of Catholicism with foreign language courses, particularly Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian, which are spoken by millions of Catholics.


As a minor in the Religious Studies Program, the curriculum affords students the opportunity to study this faith of more than one billion adherents from a variety of academic perspectives, including history, philosophy, theology, political science, sociology and anthropology. Professor R. Andrew Chesnut, the Bishop Walter F. Sullivan Chair in Catholic Studies, is a specialist in Latin America so a number of courses in the minor focus on this region that is home to almost half the world’s Catholics.

Catholicism, like all other religions, is best understood in a comparative perspective. Religious studies courses on Islam and Buddhism, among others, allow students to compare and contrast the beliefs and practices of other great world religions with those of Catholicism. The comparative approach is also employed within many of the courses that count for the minor. Whatever your own religious background might be, you are invited to join us in our spirited study of a faith practiced by one in seven people on earth.

Click here to view Dr. R. Andrew Chesnut's Research Activities