Please check the Program Requirements Checklist page for a first glance at specific requirements and options.
Academic Areas and Concentrations
We designed our master's program to be flexible and transparent. It introduces you to the academic study of Biblical Literature; Systematic Theology; Historical Studies, Historical Theology and Augustinian Tradition; Christian Ethics; Spirituality; and Lay Ministry and permits you to develop concentrations in these areas.
Study Full-time and Part-time
You may enroll as a full-time student and complete the program in two years. If you plan to study part-time you may enroll in as little as 1 course per semester and take up to 6 years to complete all degree requirements. To permit part-time students to work during the day, most courses meet in the evening.
It takes 36 credit hours of academic course work to complete the program – a mix of four elective and eight required courses. However, you may choose six of the eight required courses from among many possibilities.
- 1 course (3 credit hours), Foundation in Theology (THL 8000; offered every fall semester)
- 1 course (3 credit hours), Texts in Contexts (THL 8480; offered every spring semester)
- 1 course (3 credit hours) in Systematic Theology
- 2 courses (6 credit hours) in Biblical Studies
- 1 course (3 credit hours) in Historical Theology
- 2 courses (6 credit hours) in Christian Ethics
- 4 courses (12 credit hours) – free electives
Design your Program
You may choose required and elective courses based on your academic and interdisciplinary interests. For example, you may enroll in up to two courses (electives) in other graduate programs at Villanova. Also, you may develop a concentration of 4 courses in up to 2 areas of study, or take 1 course to write a thesis under the direction of a graduate faculty that enhances your academic portfolio when you apply for doctoral studies.
Our master's program requires you to pass a Language Examination that demonstrates reading comprehension in a foreign language. This policy explains specific requirements. In some circumstances, the Language Examination requirement may be waived; please inquire with our graduate program director.
If your are interested in improving language proficiency, there are opportunities to study ancient and modern languages at Villanova. In general, the theology graduate program does not offer language courses, but the Classical Studies Program and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures do.
Please keep in mind that language instruction courses per se do not count toward fulfilling your theology degree requirements. Still, there is one exception. We permit all students to enroll in up to two courses (electives) in other graduate programs at Villanova. Therefore, you may enroll in classical or modern languages courses that also investigate philosophical, theological or anthropological questions, and such courses will count toward fulfilling your degree requirements. Before you make any plans, though, please contact our program director.
In addition, every academic year the Graduate Dean makes limited scholarships available to full-time theology and philosophy graduate students. Again, please contact our program director to inquire about the availability of funding.
You are also required to attend a Research Proseminar in the fall semester of your first year of studies, and pass a Comprehensive Examination.
Transfer of Credits
At the time of program application you may request the transfer of up to 6 credits from another institution.