Graduate Vision Statement

“If love finds a place within you, the fullness of knowledge will follow.”

Augustine, Commentary on the Psalms, 80,2

Theology and Ministry Within the Augustinian Tradition

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

In fidelity to St. Augustine’s theological reasoning in interaction with the religious, cultural, and intellectual traditions of his time, 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 engages the contemporary world.

In other words, enriched by the tradition of St. Augustine, whose theology powerfully related faith and culture, theology is the study of Christianity as lived experience, and theological and ministerial studies within the Augustinian tradition aim to relate faith and culture for our time as Augustine did for his. Theology and ministry within the Augustinian tradition thus seek wisdom and truth

  • in light of Christian religious, cultural, intellectual, and ministerial traditions,
  • in unity with Philosophy, Liberal Studies, and the Sciences,
  • in the service of the Church,

probing rigorously, with their own canons of inquiry and verification, broader questions of relevance to Christian belief and practice, the unity and prophetic mission of the body of Christ, life as a whole, and the discovery of God.

As Augustine put it, theological knowing is "understanding what we believe," that is, as a critical, systematic reflection on the life of faith. In the Augustinian tradition, theology and ministry are both speculative and practical and distinctive in their emphasis on the union of mind and heart.

Faith Engaging Culture

"Faith engaging culture" meets the Augustinian vision. It informs those seeking to fulfill the human vocation to be co-creators with the Origin of Divine Wisdom. It understands theology and ministry to be part of culture and energetically accepts the challenge to render faith intelligible and meaningful in our contemporary cultural contexts, shaped by the latest advances in modern science, natural history, and critical theory.

Our Teaching and Learning Paradigm

From the Augustinian tradition arises a distinct teaching and learning paradigm. Learning is understood as nurturing a way of knowing (mind) that is infused with care and love (heart). The way of knowing within the Augustinian tradition

  • is consonant with biblical (and, therefore, incarnational) imaging of personal involvement and mutuality reflecting the quality of truth that draws us into community: 
  • is holistic and humanistic; 
  • unites heart and mind, love and knowledge, practice and theory;
  • authenticates inner- and inter-personal experiences; 
  • responds to human restlessness; 
  • fosters moral reasoning; 
  • invites cultivating one’s self; 
  • develops the desire to search out the unknown;
  • seeks unity in humility; and 
  • is a transforming experience.

In summary: the way of knowing is a journey seeking truth (veritas) and discovering understanding; a dialogue with learners different from ourselves (unitas) leading to understanding; and a transformational wholeheartedness (caritas) opening the doors of understanding.

April 2, 2014


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