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The items listed in the admission requirements checklist are all we need to review your application. We ask that you not submit any materials besides those requested below. Any additional materials that are submitted will not be considered as part of your application.

  • You are not required to submit all application materials together. However, we will consider applications only when all materials have been uploaded and received.
  • To insure a timely review, consider submitting your application well ahead of the posted deadlines. 

 What's Needed                             




 Online Application


 Application Fee (non-refundable)[1]




 Writing Sample


 Recommendation Letters - academic[2]    


 Interview of Finalists


 Bachelor’s Degree, completed by June 1 of year of admission




 18 credit hours in theology, religion, or the equivalent[4]




 Application Essay


 [1] The application fee is waived for the following individuals: 1) Those who already hold a Villanova University degree (undergraduate or graduate). 2) Those who have attended a Villanova Event (open house, online or in-person information session). 3) McNair Scholars. We ask McNair Scholars to have their program administrator send a letter or email to us confirming your participation in the program.

 [2] Please contact us if you cannot meet this requirement.

 [3] Transcripts of all previous college work (undergraduate and graduate where applicable). Unofficial copies may be uploaded in your online application for review. Official copies are required for international applicants and for all applicants who receive an offer of admission. Have official transcripts sent to:

Office of Graduate Studies
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085

 [4] We also welcome your application if you majored in other fields in the Humanities, the Social Sciences, the Sciences, Law, etc.

 [5] Please contact us if you do not meet this requirement. In some cases, exceptional applications with a GPA below 3.75 are considered.

 [6] One single, interesting, well-balanced, and academic essay of between 1200 and 1500 words that fully integrates your answers to the following questions while also demonstrating critical reflection, careful argumentation, and your best scholarly writing:

1. A Villanova Ph.D. in Theology commits you to studying the intersection of faith and culture within the Catholic tradition. Which two or three texts have done the most to inform your interest in this intersection? How exactly have they done this?

2. A Villanova Ph.D. in Theology also commits you to two areas of specialization. Which questions and/or readings have motivated your choice for these two areas? How will studying in these areas improve your ability to understand and/or address them? 

Application Deadline

Applicants seeking program admission (with or without assistantship) must submit a completed application by January 6, 2020.

Admission to Area Combinations

Because learning in the program is governed by the interrelationship of two primary areas of theological inquiry, applicants are admitted to specific area combinations. However, we designed the program to permit you to change preferences within the first year of studies. With the second year, you will concentrate your studies in your chosen two primary areas of inquiry. Switching areas will still be possible, but will prolong your studies (because all area requirements must be fulfilled).

Studying Full-time or Part-time

The doctoral program is designed primarily for full-time study. Full-time students normally complete the program in six years.

Because of our goal to prepare students for both the academy and the profession (e.g., careers in secondary school education and ministerial leadership), we also admit a limited number of select students on a part-time basis. If you plan to study part-time you may take up to 12 years to complete all degree requirements for the combined Master's/Ph.D. Program.

However, University scholarships are awarded to full-time students only.

How Many Students Are Admitted?

We envision a small program that permits us to dedicate resources to fulfilling program outcomes responsibly.

The Graduate Program in Theology admits yearly four funded full-time students, selected competitively, to the program. We also admit a limited number of select self-funded full-time and part-time students. All students enter the program in the fall semester.

What Happens Next?

We will review all completed applications for full-time studies in January and aim to notify you of the status of your application during the course of February.

We will notify applicants for part-time studies of the status of their applications by mid-April.