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.


Theology certificate student Victor Jaimes

“My educational journey has taken from a Carmelite high school, to a Lasallian college, then a year of service with the Jesuits, and now I am at Villanova with the Augustinians. I chose to pursue a Certificate in Pastoral Ministry because I want to explore ways in which pastoral relationships develop in academic environments. The classes here at Villanova have been very transformative for me in that they continue to challenge me to contemplate my past service experiences in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and as an undergraduate student. I would like to work in a university setting, most likely in a community engagement/service department or university campus ministry.”



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
  • Free Elective Credits: 15
  • Credit Limits/Area: ≤ 9
  • 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
  • Free Elective Credits: 15
  • Credit Limits/Area: ≤ 9
  • Extra-Departmental Credits: ≤ 6*
  • GPA: 3.0

*Choose two courses (6 credit hours) in one or two fields of inquiry offered by VU graduate programs (for example, in the Humanities or the Social Sciences) and approved by our Graduate Program Director.

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
  • Ministry Seminars Credits: 6
  • Religious/Theological Education Credits: 6
  • Christian Spirituality Credits: 3
  • Interfaith/Intercultural Studies Credits: 3
  • Supervised Field Education or Internship Credits: 6*
  • GPA: 3.0

* Supervised Ministerial Field Education in a setting approved by the Campus Ministry Graduate Internship Program Director. Field education normally spans four semesters. You are responsible for obtaining your placement and must complete a Field Education Contract. Villanova offers unique, but limited opportunities for completing the practicum in Campus Ministry.

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.

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 certificate program ($899) consists of 12 fully online web seminars designed to allow busy pastors, priests, staff, business managers, church administrators and leadership 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.

Lilly 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 for part-time or full-time eligible students enrolled in any of the master's, certificate or doctoral programs and alumni of these programs through the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova.

Program launch dates occur in January and September each year. Deadlines for enrollment are as follows: September 1, 2021 (for September 8 class start) and January 6, 2022 (for January 12 class start).  

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).

View the courses to take during each semester of your program study.

Theological Studies 
Interdisciplinary Theological Inquiry 
​​​​Pastoral Ministry


Ready for the Next Step?

Jonathan Yates, PhD
Director of Admissions, PhD Program

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

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



January 11: 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 Dr. Jennifer Jackson to discuss your options.

Begin Your Application.


CLAS summer research fellowship recipients

2021 Summer Research Fellowship Recipients

Two doctoral students, Nathaniel Grimes and Ailie Posillico, are the recipients of a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Summer Research Fellowship for 2021. Nathaniel will look at how cultural imagination about policing is formed through theological writing and Ailie's work will demonstrate how Christian literature functions as an alternative space in which to enact otherwise demonized expressions of desire.