The Benefits of Studying at 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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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 own IT device.

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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

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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. 

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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 .

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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: Biblical Studies, Doctrinal and Fundamental Theology, Historical and Augustinian Studies, Historical Theology, Christian Ethics, Christian Spirituality, and Lay Ministry.

Our students 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. 

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Affordability

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. 

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Kaley Hawk

My journey to Villanova started several years ago when I first applied for the MA in history program.  I decided to travel abroad to France and Madagascar with Youth with a Mission (YWAM) at that time instead, and then spent the subsequent two years teaching history at a small, private Christian school.  I had attended Whitworth University in Spokane, WA for my BA in history and was always interested in graduate school, but wasn’t sure when or where.  Even though Villanova is far from my home in Washington State, in just one year of study with the Theology Department, it has grown close to my heart.  Moving so far from home to study theology at a Catholic school, this “history-trained” Protestant was a bit nervous, but the wonderful people I have met at Villanova since I have been here have validated my decision to attend this university. The administration in my department, the professors, and my fellow students have made me feel very much at home as I have transitioned to a new discipline of study, as well as transitioning from taking charge as teacher to a humble existence as a student.  I recently decided to combine my MA in theology with an MA in history from Villanova, taking advantage of Villanova’s dual degree program.  My department chair in theology and the history department administration have been extremely encouraging and flexible in helping me arrange my schedule so the program will fulfill my academic goals.  I cannot speak highly enough of my experience here at Villanova, and I am grateful for my remaining two years of study in theology and history.

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Benjamin Winter

Villanova’s Theology MA program has afforded me numerous opportunities for learning, networking, and career advancement. I came to the program in May 2012, and was welcomed by teachers, staff, and students. It’s hard to believe that my second and final year is already fast-approaching! Some of the activities I’ve enjoyed so far include volunteering at the Augustinian StudiesJournal, serving as professional chair for the Graduate Theology Student Council (GTSC), and attending various academic conferences and lectures. I also work as a graduate assistant to Fr. Francis Caponi, and under Dr. Tony Godzieba at Horizons: Journal of the College Theology Society. The community of graduate students here is very close, and we participate in activities that range from service projects to intramural basketball! Overall, I am extremely grateful for the time spent at Villanova, and would recommend this program to anyone seeking to engage with both tradition and the present moment in an environment marked by the Augustinian virtues of love, unity, and truth. 

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Sr. Jacinta Kioko

I am from Kenya, East Africa. I belong to the congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood, an international Congregation involved in different kinds of apostolates. Before I came to the United States, I was missioned in Tanzania where I did pastoral ministry for three years. I came to the United States in August 2007, after receiving a three years full scholarship to Assumption College for Sisters in Mendham, New Jersey; this college is run by the Sisters of Christian Charity.  I graduated from Assumption College for Sisters in May 2010, with an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts. In the Fall of 2010, I went to Georgian Court University in Lakewood, New Jersey, where I was awarded a full scholarship for my undergraduate studies. I graduated from Georgian Court in May 2012 with a B.A in Religious Studies and Sociology. Currently, I am a graduate student in the Master’s program of Theology at Villanova University. This is my first year in the program, and I am enjoying the courses I am taking. I am studying under the Villanova University President’s scholarship. I thank God for this opportunity, and I hope that during my time of study, I will be equipped with different skills so that I may be more competent than I was before in my service to God’s people. After my studies I will go back to Kenya and share what I have learned with the people of Kenya, or anywhere else where I will be sent. I am very proud to be a student at Villanova. God bless and reward all those who have been so generous to me.

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Sr. Lilia Kagendo

I belong to the community of the Little Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi from Kenya. In May 2012, I Graduated from Marywood University with a Master of Science in Business Administration and Management.   The Marywood University program enabled me to acquire an open mind, sharp insights and rich practical experiences.

In the summer 2012, I joined the Graduate School of Business majoring in Church Management at Villanova University. Given the confluence of my educational background and my personal interest as a woman religious, I have set my own goal of attaining the Master of Science in Church Management.  This second Master degree will help me develop knowledge on what makes Church management successful while learning the necessary skills relating to the confluence of business management and Church management.

Villanova University provides the ideal Church Management courses preparing me for entering the Church Management in my own country.  Villanova University will provide me with the foundation to fully realize my educational and career goals.  I have confidence that the necessary combination of self-motivation, background, personality and academic knowledge to succeed in a Church Management program will help me excel and be a leader by communicating effectively and leading people successfully.  I intend to graduate in May 2013. Villanova is among the top leading colleges and is a place to grow professionally and personally particularly in the area of church Managment.