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COLLIS Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture at Cornell University, the In Lumine Network, and the Lumen Christi Institute partner to organize

"Faith on the Frontiers: Origins, Cosmos, and Extraterrestrial Life" 

a weeklong intensive summer seminar for undergraduates exploring questions at the frontiers of science and theology.


Where do we come from? Are humans a unique form of life? Is there life beyond our planet, and what would that mean for us? In this weeklong intensive seminar at Cornell University, we will explore scientific, philosophical, and theological approaches to these questions in an attempt to forge a holistic perspective in which the three disciplines are treated as distinct but mutually enriching paths to truth. Possible topics to be explored include: the material origins of the cosmos, evolution and the origin of human beings, the structure of the cosmos, and theological implications for the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Outside of the classroom, we will explore the night sky at Cornell’s Fuertes Observatory, chat with Catholic astronaut and scientist, Thomas Jones; tour Cornell Space Sciences Labs; and sing the Office of Compline under the stars.  



  • The seminar will take place at Cornell University, in Ithaca, NY. Admitted students will be required to arrange their own travel to and from the seminar.
  • Admitted students will be granted a stipend of $350 to offset travel costs
  • Lodging and most meals (some on their own) will be provided for the duration of the seminar.
  • Participants will arrive on Sunday, July 7 and depart on Saturday, July 13. The seminar will take place from Monday to Friday, with lecture, discussion, and/or field excursions throughout the day
  • Participants will be required read the assigned materials in preparation for the seminar.
  • In order to receive the $350 stipend, students must participate fully in all seminar activities and complete a survey at the end of the seminar.



  • Open to all undergraduate students, including those who graduate in 2024 and recent graduates.
  • Applicants must submit an online application, including details on their course of study, a statement of interest, and a letter of recommendation.
  • 15 applicants will be admitted to the seminar.

The application deadline is February 25, 2024

Contact us with any questions at

This seminar is made possible through the support of grant #62372 from the John Templeton Foundation, “In Lumine: Promoting the Catholic Intellectual Tradition on Campuses Nationwide.”