Theology and Religious Studies

Cupola atop a building on the Molloy University campus

Asking the big questions has never been more important

The spiritual dimension of the human person is a basic element of human identity; thus religious experience has been a central dimension of all human cultures. In today's globalized world, religious literacy is essential for all educated persons. For this reason, both theology and religious studies play an indispensable role in a liberal arts curriculum. In accordance with the Dominican tradition that is Molloy's heritage, theology and religious studies are foundational in the pursuit of truth in the context of the individual and collective search for meaning.

 Students should expect personal interaction with experts in Theology and Religious Studies who care about their professional and personal goals. We explore hard questions in the context of a respectful community.

 Theology and Religious Studies can be paired with almost any other discipline, as an awareness of the religious dimension of the human experience touches all fields and disciplines.

Transfer students are welcome into this program. Learn more about transferring to Molloy, including transfer guidelines, articulation agreements and funding opportunities.


B.A. Degree and Minor Offered

Careers Supported by Theology & Religious Studies

When you pursue a major or minor in Theology & Religious Studies you can pursue a wide variety of careers in

  • Religious settings
  • Educational institutions
  • Non-profit organizations
  • NGOs
  • Media
  • Journalism, and more.

Our Faculty

  • Brian Bajzek, Ph.D.

    Brian Bajzek, Ph.D.

    Assistant Professor

    Department of Theology & Religious Studies


    Areas of Specialization:

    Theological Anthropology , Trinitarian Theology , Religion and Popular Culture , Lonergan Studies

    Brian Bajzek is Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Molloy University. He holds a Ph.D. in Theological Studies from University of Toronto and Regis College (2018). His research investigates the interplay of otherness and similarity in theological anthropology, highlighting the importance of productive engagement between religion and society. His writing and teaching also explore the resources popular culture (especially horror movies) can provide for both critiquing and strengthening religious accounts of social justice.


    Dr. Bajzek has published in The Heythrop Journal, International Philosophical Quarterly, Theological Studies, and several edited volumes. He is currently revising his dissertation for publication in book form. That book will resource the writings of René Girard, Emmanuel Levinas, and Bernard Lonergan to analyze intersubjectivity’s role in the drama of human progress, decline, and redemption, offering a trinitarian framework for overcoming marginalization and violence. He has previously taught at University of Toronto (University of St. Michael’s College), Christ the King Seminary (East Aurora, NY), and Marquette University. He is also the director of the Philosophy component of the International Institute for Method in Theology.

  • Connie Lasher, Ph.D.

    Connie Lasher, Ph.D.

    Professor and Chairperson

    Department of Theology & Religious Studies


    Areas of Specialization:

    Systematic theology, environmental humanities, theological aesthetics and ecological identity, Buddhist-Christian studies.

    Connie Lasher is Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Molloy University. Dr. Lasher’s work explores the question of religious humanism and ecological identity. A systematic theologian, she brings to her teaching and scholarship interdisciplinary competencies from the field of Environmental Studies, with particular interest in the environmental arts and humanities. 

    Her academic training and professional experience include the fields of Experiential & Environmental Education (B.S., Pennsylvania State University), and Environmental Studies (M.S., Antioch University New England). She is a former Course Director and Senior Instructor at the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School (Maine), where she directed, designed and taught courses, trained staff, and developed programs in the Maine Sea School, Wilderness Programs, and Florida Keys Sea School. She completed graduate studies in Theology at Andover Newton Theological School (M.A.) and at Boston College (Ph.D.) and returned to Maine as a tenured member of the Department of Theology at Saint Joseph’s College. In 2004 she founded the John Paul II Institute for Theology & Environmental Studies in Maine and served as its Executive Director until 2010.  She is a past recipient of an American Academy of Religion Individual Research Grant Award, an invited Bannan Fellow at the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education, Santa Clara University, and was a Founding Member of the Instituto Laudato Si’ para la Custodia de la Creación (Spain).

    At the heart of her work as a scholar and educator lies a lifelong dedication to education’s role in the recovery of what Rachel Carson famously termed “the sense of wonder”—a wholesome awareness of nature’s beauty and mystery as integral to human wholeness. In an era of increasing cultural polarization, her interdisciplinary studies are intended as a contribution to contemporary efforts to recover and renew the humanistic heritage of the world’s religious traditions in their convergent devotion to reverence for life. Her work in the environmental humanities thus extends to interreligious dialogue concerning the developmental significance of the human relation to nature. Since 2010, she has focused on comparative interreligious collaborations in Japan which explore Buddhist and Catholic models of humanistic education in relation to ecological identity. After a recent sabbatical at the Ikeda Research Institute for Soka Education, she became an affiliate international professor in the Faculty of Letters at Soka University (Tokyo), where she teaches courses and is developing research on the theme of Soka Education and ecological identity.  Her current book project seeks to constructively develop the legacy of the Buddhist philosopher and educator Daisaku Ikeda (1928–2023) on this topic and is tentatively titled, Dialogue with Nature and the Poetic Spirit: Explorations in the Environmental Humanities.

  • Katherine G. Schmidt, Ph.D.

    Katherine G. Schmidt, Ph.D.

    Associate Professor

    Department of Theology & Religious Studies


    Areas of Specialization:

    Digital theology, religion and media, theology and popular culture, American Catholicism

    Katherine G. Schmidt is Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies. She received her B.A. from Mount St. Mary’s University (Maryland), her M.A. in Theological Studies from the University of Dayton and her Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Dayton. Katherine is the author of numerous chapters and articles, in addition to the monograph, Virtual Communion: Theology of the Internet and the Catholic Sacramental Imagination (Lexington, 2020). She is also the co-editor of Media(tion): Rendering the Absent Present (Orbis, 2023) and editor of Ouija and American Popular Culture: Conjuring the Occult (Routledge, forthcoming).

  • Axel Takacs, Th.D.

    Axel Takacs, Th.D.

    Assistant Professor

    Department of Theology & Religious Studies


    Areas of Specialization:

    Comparative Theology, Islamic Studies, Interreligious Studies, Theological Aesthetics, Theo-Poetics

    Axel Takacs is an Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Molloy University and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Interreligious Studies. He is a comparative theologian and scholar of Islamic intellectual traditions (philosophy, theology, Sufism). In the Islamic traditions, Dr. Takacs's focus is on classical and post-classical Sufi-Philosophical traditions in Arabic and Persian, such as the School of Ibn ʿArabī and the madhhab-i ʿishq (School of Passionate Love). He researches and learns from Persian poetry and their commentarial traditions. As a constructive theologian, his scholarship aims to read pre-modern sources as resources to contemporary questions. 

    Subjects of interest include poetics, the imagination, the social imaginary, theological aesthetics, theo-poetics, and the thought of Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar. Contemporary concerns of Islamophobia, racism, and white supremacy inform his research in the field of interreligious studies. Dr. Takacs's other academic interest attends to how the ideology of late capitalism--especially neoliberalism--functions as a modern religion that effectively restricts our collective imagination for alternative, more equitable ways to relate with each other. He continues to be challenged by the knowledges and embodied intelligences of those indigenous to Turtle Island.

    He is the co-editor of The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Comparative Theology: A Festschrift in Honor of Francis X. Clooney, SJ. You can view his publications here