Catholic theology grad schools (in USA)?


I didn’t know the best place for this thread. Feel free to move.

I am potentially looking into a post-grad degree in theology, maybe even a doctorate one day. I think I really like the idea of teaching at the college level. Anyway, besides some of the big names – like Boston College and Notre Dame, what are some other good programs???


Christendom College and Franciscan University in Steubenville come immediately to mind for good theology schools. If you have money and are near DC, then the Dominican House of Studies should also be quite excellent. If you want to teach at a Catholic university, you need at least a STL to teach adjunct, an STD to be teaching full-time.


I’m not sure if STD is required. Some of the faculty I see at Catholic universities have Ph.Ds but not STD.


I should have been more specific, if you want to teach at a Pontifical University you’ll need at least an STL. But no one, Pontifical or otherwise, will turn their nose at an STL.


Yeah, it’s just I already have my basic four-year religious studies degree, and I’d hate to have to start from zero in order to get on the STD track. It seems, from quick research, that you have to have the Bachelor of Sacred Theology before the STL; and the STL before the STD.

But some of the Catholic theology grad programs I see don’t even require a theology four-year degree at all (just “humanities,” for example).


Not quite, you could go straight into an STL program. You may have to take some remedial courses in graduate level theology and philosophy, but that’s not terrible.


Catholic University of America and it’s affiliated schools
It is the only University in the US which is directly overseen by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and has a Pontifical School of Theology certified by the Vatican. It’s theological instruction is very center of the road and doesn’t lean one way or the other with regards to Conservative or Progressive. A degree from CUA is well respected in all walks of Catholic Academia.


It looked like each theological program required knowledge of French. Do you know if this is correct?


Great thread. I’ll be lurking. I am also considering a theology degree, but I have a lot of demands on my time (small children). So far, I’ve only considered online classes through Franciscan.


Saint Leo Unversity


Is that the one in Florida? I looked into that (mainly because living in FL would be cool, lol).


It is; just north of Tampa.


Did you go there? They seem to have only one theology grad program.


If you are talking about CUA, then reading knowledge of a foreign language (ordinarily French, German or Spanish) is required. As well as English language proficiency for non-native speakers.

For the Doctoral program, demonstrated proficiency in Latin and Biblical Greek are required, as well as reading proficiency in French or German.

My guess is that the requirements for “proficiency” are not very demanding, though.


Yes; undergrad and graduate degrees


How did you like the school? What are you doing with your degree now?


NOTE: I would only recommend Notre Dame and Boston College for the doctorate degree. I personally don’t think they are worth the price for the Master’s level. Marquette University and University of Dayton are in the same boat.

I would highly recommend the following

* offer’s online Master’s

First and foremost: I would recommend: The Catholic University of America* (Theology degree not offered online, but Masters of Catechesis is) Has Masters, Ph.D. STL, STD degrees

Catholic University of America has been ranked among the best 3 theology graduate program in the United States, along with Notre Dame, Duke & Fuller Theological Seminary.

The Augustine Institute*
Franciscan University of Steubenville*
Holy Apostles College & Seminary*
Ave Maria University (offers Masters & Ph.D)
Christendom College*
International Theological Institute (offers Ph.D, STL and Masters - in Europe and cheap)
Maryvale Institute* (offers online Masters and online Ph.D. – and cheap)
Pontifical John Paul II Institute (offers Masters, Ph.D., STL and STD degrees)
Sacred Heart Major Seminary (offers Masters, STB and STL degrees)
Sacred Heart Seminary & School of Theology
St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
The Athenaeum of Ohio - Mount St. Mary’s Seminary
Catholic Distance University*
University of Dallas*
University of St. Thomas - Houston
Walsh University
Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (in Rome - very cheap, less than $3000 per year)
University of Navarra (in Spain, offers Licentiate and STD)

Pontifex University* (this is a new online University which offers an online Th.D program and online Master’s program, but since it’s new, it doesn’t yet have national accreditation. But does have accreditation from the Archbishop of Atlanta and the State of Georgia. There are several good names in Catholic education are teaching there.)

Recommend Distance Learning Masters program?

No, you do not have to have a STB before getting an STL


I would stay away from St. Leo’s. When you look at the CVs of College professors in Theology at respected Catholic Theology departments, St. Leo’s isn’t one that you see.

St. Leo would be OK for a DRE, but I don’t think you would want to go to there to move on to teach college.


It’s important to get the opinion of people in senior positions at the types of schools at which you would like to teach. They know which programs are acceptable for that purpose, and which are not. Contact senior academics at those schools and ask them for guidance in picking a program that will get you where you want to go, before spending years studying in a program that will not.

Also, be aware that teaching positions in theology are scarce as hen’s teeth, with aspirants exceeding openings by a huge factor. I wouldn’t put my eggs in one basket, and make sure I acquire more saleable skills as a backup.

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