The University of Dubuque Theology major is designed to expose students to various aspects of the Bible, Church history, theology, ethics, and practical leadership experience. The undergraduate Theology program prepares students for lives of service in the church and the world.

The Theology Program prepares students for advanced theological study in a seminary or divinity school as well as for careers in ministry and the nonprofit sector. Graduates may serve in traditional and non-traditional ministries, lay church leadership, youth ministry, worship ministry, missions (both urban and global), and in other non-profit organizations. Among the liberal arts, theological study forms students for life in creation and human society by cultivating critical thinking, inquiry, communication, and ethical responsibility.

What You Will Learn

  • Knowledge of the Bible, its content, genres, and historical-cultural contexts.
  • How to interpret biblical texts using scholarly methods.
  • The central and interrelated features of Christian theology.
  • How to read primary and secondary sources critically, charitably, and contextually.
  • How to apply Christian beliefs and personal practices in the context of your vocational life.
  • Theories and practices essential to Christian service and leadership.
  • How to deal faithfully and imaginatively with contemporary issues in light of the biblical witness and Christian tradition.
  • Excellent moral character and professional ethics in your service to the church and world. 

What Our Students Do

The University of Dubuque Theology Program allows students to study the Bible together, support one another in Christian life, and learn to think Christianly through studying the riches of Christian theology and history. Every Christian studies major participates in at least one semester-long ministry internship or service experience. 

Where Our Graduates Go

University of Dubuque Theology graduates go on to attend graduate school in theology at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary and elsewhere. Our graduates serve in leadership positions in Presbyterian, United Methodist, Baptist, and non-denominational churches across the country. Students who pursue Theology as a second major, or as an academic minor, integrate their faith and careers and serve God in a variety of fields.

News from the Department

New Theology Major approved: The Undergraduate Curriculum Committee approved a proposal from the seminary faculty that establishes a Theology major/minor at the University. See the 2019-20 Academic Catalog for the new courses now being offered. 

Theology- Program of Study

The courses below are a program sample of what students may encounter. Students will meet with their advisers to develop a personal educational program to plan their elective course choices, internship, and opportunities for graduate theological education.

Year One

Fall Semester
WVS 101: World View Seminar I (3)
THEO 105: Who Is God? (3)
ENG 101: Composition and Rhetoric (3)
THEO 210:  elective (3)
COM 101: Speech Communication (3)

Spring Semester
WVS 201: World View Seminar II (3)
THEO 107: What Is the Bible? (3)
ENG 112/260: Literature (3)
RES 104: Research Writing (3)
BIO 110: Human Biology Lab (4) or other Science Lab Course

Year Two

Fall Semester
THEO 210 or other THEO elective
THEO 215: Christian Social Ethics
PSY/SOC 111:  Introduction to Psychology/Sociology (3)
HWS 110: Physical Activity (1)
PHL 114: Logical Reasoning (3)

Spring Semester
THEO 300: Basics of Christian Ministry
THEO 210 or other elective
ART 111: Survey of Western Art (3) or other Aesthetics B Course

Year Three

Fall Semester
THEO 312: Biblical Interpretation
Other THEO electives

Spring Semester
THEO 310: Christian Theology
Elective or courses for a minor or second major

Year Four

Fall Semester
THEO 485: Internship

Spring Semester
REL 495: Senior Capstone

Mary Emily Duba - Seminary (2018)


Mary Emily Duba

Department Head
Visiting Assistant Professor of Theology
PhD, University of Chicago Divinity School
MDiv, Yale Divinity School
BA, Seattle University

Phone: 563.589.3102
Office: 204 Severance Hall

A systematic and constructive theologian, Mary Emily's work responds to theological questions raised by human displacement and ecological collapse. We speak liturgically of God's presence and action in creation, but what can such words mean in a world of borders and barbed wire? How ought we to speak of God's presence and action in the ruins of war and the toxic waste of capitalism? What emerges from this work is an invitation to reconsider the Christian faith as a risky, embodied, and inhibitory response to a God who makes room at the center of God's own triune presence for the fullness of creaturely life.

Mary Emily received the PhD from the University of Chicago Divinity School and the MDiv from Yale Divinity School. She was raised in an intentional, ecumenical Christian community in the North Cascade Mountains of Washington State. Before beginning her doctoral studies, she and her husband Jason, lived for year in Cochabama, Bolivia in community with displaced people and with members of the Maryknoll order. She is a Louisville Institute Postdoctoral Fellow (2018-20) and an active member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Christopher James - Seminary (2018)


Christopher James

Associate Professor of Evangelism and Missional Christianity
PhD, Boston University School of Theology
MDiv, Fuller Theological Seminary
BA, Wheaton College

Phone: 563.589.3859
Office: 222 Severance Hall

"From the greed-laced appeals of charlatan televangelists to the apocalyptic condemnations of megaphone-toting street preachers, the word "evangelism" brings up all the worst associations outsiders to faith have with organized religion. Moreover, among Christians, the word commonly evokes an unholy cocktail of guilt, inadequacy, and disgust. Such is the disrepute of the fundamental Christian practice the resurrected Jesus spoke of when he told his disciples, "You will be my witnesses." In this context, Christian leaders today face the critical challenge of cultivating communities that are learning to live in the light of their missional identity and are simultaneously attuned to the Spirit and their context, so that they might join God in the renewal of all things. This ecclesial witness makes incarnate the good news of the availability of the Reign of God, and is the heart of missional Christianity."

Drawing on formative experiences in diverse contexts that include an evangelical megachurch near San Francisco, a Korean-American church plant in Boston, a Charismatic Anglican church outside of Chicago, and a small Presbyterian congregation in Los Angeles, Christopher's teaching reflects a unique set of ecumenical influences and ecclesial expressions. His research and teaching focus on missional engagement with contemporary contexts, and his pedagogy features an emphasis on experimentation and praxis.

Christopher is the author of the award-winning "Church Planting Post-Christian Soil: Theology and Practice" (Oxford University Press, 2017) as well as numerous articles. Dr. James is a regular presenter at academic and ministry conferences and has been featured in print, radio, and television, with stories featuring his research in SeattleMet Magazine, and NBC and NPR affiliates. When he's not in the classroom you're likely to find him park-hopping with his wife, Lindsay, and their two spunky kids or hosting a community conversation at the local nano-brewery.

Bonnie Sue Lewis - Seminary (2018)


Bonnie Sue Lewis

Professor of Mission and World Christianity
PhD, University of Washington
MA, Fuller Theological Seminary
BA, Whitworth College

Phone: 563.589.3648
Office: 212 Severance Hall

Dr. Lewis first heard God's call to mission through the Christian Service Corps where she served from 1976-1979 as a high school history teacher at the Inter-American School in Quezaltenango, Guatemala. Continuing to see her role as that of teacher, she went on to Fuller Seminary and the University of Washington for a doctorate in U.S. Western History. Her dissertation on Native American pastors (Creating Christian Indians: Native Clergy in the Presbyterian Church, University of Oklahoma Press, 2003) led to her call to UDTS with its commitment to preparing Native ministers.

Following an influx of Muslims into Dubuque in 2010, she became engaged in interfaith conversations with Muslims, Christians and Jews that became the Children of Abraham ( As one of the founding members and now serving on the board, she is involved in monthly conversations, open to the public, on topics common to all three faiths, has been part of a weekly Qur'an study with the local imam for the last seven years, and continues to engage students, neighbors, and friends in building interfaith friendships in their own communities. Believing that the love of God enables love of others and faithful witness to our lives in Christ, Dr. Lewis is an active member and a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and when not engaged in church, school, or with friends, enjoys a good mystery novel.

Beth McCaw - Seminary (2018)


Beth McCaw

Associate Professor of Ministry
DMin, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
AB, Hope College

Phone: 563.589.3390
Office: 208 Severance Hall

"The seminary years are a significant and exciting stretch of the journey for those being equipped for ministry; they are also a time packed full with study, ministry, work, family. While there are many calls that seminarians answer, none supersedes the principal call to love, to glorify, to worship the Lord - all should nurture this devotion. It is a gift to find the seminary community one which fosters and expresses a holistic love for the Lord with heart and mind and soul and strength. It is also a gift to find the seminary community one which understands itself to be the body of Christ and seeks to love neighbor as self."

Beth McCaw is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She served as associate pastor of care and outreach in a church in Florida before coming to Dubuque. Her sense of privilege in shepherding those called to church ministry grew while serving on and moderating Florida Presbytery Committee on Preparation for Ministry.

"I am excited for those under care; I can imagine no more meaningful vocation than the one to which they are called." Beth has also served with her husband Scott as a missionary in church planting in Namibia, Africa, and as a crisis counselor with Northeastern Family Institute in Massachusetts.

Matthew Schlimm - Seminary (2018)


Matthew Schlimm

Professor of Old Testament
PhD, Duke University
MDiv, Duke University
BA, Asbury College

Phone: 563.589.3101
Office: 210 Severance Hall

"I am continually amazed by the Bible's capacity to capture our imaginations and cause us to think in fresh ways about God, ourselves, and our world. Scripture may be thousands of years old, but it continues to surprise, inspire, disturb, astonish, and ultimately transform us."

Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Matthew R. Schlimm is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. He has served churches in Michigan, Minnesota, and North Carolina. He completed his PhD in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament at Duke University. His research interests focus on biblical theology and biblical ethics. He is the author of three books: (1) From Fratricide to Forgiveness: The Language and Ethics of Anger in Genesis, (2) This Strange and Sacred Scripture: Wrestling with the Old Testament and Its Oddities, and (3) 70 Hebrew Words Every Christian Should Know. Schlimm has also served as one of the editors for the CEB Study Bible and published in a variety of journals.



Amanda Beverly

Adjunct Instructor of Theology




Zachary Bloom

Adjunct Instructor of Theology / Graduate Assistant




Gary Eller

Adjunct Instructor of Theology




Logan Ellis

Adjunct Instructor of Theology / Graduate Assistant




May Persaud

Adjunct Instructor of Theology




Dan Rusmisel

Adjunct Instructor of Theology




Loren Shellabarger

Adjunct Instructor of Theology


Careers in Theology

The Theology Program prepares students for Christian life and leadership in today’s world. The major gives students a foundational understanding of the Bible, Christian theology, and Christian leadership. Students must participate in an internship with a church or agency. Students can work with their advisor to shape their program to focus on youth ministry, worship leadership, or another area of Christian service and leadership. Graduates of the program obtain the necessary skills and knowledge for leadership in their communities and congregations. Pursuing Theology as a minor or second major is an excellent way for Christian students to prepare for Christian leadership or build a strong foundation for a career in another field.

BA Opportunities

A degree in Theology prepares students for non-ordained leadership positions in youth ministry, Christian education, worship leadership, and other forms of Christian leadership. Many entry-level positions in businesses and non-profit agencies require a bachelor’s degree, but do not require a particular major. Christian students who major in Theology can grow in their Christian understanding while preparing for a variety of career opportunities. Combined with a second major in another field, Theology prepares students for Christian leadership in business, arts, education, and a variety of fields.

Post-graduate Opportunities

Theology is an excellent preparation for graduate theological education leading to ordained ministry. Graduates pursuing ordination often go on to attend seminary at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary or one of many other theological schools around the country. Students who major in Theology may pursue graduate work in law, business, or communication. The University offers an accelerated degree program for students pursuing both a college and a seminary degree. Students can earn a bachelor’s degree and either a Master of Divinity degree or a Master of Arts in Mission and Discipleship degree. University of Dubuque Theology graduates will be well-prepared to earn the PhD in some area of religious studies in order to teach at the college level.

Successful Outcomes

Bill Longmore BA, 2012 Christian Studies

I am a pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Galena, IL.  I take great pride in saying I graduated from the University of Dubuque with a major in religion, and am excited that my sister is getting ready to graduate from UD as well! At UD I was taught by amazing professors.  They showed me love and provided great academic preparation for my career.  Before going to UD, I had served in Iraq and was struggling with drug addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder. Thanks to the support I received at UD and from many others, my family is back on the path to what the Lord has in store for us!