Graduate theology students taking notes in class

Our Graduate Certificate Programs offer flexible and versatile opportunities for those who wish to immerse themselves in reflection on different aspects of their faith, and stay current with or explore their interest in contemporary issues in theology, ministry and religion. These non-degree programs offer the potential to transfer among programs and convert to a master’s degree if all requirements are met. Additionally, a unique scholarship opportunity is available to Theology graduate students who wish to earn a non-credit Church Management Certificate.



The Certificate in Theological Studies permits you to tailor courses to your specific needs and professional objectives. The self-designed curriculum provides the education you need to stay current in today's changing world and workplace.

Program Requirements

  • Full-Time: 2 years
  • Part-Time: 3 years
  • Credit Requirements: 15
  • GPA: 3.0

The Certificate in Interdisciplinary Theological Inquiry program welcomes applicants with diverse levels of academic and professional expertise interested in exploring the intersection of theology and other academic disciplines.

Program Requirements

  • Full-Time: 2 years
  • Part-Time: 3 years
  • Credit Requirements: 15
  • GPA: 3.0

The Pastoral Ministry Certificate program combines studies in theology and pastoral ministry with practical training in ministerial contexts.

Program Requirements

  • Full-Time: 2 years
  • Part-Time: ≤ 3 years
  • Credit Requirements: 24
  • Supervised Field Education or CPE units: 6*
  • GPA: 3.0

* Supervised Ministerial Field Education in an approved setting. Field education normally spans four semesters. You are responsible for obtaining your placement and must complete a Field Education Contract. Two units of CPE from an ACPE-accredited hospital program can be transferred in to fulfill the 6 credits of Supervised Field Education (1 unit of CPE=3 credits).

Theology graduate students and alumni have the unique opportunity to apply for the non-credit Church Management Certificate earned from the Villanova School of Business. The program consists of 12 fully online web seminars designed to allow busy students, pastors, priests, staff, business managers, church administrators and leaders of all Christian faith-based ministries to learn from national experts on topics ranging from website design and legal issues to parish security, pastoral planning and leadership development. The time necessary to commit to this program for most students is typically four hours every three weeks.

Scholarships in the amount of $600, made possible through the generosity of the Lilly Endowment's National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges for Pastoral Leaders, are available; this brings the student's cost down to $299. Part-time or full-time students enrolled in any of the Theology master's, certificate, or doctoral programs and alumni of these programs are eligible to apply.

The deadline for enrollment and the scholarship form application is each year in early September. Program launch date occurs in September. 

If you have questions about the logistics of the program, feel free to reach out to Chesley Turner, Director, Center for Church Management. If you have other questions about scholarship information, please reach out to Jennifer Jackson, ThD, Director of Graduate Programs (master's and certificate).

Once enrolled in a certificate program, you have the ability to transfer among theology and religious studies programs at Villanova.

  • Students in a Certificate program may apply for acceptance to a Master's degree program. Acceptance is dependent upon good academic standing in the Certificate program.
  • Students who have completed the requirements for a Certificate program and maintained a 3.0 GPA will, upon request, be accepted into a Master's program. You may transfer all courses taken in fulfillment of the requirements for the Certificate to our Master’s degree programs.
  • Students enrolled in a Master's program who do not wish to complete the degree program but have completed the requirements for a Certificate, will receive that Certificate.
  • Students who fulfill the requirements for two Certificates whose courses equal the required distribution of courses in a Master's degree program, and fulfill the exist requirement, will be awarded the respective Master's degree.
  • Students with Special Student status wishing to continue in a Certificate program must petition the Graduate Program Director for a reevaluation of their status.


Photo of Larry Cozzens

After a career as a full-time faculty member and administrator in the Human Resources Development program, Larry began taking theology courses for his own personal and spiritual growth when he entered partial retirement as an adjunct professor. While also enrolled in an external spiritual direction program, his goal was to become “useful to faith-based and corporate organizations from a perspective that may include spiritual based decisions or change.” He wanted to combine that program and a Certificate in Theological Studies to round out a prospective future role as a spiritual companion to others, perhaps as a retreat leader or a facilitator to help people with discernment through committees or group spiritual direction.

Ready for the Next Step?


graduate students and faculty sitting outside on a stone ledge

Learn more about Villanova's chaplaincy programs and about becoming a certified chaplain.

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