Master's Programs in Theology

Graduate students and faculty in theology seminar

Studying theology and ministry within the Augustinian tradition is a crucial component of inquiry at Villanova University.

The Augustinian tradition draws upon the legacy of St. Augustine’s passionate pursuit of truth, an intentional endeavor that summons the union of mind and heart, correlates faith with reason, builds unity in the midst of diversity, and proceeds in the conviction that all authentic human wisdom is ultimately in harmony with divine wisdom. Christian theology and ministry in the Augustinian tradition are living, enduring ways of understanding and of practice that continue to be refined, developed and extended as they engage the contemporary world.

 

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT - REBECCA NORTHINGTON

Theology Master's student Rebecca Northington

“I come from the Anglican tradition with a secular educational background. In my mid 40s, and amid my roles as a teacher, coach and parent, I found myself discerning a call to pursue a degree in theology and ministry. The Villanova community was open and welcoming - a community of learners who clearly want to make this world a better place through ministry, education and compassion. My professors have been dedicated, passionate leaders, and the courses I have taken have had a direct impact on how I prepare for my time with high school students and how I respond to each individual, whether they be in crisis, or just in need of attention and support. I am grateful to have the opportunity to learn more about the Augustinian tradition. Villanova does a wonderful job of engaging the greater community, as well as creating a community on campus that is supportive and empowering.” 

    

MASTER'S DEGREE PROGRAMS

The Master of Arts in Theology (MAT) offers a foundational and comprehensive theological experience that attracts many types of students, including those seeking an integrated introduction to graduate theology, opportunities to enhance their ministry or vocational pathway, preparation for further graduate work or teaching in secondary education. For current Villanova undergraduates, this degree may be earned jointly, after the completion of a Bachelor’s of Arts with a major in Theology and Religious Studies, in five years total.
 

Program Requirements

  • Full-Time: 2 years
  • Part-Time: 6 years
  • Credit Requirements: 30
  • Foundation Credits: 15*
  • Free Elective Credits: 15
  • Credit Limits/Area: ≤ 12
  • Extra-Departmental Credits: ≤ 6
  • Credit Transfer: ≤ 6
  • Concentration (Credits/Area): 12
  • Portfolio: Yes
  • GPA: 3.0

* Foundation credits are prerequisite for electives.


Concentrations

If you wish to specialize your studies you may choose a concentration, which will be noted on your transcript. Concentrations permit you to focus your studies, individualize your degree program, and tailor it to suit your academic, professional, and personal goals and objectives.

A concentration consists of four courses (12 credits) in any one area. We offer concentrations in these areas:

  • Biblical Literature
  • Historical Theology
  • Fundamental and Systematic Theology
  • Christian Spirituality
  • Christian Ethics
  • Lay Ministry
  • Religious/Theological Education


Program Learning Goals

Goal 1: Analyze Faith/Culture Relationship(s)

  • Objective A: Identify faith/culture relationship(s), with attention to the experiences of diversity/inclusion, power, privilege, and marginalization.
  • Objective B: Use scholarly methods to interpret diverse religious/theological texts and related media.

Goal 2: Evaluate the Christian Theological Tradition

  • Objective A: Appraise the vocabulary, sources, beliefs, historical developments & diversity within the Christian tradition, with attention to experiences of power, privilege, and marginalization.
  • Objective B: Assess the reciprocal interaction of practices and beliefs arising from the Catholic and Augustinian traditions with diverse cultural, ecumenical/interfaith, and/or local/global contexts.

Goal 3: Apply Knowledge

  • Objective: Communicate effectively the relevance of theological/religious practices, concepts, and beliefs for personal, communal, societal and global living, in service of transformative action.

Our Master of Arts in Ministry and Theology (MMT) program prepares individuals for transformative leadership in areas that include: lay ministry, education, counseling, non-profit management and social work.

Program Requirements

  • Full-Time: 2 years
  • Part-Time: 6 years
  • Credit Requirements: 48
  • Foundation Credits: 9*
  • Elective Credits: 12
  • Ministry Seminars Credits (Skills, Contextual, Lay, Intercultural): 6
  • Sacramental Theology & Post Vatican II Church/Ministry Credits: 6
  • Contemplative Practices: 3
  • Religious/Theological Education: 3
  • Interfaith/Intercultural Studies Credits: 3
  • Extra-Departmental Credits: ≤ 3
  • Credit Transfer: ≤ 9
  • Field Practicum: 6
  • Portfolio: Yes
  • GPA: 3.0

* Foundation credits are prerequisite for electives.

Field Practicum
The practicum portion of the program can be pursued along two possible tracks. Both program tracks include a supervised Ministerial Field Practicum.

Residential Practicum
The practicum requires students to be accepted into the Graduate Campus Ministry Internship Program (CMI) and involves on-campus residential ministry.

Non-Residential Practicum
Students receive a supervised non-residential ministerial placement within Campus Ministry or at another ministry site outside of Villanova University.

  • The field placement supervisors in the Center for Pastoral Ministry Education (CPME) will assist students in establishing their practicum placements.
  • If a student is already engaged in professional ministry (full-time or part-time), CPME may allow that ministry to serve as the student's practicum placement. CPME will work with the ministry student and ministry site to develop an agreement concerning the student's responsibilities and learning objectives.
  • Contact the Center for Pastoral Ministry Education (CPME) for more information.


Program Learning Goals


Goal 1: Analyze Faith/Culture Relationship(s)

  • Objective A: Identify faith/ministry/culture relationship(s), with attention to the experiences of diversity/inclusion, power, privilege and marginalization.
  • Objective B: Use scholarly methods to interpret religious/theological/ministerial experiences, texts and related media.

Goal 2: Evaluate the Christian Theological Tradition

  • Objective A: Appraise the vocabulary, sources, beliefs, historical developments and diversity within the Christian tradition, with attention to experiences of power, privilege and marginalization.
  • Objective B: Assess the reciprocal interaction of practices and beliefs arising from the Catholic and Augustinian traditions with diverse cultural, ministerial, ecumenical/interfaith and/or local/global contexts.


Goal 3: Apply Knowledge

Objective:
Communicate effectively the relevance of theological/religious and ministerial practices, concepts and beliefs for personal, communal, societal and global living, in service of transformative action.

Goal 4: Serve in Ministry

  • Objective A: Articulate a theory of ministry informed by the concepts of universal call to holiness and of baptismal vocation that fosters unity in diversity in faith communities.
  • Objective B: Demonstrate capacity for ministerial leadership with professional, spiritual, intellectual and moral integrity.

Goal 5: Grow as Minister

  • Objective A: Conceptualize principles of discernment and demonstrate effective practices of accompanying others in their life and faith journeys – across ethnicities, races, genders, sexual orientations and physical abilities.
  • Objective B: Develop practices of lifelong personal spiritual growth and growth of the self – aware of, and responsive to, diverse cultural contexts, expressions and experiences.

The Master of Theological Studies (MTS) is a comprehensive terminal degree attractive to students who seek advanced training in preparation for doctoral studies, teaching or ministerial work. We offer two tracks: one in Theological Education with a focus on secondary school teaching, and the other in Research

Program Requirements

  • Full-Time: 2 years
  • Part-Time: 6 years
  • Credit Requirements: 48
  • Foundation Credits: 15*
  • Elective Credits (Distributed): 15
  • Free Elective Credits: 9
  • Religious/Theological Education Credits: 9
  • Credit Limits/Area: ≤ 12
  • Extra-Departmental Credits: ≤ 9
  • Credit Transfer: ≤ 9
  • Concentration (Credits/Area): 12
  • Teaching Experience: Yes
  • Portfolio: Yes
  • GPA: 3.5

* Foundation credits are prerequisite for electives.


Program Learning Goals

Goal 1: Analyze Faith/Culture Relationship(s)

  • Objective A: Identify faith/culture relationship(s), with attention to the experiences of diversity/inclusion, power, privilege and marginalization.
  • Objective B: Use scholarly methods to interpret diverse religious/theological texts and related media.

Goal 2: Evaluate the Christian Theological Tradition

  • Objective A: Appraise the vocabulary, sources, beliefs, historical developments & diversity within the Christian tradition, with attention to experiences of power, privilege, and marginalization.
  • Objective B: Assess the reciprocal interaction of practices and beliefs arising from the Catholic and Augustinian traditions with diverse cultural, ecumenical/interfaith and/or local/global contexts.

Goal 3: Apply Knowledge

  • Objective: Communicate effectively the relevance of theological/religious practices, concepts, and beliefs for personal, communal, societal and global living, in service of transformative action.

Goal 4: Teach Effectively

  • Objective A: Describe contemporary cultural challenges and trends in theological education and articulate an integrative, Augustinian philosophy of education.
  • Objective B: Design educational events that are attuned to issues of diversity and dynamics of power, incorporate contemplative teaching practices and use appropriate assessment tools.
  • Objective C: Demonstrate qualities of a self-reflective, intellectually curious educator sensitive to diverse educational contexts and hospitable toward spiritual experience as a theological source.


Concentrations

If you wish to specialize your studies you may choose a concentration, which will be noted on your transcript. Concentrations permit you to focus your studies, individualize your degree program and tailor it to suit your academic, professional and personal goals and objectives. We offer concentrations in these areas:

  • Biblical Literature
  • Historical Theology
  • Fundamental and Systematic Theology
  • Christian Spirituality
  • Christian Ethics
  • Lay Ministry
  • Religious/Theological Education
Students pursuing the MTS/Education Track are integrated into the Heart of Teaching program. The Heart of Teaching provides graduate students with instruction, supervision, and mentorship in pedagogical theory and practice, as well as mentoring in professional and leadership competencies. This apprenticeship occurs within the context of a peer community. The Heart of Teaching prepares students for vocations such as secondary education faculty, religious education leadership, mission leadership, and other roles in theological and religious education. View the Heart of Teaching manual.

Program Requirements

  • Full-Time: 2 years
  • Part-Time: 6 years
  • Credit Requirements: 48
  • Foundation Credits: 15*
  • Elective Credits (Distributed): 15
  • Free Elective Credits: 15
  • Supervised Research/Project: 3
  • Credit Limits/Area: ≤ 18
  • Extra-Departmental Credits: ≤ 9
  • Credit Transfer: ≤ 9
  • Concentration (Credits/Area): 15
  • Portfolio: Yes
  • GPA: 3.5


Program Learning Goals

Goal 1: Analyze Faith/Culture Relationship(s)

  • Objective A: Identify faith/culture relationship(s), with attention to the experiences of diversity/inclusion, power, privilege and marginalization.
  • Objective B: Use scholarly methods to interpret diverse religious/theological texts and related media.

Goal 2: Evaluate the Christian Theological Tradition

  • Objective A: Appraise the vocabulary, sources, beliefs, historical developments and diversity within the Christian tradition, with attention to experiences of power, privilege and marginalization.
  • Objective B: Assess the reciprocal interaction of practices and beliefs arising from the Catholic and Augustinian traditions with diverse cultural, ecumenical/interfaith and/or local/global contexts.

Goal 3: Apply Knowledge

  • Objective: Communicate effectively the relevance of theological/religious practices, concepts and beliefs for personal, communal, societal and global living, in service of transformative action.

Goal 4: Synthesize Knowledge

  • Objective A: Design and complete a feasible project that thematizes faith/culture relationship(s), with attention to the experiences of diversity/inclusion, power, privilege and marginalization.
  • Objective B: Present effectively the project at an appropriate venue (academic conference, colloquium, etc.).


Concentrations

If you wish to specialize your studies you may choose a concentration, which will be noted on your transcript. Concentrations permit you to focus your studies, individualize your degree program and tailor it to suit your academic, professional and personal goals and objectives. We offer concentrations in these areas:

  • Biblical Literature
  • Historical Theology
  • Fundamental and Systematic Theology
  • Christian Spirituality
  • Christian Ethics
  • Lay Ministry
  • Religious/Theological Education

 

 

Ready for the Next Step?

Jonathan Yates, PhD
Director of Admissions, PhD Program
610-519-8892

Jennifer Jackson, ThD
Director of Master's and Certificate Programs
610-519-6476

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

                     

DEADLINES

January 11: For admission to the PhD program with or without assistantship

March 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.

STUDENT NEWS

Graduate students engaged in discussion of Thomas Aquinas

Labor with Love: Studium Brings Together Top Aquinas Scholars

Last summer, theology graduate student John Cacchione was one of four Villanova students to join a small group of top scholars for an intensive five-day immersion into the influential works of the medieval priest and scholar. This communal experience not only expanded his knowledge and understanding of Thomas Aquinas' thought but also helped John form close bonds with other theologians and philosophers from across North America. It's the type of experience that typifies scholarship at Villanova. Read more.