Pre-Master's Certificates in Theology

Flexible gateways to diverse professional and personal opportunities. Catholic Christian theological studies for students with a Bachelor's degree and traditional or non-traditional academic and professional expertise.

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Requirements

Please check the Program Requirements Checklist page for a first glance at specific requirements and options.

Specifically, choose 6 courses (3 credit hours each) on the basis of your interests and professional objectives, but no more than 3 courses in one departmental area.

The Foundation Course (THL 8000) is required of all students in the program who do not provide evidence of previous graduate course work in Theology.

Study Full-time or Part-time

You may enroll as a full-time student and complete the program in one year. If you plan to study part-time you may enroll in as little as 1 course per semester and take up to 3 years to complete all requirements. To permit part-time students to work during the day, most courses meet in the evening.

Other Requirements

You are also required to attend a Research Proseminar in the fall semester of your first year of studies.

Certificate Curricula

We recommend the following Certificate curricula.

Any combination of two departmental disciplines:

In addition to the Foundation Course (THL 8000), we recommend

  • 2 or 3 courses (3 credit hours each) in the 1st discipline; and
  • 2 or 3 courses (3 credit hours each) in the 2nd discipline.

Any combination of three departmental disciplines:

In addition to the Foundation Course (THL 8000), we recommend

  • 2 or 3 courses (3 credit hours each) in the 1st discipline;
  • 2 courses (3 credit hours each) in the 2nd discipline; and
  • 1 or 2 courses (3 credit hours each) in the 3rd discipline.

Any combination of four departmental disciplines:

In addition to the Foundation Course (THL 8000), we recommend

  • 1 or 2 courses (3 credit hours each) in the 1st discipline;
  • 1 or 2 courses (3 credit hours each) in the 2nd discipline;
  • 1 or 2 courses (3 credit hours each) in the 3rd discipline;
  • 1 or 2 courses (3 credit hours each) in the 4th discipline.

Requirements

Please check the Program Requirements Checklist page for a first glance at specific requirements and options.

Specifically, choose 6 courses (3 credit hours each) on the basis of your interests and professional objectives, but no more than 3 courses in one departmental area.

The Foundation Course (THL 8000) is required of all students in the program who do not provide evidence of previous graduate course work in Theology.

Study Full-time or Part-time

You may enroll as a full-time student and complete the program in one year. If you plan to study part-time you may enroll in as little as 1 course per semester and take up to 3 years to complete all requirements. To permit part-time students to work during the day, most courses meet in the evening.

Other Requirements

You are also required to attend a Research Proseminar in the fall semester of your first year of studies.

Certificate Curricula

We recommend the following Certificate curricula:

  • 4 courses (3 credit hours each) in Theology (offered by the Department of Theology and Religious Studies); and
  • 2 courses (3 credit hours each) in one or two other fields of inquiry (offered by VU graduate programs, for example, in the Humanities or Social Sciences and approved by our Graduate Program Director).

With approval of our Director of Graduate Programming, students enrolled in a graduate program at Villanova (other than the M.A. in Theology program) may count 2 courses taken in their primary graduate program toward the Certificate.

In principle, the Director only approves courses that facilitate interdisciplinary theological inquiry.

1  Review Program Information

Please look around our web-site to find out as much as possible about us and our students, our programs, and Villanova's and our department's services for all her students. It is important to us that you consider Villanova a good fit for your academic journey. Feel free to contact us and request additional information about our master's program.

Of course, we heartily invite you to contact our program director for program specific information or members of our Graduate Theology Student Committee. And you are most welcome to visit us in person if you live nearby or plan on stopping by in Philadelphia. If you cannot visit in person, you can find detailed information on Villanova's campus and community, as well as the surrounding Philadelphia-area by taking a virtual tour.

2  Review your Academic Qualification

All applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an institution accredited by one of the regional accrediting agencies.

For admission to our pre-master's  Certificates we require that you hold a Bachelor’s degree in Education, the Humanities, the Social Sciences, or the Sciences from an accredited college or university with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. In addition, you need to demonstrate

  1. Evidence of previous undergraduate or graduate course work in Theology or Religion (18 credit hours); or
  2. Evidence of 5 years working experience in the fields of Theology or Religion (e.g., ministry, teaching, administration, education).

If you do not meet these requirements (that is, course work in Theology or Religion or evidence of working experience), you may be accepted into the Certificate program of your choice subject to the approval of our Graduate Program Director. However, you must earn no less than a “B” grade in each of the first 3 courses before continuing with the program.

3  Contact the Director of Graduate Admissions

In our department, the Director of Graduate Admissions guides all applicants through the program admission process. We recommend that you contact the director in person, by email or telephone to discuss your unique situation, qualifications, and goals.

4  Apply for Admission

Please complete the online application before you submit additional application materials. We need a completed application to accurately record and match your supplemental material. Thus, without completed online application we will not be able to keep you informed about the status of your application material.

5  Submit Your Application Material

What's Needed
Online Application yes
Application Fee (non-refundable) $50
Resume optional
Writing Sample optional
Letters of Recommendation 2
Interview no
Transcripts yes
GRE (or equivalent) no
Statement of Objectives (500-700 words)* yes
Evidence of 5 years working experience in the fields of Theology or Religion (e.g., ministry, teaching, administration, education). if applicable
*Note: Please upload this document in the online application.

We do not require that you submit all application materials together. However, we consider applications only when all materials have been received. The items listed above are all we need to review your application. Please do not send unnecessary supporting documents. If you would like us to know about relevant experience or activities, feel free to include that information in your personal statement.

We review and approve applications on a rolling basis and admit applicants to the fall, spring, or summer semester. To insure a timely review, consider submitting your application well ahead of the posted deadlines.

6  What Happens Next?

Upon receiving all your application material, our Graduate Program Committee submits a recommendation concerning acceptance and matriculation status to the Office of Graduate Studies.

We aim to notify you of our acceptance decision by email and regular mail within one week of receiving your complete application.

7  Enroll in Your Classes

As soon as the Office of Graduate Studies admits you to the program you are free to enroll in your classes.

About Our Certificates

hands wide open

Do you not have a master's degree in theology or religion? Enroll in one of these programs:

Did you  already earn a master's degree in Theology or Religion? Enroll in of the these programs:

  • Pastoral Ministry
  • Advanced Theological Studies
  • Advanced Interdisciplinary Theological Inquiry