Graduate Theology at Villanova attracts creative, dedicated and compassionate individuals who care deeply about faith that engages culture through the development of minds and hearts in a diverse, inclusive and life-giving academic community inspired by the fruits of our Augustinian mission and Catholic tradition. 

Whether pursuing one of our three master’s degree programs (MA in Theology, MA in Ministry and Theology, Master of Theological Studies), a dual master’s degree, a joint master’s degree with certificate, or a non-degree graduate certificate, students enrolled in our programs receive personalized support and preparation for their theological and ministerial training in a way that attends to their intellectual and spiritual needs and prepares them to serve those needs well in the church and the world, and among their diverse pathways and vocational commitments. Focused on the study of how faith engages with culture, our unique PhD not only provides theological knowledge but also empowers the application of that knowledge in and for the contemporary world.



Our programs focus on the study of the many ways in which faith engages culture. Because theology is the study of Christianity as lived experience, the program relates faith and culture for our time as Augustine did for his. Analogous to Augustine’s way of doing theology, the program contextualizes the study of Christian faith claims meaningfully within an analysis of contemporary culture. That is, at Villanova, students and faculty "do Catholic theology" in and within the Augustinian tradition.

Enriched by the tradition of St. Augustine, whose theology powerfully related faith, reason and culture, our programs envision “understanding what we believe”[1] (or, as Anselm of Canterbury later reformulates, “faith seeking understanding”) as faith engaging culture. Retrieving the fundamentals of the Augustinian tradition for contemporary theological reflection, the program has a distinct Augustinian identity. 

[1] Augustine, On Free Choice of the Will, bk. 1, §4, trans. Thomas Williams [Indianapolis: Hackett, 1993] p. 7. 

Our programs are built upon the theological and educational vision of the Augustinian tradition that “there is no better way to pursue the truth than by questioning and answering” (Sol. II.7.14). Implementing—in theory and practice—the Augustinian ideal of unity (unitas), truth (veritas), and compassion (caritas), students in our programs pursue knowledge in depth, breadth, and rigor on all program levels

Catholic theological studies in the Augustinian tradition as conceived, studied, and advanced at Villanova are integrative. Our program pursues faith and culture from the entire range of theological perspectives. That is, no single theological discipline studies faith engaging culture in isolation. It is accomplished by placing diverse theological perspectives in dialogue with each other. Our programs’ most important contribution to learning is the integration of knowledge.

Our programs introduce a distinctive way of doing theology. Villanova's programs:

  • are inclusive of all dimensions of faith, worship and human experience, that is, of theory and praxis, social justice and service, ecclesial traditions and cultural pluralism;

  • span ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary thought;

  • are inclusive of all departmental disciplines; and are multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and integrative.

Our programs investigate the plausibility and efficacy of Christian faith from within contemporary western culture, and the needs of the Church by discerning the unity and prophetic mission of the body of Christ amid diverse ecclesial visions. In particular, our programs:

  • understand theology as the academic study of Christianity as lived experience;

  • emphasize the cultural contextualization of “faith seeking understanding”;

  • place the Church in dialogue with culture and culture in dialogue with the Church; and aim at uniting theory with practice, or knowledge with the heart.

Our students value the study and practice of theology and ministry and seek to enrich their personal, professional and intellectual lives 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.

Our graduates are admitted to leading doctoral programs in the U.S. and in Europe, 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

Our employment record reflects the quality of our students and faculty. Our graduates hold careers as:

  • Adjunct College-Level Instructors
  • Admissions Recruiters
  • Administrative Assistants
  • Assistant Professors
  • Campus Ministers
  • Chaplains
  • Consultants
  • Coordinators of Residence Life
  • Digital Content Producers
  • Directors of Catholic Student Leadership and Formation
  • Directors of Music
  • Directors of Religious Education
  • Directors of Volunteer and Vocation Ministry
  • Lawyers
  • Parish Catechetical Leaders
  • Pastoral Associates
  • Pastoral Ministers
  • Psychotherapists
  • Primary/Secondary School Teachers
  • Research Assistants
  • RN Nursing Instructor
  • Youth Directors


Text at top reads: MMT in Chaplaincy Education, photo is of St. Thomas of Villanova Church

New Chaplaincy Education Program Launched

Learn more about our new Chaplaincy Education track in our Master of Arts in Ministry and Theology program. Applications are now being accepted!



Learn more about our Master's and PhD programs from our distinguished faculty and program directors.

Theology Master’s Program
Theology PhD Program

Jennifer Jackson, ThD
Director of Master's and Certificate Programs

Stefanie Knauss, PhD
Co-Director, Ph.D. Program - Programming & Advising

Jonathan Yates, PhD
Director of Admissions, Ph.D. Program 

Department of Theology and Religious Studies
Villanova University
800 E. Lancaster Ave.
St. Augustine Center Room 203
Villanova, PA 19085



January 8: For admission to the PhD program with or without assistantship

February 1: For admission to master's programs with funding consideration

August 1: For admission to master's or certificate programs without funding for the fall

December 1: For admission to master's or certificate programs without funding for the spring

If you have missed a master's or certificate program deadline, please contact the program coordinator to discuss your options.

Begin your application.


Elisha Chi, doctoral candidate, was named the recipient of an Honorary Dissertation Fellowship, Louisville Institute, August 2023. Chi was also awarded a 2023 Villanova Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowship.

Perdian Tumanan, doctoral student, was selected as one of the Roothbert Fund Fellows for the 2023-2024 academic year.

headshot of Elisha Chi
Elisha Chi
headshot of Perdian Tumanan
Perdian Tumanan