Top Schools for Theology

Find out what top schools offer undergraduate and graduate programs in theology. Read about the numerous degree options available at three of these top schools, and use the table at the end of the resource to see what other colleges and universities in the United States offer programs in theology.

School Information

Theology is a broad field that encompasses the study of Judaism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity, among other religions. The degree programs offered by the three universities detailed below range from the bachelor's to the doctoral level, which can include the opportunity to pursue a concentration in an area of special interest. All three schools have been cited in the past by U.S. News & World Report in their list of nationally ranked universities. Students who successfully complete one of these programs may be qualified for a work in a religious or spirituality-based vocation; a graduate degree may lead to a position as a college professor.

1. Loyola University in Chicago, IL

School Highlight: Loyola is one of the largest Jesuit Catholic universities in the U.S.

Loyola University was ranked as tied as the 106th Top National University by U.S. News & World Report in 2015. The university's Department of Theology offers Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees in theological studies and religious studies. The department also offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) program with four different concentrations, including Biblical studies, Biblical languages and literature, Christian ethics and theological studies, all of which have distinct curricula. Students can also pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Integrative Studies with one of three specializations, such as ethics and theology, New Testament and early Christianity or theological pedagogy.

2. University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, IN

School Highlight: Theology scholars have worked with the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The University of Notre Dame is a private Catholic research university that U.S. News & World Report ranked tied 16th among national universities in 2015. Notre Dame's Department of Theology offers several relevant programs, including a general undergraduate degree in theology and a joint undergraduate degree in theology and philosophy. Graduate programs in theology include a Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) and Master of Sacred Music (MSM). You can also pursue an M.A. in Theology and a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology.

3. Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA

School Highlight: The School of Theology and Ministry follows the Catholic Ignatian tradition.

U.S. News & World Report ranked Boston College 31st among national universities in 2015. Boston College's School of Theology and Ministry offers many unique degree options, mostly at the graduate level. For example, students can earn a post-undergraduate Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) if they already have a B.A. or Bachelor of Science in another field.

The school also offers a M.Div., an M.T.S., an M.A. in Theology and Ministry and a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Religious Education. Master of Theology (Th.M.) and summer-only M.A. in Pastoral Ministry (M.A.P.M.) programs are also available. The Ph.D. program offers specializations in Christian history, systematic theology, Biblical studies, theological ethics and comparative theology.

Top Theology Programs

School Name Distinction Location
Barry University Has chapters of the Theta Alpha Kappa and Phi Sigma Tau honor societies Miami, FL
Catholic University of America Has a tuition waiver for Catholic school teachers Washington, D.C.
Harvard University Houses the Center for the Study of World Religions Cambridge, MA
Pepperdine University Fosters student-led ministries Malibu, CA
Providence College Houses the Center for Catholic and Dominican Studies Providence, RI
Vanderbilt University Hosts the Cal Turner Program for Moral Leadership in the Professions (CTP) Nashville, TN
Yale University Publishes 'Reflections', a theological magazine New Haven, CT

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