Why Villanova?

Augustinian Heritage and Catholic Mission

Our rich and profound theological tradition emphasizes the role of learning in its relationship to the discovery of God. Studying theology at Villanova means experiencing this relationship at an Augustinian university, the oldest and largest Roman Catholic university in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Because Catholic universities traditionally endeavor to be a place of the discovery of God through learning and a place where the Church can do its thinking and engage its own traditions, we have developed academic programs that invite our students to

  • contemplate the Augustinian vision that all authentic human wisdom is ultimately in harmony with divine wisdom;
  • do theology as "faith seeking understanding", that is, as a critical reflection upon the life of faith;
  • conduct this reflection by investigating the resources of the Christian theological tradition in light of the questions raised by contemporary culture and the continuing challenges of human life; and
  • respond to Augustine's call to the restless search for wisdom by responding to a relationship offered from beyond the boundaries of human existence.

In keeping with its Augustinian heritage, we endeavor to foster a Christian intellectual and moral environment. Our relationships with faculty and students draw upon the legacy of Saint Augustine whose passionate pursuit of wisdom inspires our own quest for knowledge in open, rational, responsible, and mutually respectful interaction of points of view.

We consider our program a success when our students value the sacredness of all creation, emphasize the moral and intellectual qualities of learning, pursue academic and moral excellence, are committed to the gospel values of service, stewardship for the common good, and the "preferential option for the poor", are wise critics of the society in which they live, and sustain a social consciousness that transcends economic barriers and questions of race, gender, and creed.

Spiritual Growth

We are keenly aware of our students' desire to nourish their spiritual lives and encourage all to integrate their faith into the academic, social, and cultural environment of the university. You will find ample opportunity for spiritual growth and liturgical expression in the Department and on the campus. Reflecting traditions of Roman Catholic and Augustinian spirituality, Campus Ministry engages in every aspect of university life through prayer, liturgy, community service, and pastoral care. The members of our Graduate Theology Student Committee also provide opportunities for spiritual growth.

Convenient Location

Our tranquil and serene campus sits on 254 acres in the heart of the historic Main Line, a beautiful suburb 12 miles west of one of America's great cities, Philadelphia. All the city has to offer -  museums, libraries, architecture, restaurants, concerts, performing arts - is just 12 miles away from Villanova.

Villanova is very fortunate to have two train stations on campus. This makes travel up and down the Main Line and into Philadelphia very accessible for all Villanovans. With ample parking and mass transit stops right on campus (trains run regularly to the center of the city), you can travel easily to and from the campus by car, bus, or train. We are only two minutes from the Blue Route (Route 476), and five minutes from the PA Turnpike, Schuylkill Expressway, and Route 202.

Library Resources

Our Falvey Memorial Library houses more than 800,000 volumes and over 3,000 periodicals. It is located in the middle of the campus and includes many public-use computer stations. You may also access conveniently library resources (Catalog; Interlibrary Loan System; Theological Databases) from your home computer.

Student Resources

Villanova prides herself for providing all students plenty of opportunities to thrive holistically (personally, academically, spiritually, physically, professionally). We have gathered relevant information about student life, health services, personal counseling services, and academic services (writing; study skills; career planning) here.

Outstanding Faculty and Quality of Instruction

For more than a decade, Villanova University has been ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report in the "Best Universities - Master's category" in the northern region. Villanova's national reputation and distinguished graduate faculty dedicated to excellence in teaching and an active scholarly life make our university an ideal place to pursue graduate education. Our students engage theology with a faculty deeply committed to shaping the various theological disciplines by publishing books and articles and presenting cutting edge papers at national and international conferences.

Outstanding and Committed Students

Our programs welcome men and women, ordained and lay, from near and far, from all Christian traditions, of all ages, and with diverse educational and professional backgrounds and equally diverse professional goals. Our students value the academic study of theology and seek to enrich their personal and intellectual life in the midst of likeminded women and men. Some have recently completed an undergraduate or a graduate degree in theological or non-theological fields of inquiry. Others are professionals interested in a career change. Some wish to earn a certificate, others a terminal master's degree. Some pursue further academic work, again others seek a career in secondary school education or ministerial leadership.

As diverse our students’ backgrounds and interests are, all value advancing academic ways of understanding Christian belief and practice; want to refresh your theological knowledge and enrich your personal and intellectual life in the midst of like-minded men and women; seek to reflect critically upon the life of faith and embark on what Augustine calls the restless search for wisdom; and are curious about contemplating questions raised by modern culture and by the continuing challenges of human life in light of the Catholic theological tradition.

While studying at Villanova, our students actively participate in the academic and spiritual live of our campus community. The Graduate Theology Student Committee (GTSC), an initiative of our theology graduate students with a common interest to serve the needs of our fellow graduate students, creates a community outside of the classroom and organizes academic, social, service, and worship opportunities.

Research Funding

We encourage our graduate students to conduct their own research and present their work at scholarly conferences.  Competitive summer research fellowships are available. Students who plan to present their research at professional or scholarly conferences may apply for conference travel funding from the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Placement Record

Our placement record reflects the quality of departmental instruction. In recent years, our graduates have been admitted to highly competitive Ph.D. programs, including Arizona State University, Phoenix; Boston College, Chestnut Hill; Catholic University of America, Washington; Cornell University, Ithaca; Duquesne University, Pittsburgh; Emory University, Atlanta; Fordham University, New York; Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley; Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium; Loyola University, Chicago; Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia; Marquette University, Milwaukee; McMaster University, Canada; Temple University, Philadelphia; Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland; University of Notre Dame, South Bend; University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; University of Toronto, Canada; Villanova University, Villanova.

Small Classes

We design our courses as small seminars, with a maximum enrollment of fifteen students. The small size creates an atmosphere in which students and faculty work and learn together. It also allows everyone to network easily with peers and faculty.

Transparent and Flexible Programs

Our programs have simple, transparent structures that invite each student to design his or her own course of studies. We currently offer courses in six academic areas: Systematic Theology, Biblical Studies, Historical Studies and Historical Theology, Christian Ethics, Spirituality, and Lay Ministry.

It takes twelve courses to complete our master's program, fourteen the combined master's and certificate in pastoral ministry program, and five to six courses one of our certificate programs. Our students are free to choose courses based on their academic and interdisciplinary interests. We accept up to six transfer credits toward our master's program from other graduate institutions.

Also, students may enroll in up to two courses in other graduate programs at Villanova or develop an academic concentration of four courses in up to two areas of study. In addition, we offer the option of writing a thesis under the direction of a graduate faculty member. Graduate theology students may also pursue interdisciplinary interests by taking up to six credits in other graduate programs at Villanova.

Our programs can be combined, for example, the master's program with a certificate program, two certificate programs or another master's program at Villanova. If you plan to study part-time you may enroll in as little as one course per semester. For the convenience of working adults who balance careers and personal lives, we schedule most courses in the late afternoon and evening hours.


Villanova's tuition rates for theology students are affordable and competitively priced. The University supports all our students by offering the lowest tuition rate in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

In addition, we offer several forms of financial assistance: Graduate Assistantships and Tuition Scholarships; Resident Assistantships; Graduate Internships; and a tuition plan for primary- and secondary-school teachers and for Augustinian Volunteers. International students are eligible for these fellowships.

Finally, the Villanova Office of Financial Assistance assist our students with loan application processes.