Science & Religion Seminars

Learn teaching methods that enhance the dialogue between science and religion in Catholic education, challenging the notion that the two disciplines are in conflict.

Science teachers will learn how to engage the Catholic vision of creation and the human person while upholding the integrity and value of independent scientific investigation. Religion teachers will explore how science informs and enhances their appreciation of God's creation and action. Both will receive a deeper understanding of the task of Catholic education to create "a synthesis of culture and faith... reached by integrating all the different aspects of human knowledge... in the light of the Gospel" (Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, "The Catholic School," no. 34).

The Science & Religion Initiative offers summer seminars at the University of Notre Dame campus and Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. During the academic year, the initiative hosts Institute Days at Catholic high schools across the nation to provide excellent in-service programming for teachers and administrators.

In most cases, school participation is by application or invitation only.

Interested in learning more? Sign up to receive information.

I have been waiting for a way to incorporate my Catholic faith into the subject I teach, and this seminar is giving me the tools that I needed to do that.

Therese Wildman, Science teacher

There’s such a spirit of collaboration here that I think is so powerful. Both the materials and the structure of our days has just been above and beyond my expectations. I wish I could bring my entire faculty here

Kasey Aust, Theology teacher

Dates and Location

Foundations Seminars

Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans, LA (June 14-19, 2020)

Foundations New Orleans offers hands-on scientific experiments, lectures, collaborative discussions and implementation workshops, designed for schools with STEM approaches to science education. Participants work in the Gayle and Tom Benson Science & Technology Complex at neighboring St. Mary’s Dominican High School.

University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN (June 21-26, 2020)

Foundations Notre Dame features lectures by scientists, philosophers and theologians, collaborative discussions and implementation workshops. This seminar will be live streamed for participating schools.

Apply for a Foundation Seminar

Capstone Seminar

University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN (June 29 - July 2, 2020)

Capstone is designed as a follow-up to Foundations for teachers and administrators of truly exceptional schools that have either completed our first-year seminar or who have already developed a substantial integration of science and religion. Held on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, Capstone is an intensive 2.5-day seminar, focusing on advanced issues in science and religion with a continued emphasis on curricular development.

Apply for the Capstone Seminar

Program Highlights

Foundations Seminar

Highlights of the Foundations Seminars include:

  • Inspiring talks from leading scientists and theologians
  • Development of lesson plans and teaching materials with curriculum experts
  • Collaboration with seminar faculty on how to develop an elective course in Science & Religion for high school students
  • Housing, meals, course materials, stipend, and up to 100 contact hours of professional development 

Schools are required to apply with a minimum of three teachers - one from each subject area of biology, physics/chemistry, and religion/theology. Schools choosing to send three teachers representing these academic subjects will receive first priority.

Capstone Seminar

Highlights of the Capstone Seminar include:

  • In depth exploration of a topic related to science and religion
  • Advanced lesson planning sessions with peers
  • Colloquia with presenters to continue the dialogue on presentations
  • Breakout sessions specifically for attending principals and administrators to discuss hopes and challenges in their schools
  • Housing, meals, course materials, stipend, and up to 35 contact hours of professional development 

Schools are required to send a school administrator to participate in the Capstone Seminar with their teachers. Administrators may include the principal, president, dean, etc.


For both the Foundations and Capstone Seminars, the McGrath Institute invites the best faculty available in their areas of concentration. Professors from schools like Notre Dame, Harvard and the University of Delaware are regular lecturers in these programs. 

Board and Stipend

Foundations Seminar

Through the generosity of the Templeton Foundation, the Foundations Seminar is free to Catholic high school teachers recommended by their principal.

Over the course of 8 weeks prior to the event, seminar participants are required to read key texts in religion, philosophy and science and will share their insights in an online forum. A stipend (up to $750), lodging and meals will be provided for up to three teachers per school. Larger teams are invited to attend at a cost of $550 per each additional teacher. Additional participants may also join online via live streaming at no additional cost.

Admitted schools are asked for a deposit for materials of $350 per teacher which is fully refundable upon completion of all seminar requirements. Participants will receive a certificate for up to 100 contact hours of professional development from the University of Notre Dame.

Capstone Seminar

In addition to accommodation in air-conditioned dorm rooms (single occupation) and board, participants will receive an honorarium of $200.

We are able to award a stipend of $600 to up to seven schools who demonstrate an extraordinary effort in integrating an active dialogue between science and religion into their school curricula.

Schools may join with more teachers or administrators for a cost of $390 per person, although no additional honoraria can be awarded.

Admission is on a first come first served basis.

Application Details

Foundations Seminar

Teachers from the science and religion disciplines that possess a sincere desire to learn how the disciplines are connected and to share those insights with students in their classes are invited to apply. Priority will be given to schools that apply with a team of at least three teachers from biology/chemistry, physics, and religion.

Apply for a Foundation Seminar

If you have questions or are interested in future seminars, please contact us by phone at (574) 631-1379 or by email. Thank you.

Capstone Seminar

Eligible schools should apply for Capstone with a team of at least two teachers and one administrator. We ask that you contribute $390 per participant for seminar materials, air-conditioned dormitory boarding and meals from Sunday evening to Wednesday lunch. Thanks to the generosity of the John Templeton Foundation, seven school teams will be admitted with all expenses paid except travel (for up to three teachers in your team) and may receive a school stipend of up to $1200 based on the quality of their applications, which should include evidence of significant progress in integrating science and religion in their school curricula.

Apply for the Capstone Seminar

If you are interested in attending Capstone, please complete the application no later than December 2, 2019. For any questions, please send us an email at or call Patricia Bellm (574) 631-1379 or Jay Martin at (574) 631-1378.