Certificate Programs

image of text "certificates in theology"

● stay current with con­temporary is­sues in theology and pur­sue com­­pre­­hen­sive, high qua­lity stu­dies in se­lect fields of inquiry.

● continue gra­duate stu­dies after completing a gra­duate de­gree program in theo­lo­gy, ministry, or a re­la­ted field.

● pursue the relation bet­ween theo­lo­gy and other fields of in­quiry.

● enrich your pro­­fes­­sional ex­­pe­ri­ence with aca­­de­mic lear­n­ing and en­­han­ce your ca­reer in teach­­ing, ministry, or administration.

● ex­plore your in­ter­est in theo­lo­gi­cal in­quiry and earn cre­dits that count to­ward a de­gree program.

● com­bin­e a spe­ciali­za­tion in the­o­­lo­­gi­­cal stu­dies with a gra­duate degree you have al­ready earned.

image of text "certificates in theological studies"

Theological Studies

The certificate 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 yrs
Part-Time 3 yrs
Credit Requirements 15
Elective Credits 15
Credit Limits/Area ≤ 9
GPA 3.0
image of text "certificate in theological inquiry"

Interdisciplinary Theological Inquiry

This 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 yrs
Part-Time 3 yrs
Credit Requirements 15
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.

image of text "certificate in ministry"

Pastoral Ministry

The Certificate Program combines studies in theology and pastoral ministry with practical training in ministerial contexts.

Program Requirements

Full-Time 2 yrs
Part-Time ≤ 3 yrs
Credit Requirements 24
Theory and Practice of Ministry Credits 6
Religious/Theological Education Credits 6
Christian Spirituality Credits 3
Interfaith/Intercultural Studies Credits 3
Field Practicum or Internship Credits* 6
GPA 3.0

* Each of the four Theory and Practice of Ministry courses includes a supervised Ministerial Field Practicum in a setting approved by the Campus Ministry Graduate Internship Program Director. The practicum normally spans 4 semesters. You are responsible for obtaining your placement and must complete a Practicum Contract. Villanova offers unique, but limited opportunities for completing the practicum in Campus Ministry.


We offer four courses (1.5 credit hours each) in Pastoral Ministry and Counseling Practice. You take the four courses sequentially. To facilitate learning across diverse depths of knowledge and levels of experience, each course has 1st and 2nd year students enrolled. We organize the courses according to content units rotating on a four-semester basis; each ministry course offers distinct content.


Our pastoral ministry courses prepare you to

  • acquire advanced understanding of the nature of lay ministry and the relationship and interplay between theology and ministry, tradition and practice;
  • learn about contemporary practices of lay ministry;
  • develop competencies in pastoral analysis, ministry skills, and theological reflection on the practice of lay ministry;
  • articulate a theory and a method of lay ministry;
  • develop ministry strategies in light of contemporary cultural and ecclesial needs;
  • articulate and reflect upon ones emerging sense of a personal call to lay ministry.


Pastoral ministry courses present an integrated approach to the academic, human, theological, and spiritual dimensions of Christian ministry. You will explore

  • the contemporary theology of ecclesial ministry, its scriptural and historical roots, and give special attention to the origin, evolution, and function of ministry within the Christian Church;
  • the Church’s teachings on baptismal vocation and the universal call to holiness in relationship to the role of ministers as leaders within a faith community;
  • theological, spiritual, and ministerial formation that takes into account the whole person and considers all aspects of life: spirit, mind, heart, emotions, and body; and
  • theological trends in the 20th and 21st century leading to, and originating from, the Second Vatican Council’s dogmatic constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) and the pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world (Gaudium et Spes) and their place in the development of contemporary ecclesiological understanding.

Other topics include the ministry of Jesus; the Church and her ministry in the world; the role of laity in ecclesial ministry; stages of faith development; prayer and spirituality; Catholic social teaching; professional skills and ethical practices in pastoral ministry; pastoral practices - typical and emergent in the Roman Catholic tradition; leadership models of ministry; and theological reflection on ministerial experience.

Transfer among Programs

● 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.
white bar