Faith and Critical Reason

July 8-18, 2024 Rose Hill

3 credits

This core course in Fordham's undergraduate curriculum introduces students to basic theological issues and ways that various religious communities and individuals have confronted pressing questions of meaning in human life. 

We analyze texts, critique theories, and write about multiple perspectives of key topics: evidence, truth, falsity, doubt, belief, goodness, evil and love. The course begins by prompting students to articulate criteria for forming one’s rational belief structure (what and why you believe and do not believe); next, it examines classical and contemporary arguments for and against belief in God and seeking faith; last, it equips students with a critical appraisal of today’s young adult consciousness regarding things termed spiritual and religious.

Skills/Learning Outcomes

  • Use foundational vocabulary and conceptual tools of theology to reflect critically on human concerns and experiences. 
  • Recognize diversity of Christian experience, belief, and practice in various historical and cultural manifestations. 
  • Evaluate challenges (philosophical, political, ethical) to religious thought and role of religion in society. 
  • Discuss questions of faith constructively in the context of a religiously plural world. 

Overall Takeaways

Become a more self-aware, reflective young adult who engages theory and practice and becomes better prepared for college academic rigors and assimilation.

Take advantage of unique out-of-the-classroom summer opportunities that introduce students to Fordham and NYC through film, culture, and holistic learning.

"Learn by doing" through a variety of initiatives that hallmark the Jesuit educational approach of intellectual, ethical, and social formation and community service.

Become more a articulate speaker in a variety of settings through class community meals, events, and social enrichment activities.

Instructor Bio

Robert J. Parmach, Ph.D.  

A native of New York, Dr. Parmach graduated from Xavier High School, earned the BA in Philosophy with Classics distinction from Fairfield University where he ran cross-country and track and his MA and Ph.D. from Fordham University. He started his career in student affairs as a counselor and peer educator before becoming academic dean of first-year students at Fordham College at Rose Hill where he served as faculty director of its Manresa Scholars integrated learning community for first year students and coordinator of the sophomore West Wing Ignatian leadership program. Professor Parmach’s teaching and academic scholarship highlight practical applications of philosophy, theology and Jesuit education. He served on the student life committee of Xavier High School and advisory board of Contemplative Leaders in Action of the USA East Province of the Society of Jesus. An experienced public speaker, mentor, and consultor, for twenty-five years now, during the first week in June, Dr. Parmach along with Fordham students and young alumni have served at Camp Friendship, an apostolate for foster children in rural Mississippi, where he links theory and practice.

Course Details

Faith and Critical Reason
July 8-18, 2024, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
3 credits
Rose Hill campus
Instructor: Robert J. Parmach

Course Number: THEO 1000 RP1

CRN: 15001

Please note that this is a college course and that Fordham students may also be enrolled in this class, which will be a great opportunity for you to learn more about life at Fordham. Reading and writing outside of class will be required, and final projects may be due after your time on campus.


Residential: $4,450.00
Tuition for the residential program includes the course, course materials, housing, meals, and excursions in and outside of class. Move-in for this program is Sunday, July 7, 2024 and move-out is Friday, July 19, 2024 by noon.

Commuter: $3,500.00
Tuition for commuters includes the course, course materials, lunches, and excursions in and outside of class. Additional meals are available on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Students may wish to bring funds for incidentals, shopping at the Fordham Bookstore, souvenirs, and any personal items they wish to purchase.


Application deadlines: course and housing: April 15, 2024; course only: May 1, 2024. Please note that admission decisions are rolling until the class is full, and course caps are around 20 students. We recommend early application.

Application Requirements: this credit-bearing course is primarily for rising high school seniors with a G.P.A. of 3.0 or better. Rising juniors may apply with a letter of recommendation in addition to the documents below. 

The course will be graded with letter grades, but you may opt to take the grade for pass/fail or audit by emailing [email protected] after the first class meeting. 

To apply, you will need an analytical (not creative or personal) writing sample from a class, your high school transcript, and your fall report card if the grades are not reflected on your transcript.

If you are applying for housing, a brief letter of recommendation from a guidance counselor, coach, instructor, or supervisor, attesting to your maturity and responsibility as a student is required.

Please make note of the course details above because you will select your course as part of your application.


If you are not ready to apply, you can sign up to stay informed about the Fordham Summer Leaders Academy too, or email us with questions!

It's not too late! Still accepting applications for classes with open seats until May 31!