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Villanova University Announces New Doctoral Program in Theology

With a focus on faith engaging culture, the program will offer theological studies within the Augustinian tradition

Villanova University has announced the launch of a new doctoral program in Theology
Pictured: Back Row (Left to Right) – Peter Spitaler, PhD, chair, Department of Theology and Religious Studies; Paul Danove, professor, Department of Theology and Religious Studies; Stefanie Knauss, assistant professor, Department of Theology and Religious Studies; Jonathan Yates, assistant professor, Department of Theology and Religious Studies. Front Row (Left to Right) – Adele Lindenmeyr, PhD, Interim Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Alfonso Ortega, Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Programs.

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University has announced the launch of a new doctoral program in Theology. Students in this rigorous, six-year program, housed within the University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, will be challenged to relate faith and culture to their times. The program – which will welcome its first class of students in fall 2016 – is open to people of all faiths and spans ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary thought.

“This unique Theology doctoral program is the first of its kind in the country to be designed, from conception to implementation, with a focus on faith engaging culture through the lens of the Augustinian tradition of intellectual inquiry,” said the Rev. Kail C. Ellis, OSA, PhD, vice president for Academic Affairs.  “Adding this course of study to our curriculum enhances Villanova’s reputation as one of the leading Catholic institutions of higher education in the U.S.”

Villanova’s doctoral program in Theology will prepare graduates to have a profound impact as college and university professors, leaders and practitioners of ministry, interdisciplinary researchers and innovative theologians. The program offers five distinct areas of concentration and will require students to specialize in two of the five areas. The areas of focus include biblical theology, systematic theology, historical theology, Christian ethics and Christian spirituality. Studying two distinct theological fields of inquiry will enable each doctoral student to gain a unique perspective and become well-rounded theologians who are prepared for employment after graduation.

“Our Master’s program in Theology has been renowned for many years for its focus on investigating the intersection of theology and culture within the Augustinian tradition,” said Adele Lindenmeyr, PhD, interim dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  “This new PhD program will take that tradition of excellence to the next level, preparing students to become leaders in conducting interdisciplinary, integrative research and successful college teachers.”

Independent of the students’ selected areas of study, all doctoral students will complete course work in all five areas of concentration. In addition, students must study and demonstrate proficiency in comprehending scholarly work in at least two modern foreign languages, and proficiency in other languages, including ancient languages, if applicable.

“Theology at Villanova emphasizes the cultural contexts of ’understanding what we believe’, as St. Augustine put it. Our students will advance this approach to the critical, sys­tematic reflection on the life of faith and, in so doing, make Augustine’s thought relevant to society in the third millennium,” said Peter Spitaler, ThD, chair, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Villanova University.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.