New Visions in Theological Anthropology – Course Syllabi Grants (University of St Andrews)


New Visions in Theological Anthropology: Engaging with the Behavioral Sciences is a project designed to get theologians thinking carefully about theological anthropology on those questions that involve evolutionary biology, developmental psychology, and cognitive science. This project is intended as an exercise in science-engaged theology. By this, we see science as an authentic theological source alongside – not in competition with – scripture, tradition, and reason.

We don’t think that all theology needs to be science-engaged, nor do we think that theological anthropology needs science more than any other area. But we must begin somewhere. Therefore, within the overarching umbrellas of behavioral science and theological anthropology, we will focus on three subdisciplinary pairings:

  1. Moral Theology & Evolutionary Biology
  2. Spiritual Formation & Developmental Psychology
  3. Ecclesiology & Cognitive Science

Course Development Grants

Our project seeks to encourage research and teaching on science and theology/religion. We have found getting students thinking about the relationship between theology and empirical research is a good way to introduce new students to the field, as well as a good way to get advanced students performing at the highest level. During the St Andrews-based pilot programme, one course we developed turned out to be the largest in our department. Another, aimed for upper-division seminar discussions, was team taught by an expert in science and religion together with a professor in Hebrew Bible; they found it the perfect context for research-led teaching. Since developing any new course will take time away from other research, we have launched this series of Course Development Grants.

What we provide

  • Stipend of £1,200
  • Eligibility for a travel bursary (£500) to share findings at next AAR annual meeting

Your new course

  • Develop a new course which uses empirical research in some aspect of theology/religion.
  • While we are especially drawn to the pairings of (1) Moral Theology & Evolutionary Biology, (2) Spiritual Formation & Developmental Psychology, and (3) Ecclesiology & Cognitive Science, we welcome proposals for any syllabus that engages theology with behavioral science.
  • Courses can be for lower-division undergraduates, upper-division undergraduates, or for Master’s degrees.
  • Courses could be open to any major or limited to theology/religion, provided that it is at least cross-listed in your theology/religion department.

Selection criteria & eligibility

  • Overall fit with project vision (our project is somewhat different than the discipline of ‘Science & Religion’; see What is Science-Engaged Theology?).
  • Clear choice of relevant scientific and theological subdisciplines/topics.
  • Course plan reflects innovative ideas within best pedagogical practice and the scholarship of teaching and learning.
  • Because bias gets in the way of good science (and theology), we seek a diverse set of topics and participants. Therefore, we are especially eager to facilitate participation by women and courses that study women’s contributions to science and theology.
  • Open to scholars with a PhD who are currently teaching in any college or university department of theology, divinity, or religious studies.

How to apply

Submit the following items to

  • Short description of the proposed module/class (400 words). Be sure to make your adherence to our project guidelines clear, in particular: (1) stating the subdisciplines you plan to use, both from theology and the relevant science, (2) why this course is important, and (3) a bit about the intended audience.
  • Applicant CV.
  • Letter of support from your department chair or dean, confirming the likelihood of the course being taught within approximately 2-3 semesters after development.
  • If you are selected, you will provide:
    1. Course syllabus/handbook, including assignments you set, readings, etc.
    2. If and when the new course has been taught, student feedback and your own feedback from a teachers’ perspective.


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