Explore the Meaning of Faith!

Religious Studies explores the “big questions” at the heart of our existence, theological questions that lead to reflection upon the divine revelation to humankind, that opens the door to a deeper relationship with God. Reflecting Madonna’s identity as a Catholic University in the Franciscan tradition, the Religious Studies program fosters an understanding of the religious and moral dimensions of human experience by examining religious sources, traditions, beliefs and practices, with an emphasis on the revelation of the Word of God through Sacred Scripture and the Catholic tradition.

Special attention is given to Franciscan, Christian-humanistic values, with an awareness of other faith traditions and a concern for social justice, in preparation for teaching, pastoral ministry, and graduate studies. Students may pursue either a major or a minor in this field, and may find it valuable to combine this with another major. Students will have an interview with the department chair before entering the program.

Degrees Offered


Student Success

Natalia Cappella Headshot

Natalia Cappella

"I am very grateful for my time at Madonna University. By majoring in Religious Studies, I was blessed with the opportunity to learn about the Catholic faith from intelligent and talented faculty. As a graduate student pursuing my masters degree in theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, I have found that my undergraduate studies provided me with a strong foundation to support further scholarship and academic inquiry. My theology classes at Madonna encouraged me to explore the richness of the Christian tradition, while also motivating me to seek and live a life of intimacy with Jesus." 

Student Success

Michael Tibbits Headshot

Michael C. Tibbits

Since graduating from Madonna in 2016, Michael has been enrolled at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, from which he will graduate in May 2019. "After graduation I plan on entering the Marine Corps and working as a Staff Judge Advocate officer. The courses I took at Madonna have prepared me for the abstract thinking that is required in law school. The type of readings I engaged in made the transition to law school reading much easier. And the type of philosophical and logical thinking required mirrors the philosophical and logical analysis needed to be successful in law school. Law school professors love to talk about how law school teaches you how to think. I believe that the Religious Studies program began ‘teaching me how to think’ before entering law school. The program in its entirety has helped me immensely throughout my law school career.”


Pastoral Ministry

Pastoral Ministry assists you in exploring how you can make a difference while living out your commitment to your faith. Studies in this field can help prepare you for service in parishes or church communities, or in children's, youth, young adult, or other forms of ministry. 

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Philosophy uses the gift of human reason to explore the “big questions” about the nature of reality and the human person, and human meaning, purpose, and values.  Philosophy at Madonna examines these questions from diverse perspectives, encouraging critical thinking, while giving particular attention to the Catholic philosophical tradition. 

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Faculty Bios

Jane E. LinahanAssociate Professor and Chair

Ph.D., Marquette University

M.A., University of Detroit

M.A., University of Pittsburgh

B.F.A., University of Detroit



Jane E. Linahan

Dr. Linahan joined the Madonna family in 2013 and serves as the Chair of the Religious Studies and Philosophy Department. Prior to coming to Madonna, she was a visiting associate professor at Saint Bonaventure University in Western New York for five years. For seven years prior to that, she was a member of the faculty of St. Francis de Sales Seminary in Milwaukee, where she served as the Interim Academic Dean for one year. She completed her Ph.D. in Religious Studies at Marquette University, with a concentration in Systematic Theology and secondary emphases in Biblical and Historical Theology.

Her theological interests are in the areas of Christology, Trinitarian theology, theology of the Holy Spirit, Christian Anthropology, Creation, early Franciscan theology (particularly Bonaventure), and questions regarding the relation of God to the created order. Her doctoral dissertation dealt with several of these areas through the lens of a theology of kenosis (the divine self-emptying), which she has continued to explore in subsequent articles. She is active in the College Theology Society, currently serving on its Awards Committee after having served for four years as convener/co-convener of its Systematic Theologies section.

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Robert MicallefAssistant Professor

M.A., California State University Dominquez Hills

B.A., Madonna University


734-432-5759, 2408

Robert Micallef

Prof. Robert Micallef is an instructor in the RST and Philosophy department. He completed his MA at California State University in 1995. He joined the full-time faculty of Madonna University in 1996. He teaches in the area of ethics and he is the lead instructor in several professional ethics courses. His interests include the impact of climate change on politics, the ethical impact of breakthroughs in biogenetics, neo-apartheid social division, migration, stateless human populations, the resurgence of contemporary fascism, natural rights theory, alternative political theory, continental philosophy, critical theory, film as moral philosophy, the contemporary novel, world literature, and science fiction as philosophy.

Robert is actively engaged in the philosophy community through active membership in various organizations and study groups, where he edits and reviews research for various publishers and journals. He is currently part of a group organizing faculty research colloquiums and ‘philosophy on tap’ as a way to resurrect Public Philosophy. He is active in a community outreach program where he lectures on philosophical topics to senior citizens. His research is focused on the area of ideology, psychological denial and how they distort our perceptual models of reality and compromise ethical judgment.

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Monica M. MillerAssociate Professor

Ph.D., Marquette University

M.A., Loyola University

B.S., Southern Illinois University


734-432-5812, 1308

Monica M. Miller

Dr. Monica Migliorino Miller is an Associate Professor of religious Studies, a full-time member of the Madonna Religious Studies Department since 2004. Her specialty is Systematic Theology and Catholic Moral Theology.

Dr. Miller is a nationally recognized theologian, with 4 published books, including "Sexuality and Authority in the Catholic Church". Her interests include Sacraments and Liturgy, Ecclesiology, Christology, Christian Spirituality, Moral Theology, and Church History.

Dr. Miller is also the director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society. She has taught Theology since 1986 at various Catholic institutions of higher education. Dr. Miller is married to Edmund Miller, and has three college-aged adult children.

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Rev. Charles M. MorrisAssistant Professor

M.U.P., Wayne State University

M.Div., St. John Provincial Seminary

M.A., University of Michigan

B.A., Oakland University


734-432-5562, 2416

Rev. Charles M. Morris

Rev. Morris has been a full time faculty member of Madonna University in the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy since 2013. Prior to his full time status Rev. Morris served as adjunct faculty at Madonna from 2010 to 2012. Rev. Morris is a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit and came to Madonna from St. Christopher Parish, his most recent full-time parish assignment.

Rev. Morris' research interests include: environmental justice, sustainability education and comparative healing modalities. Rev. Morris' awards include: Michigan Green Leader, Green Burial Council Leadership Award and the 2006 Rolling Stone Magazine Honor Roll.

Rev. Morris has taught over 16 different courses at Madonna. Among his favorite courses are: sustainability, environmental ethics, Western Religion and Sacraments.

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