Many university theology schools are welcoming to individuals of various faiths and religious beliefs. These institutions typically offer master's and doctoral degree programs, some of which are not restricted to potential members of the clergy.
A graduate degree in theology is helpful if you're interested in pursuing a vocation in religious ministry, education or research. A theology program usually draws the majority of its coursework from the specific religious traditions to which the school is connected; likewise, most students select a school affiliated with a religious tradition that interests them. The three schools discussed below offer multiple accredited theology degrees at the graduate level and numerous areas of concentration within them. They have also been ranked among the top 50 national universities by U.S. News & World Report for 2017.
Harvard University in Cambridge, MA
|School Highlight: The divinity school offers religious observance opportunities for a wide range of religious traditions.|
Harvard Divinity School was established in 1816 as the first non-sectarian theological school in the U.S. The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) accredits the theology programs at Harvard, which include a Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) and a Master of Theology (Th.M.). The M.T.S. has 19 concentrations, including comparative studies, Biblical studies and philosophy of religion. Harvard Divinity School also has a Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) that highlights the methods and theories of religion and is ideal for those who hope to teach theology or enter administration at the college or seminary level.
University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, IN
|School Highlight: The university offers studies in Latino spirituality and the church in Latin America.|
The University of Notre Dame is a Catholic school located in northern Indiana that admits students who are not traditionally Catholic. Degree programs at Notre Dame are accredited by ATS. The school offers a M.T.S. program that trains students to teach at the high school level. It includes five areas of concentration, including moral and systematic theology, Biblical studies, history of Christianity and liturgical studies. The doctoral program is a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Theology and offers six concentrations, including the study of Christianity and Judaism, moral and systematic theology, history of Christianity, world religions and liturgical studies. The Ph.D. prepares students for careers in teaching, research and church ministry.
Boston University in Boston, MA
|School Highlight: BU offers a dual Master of Divinity and Master of Sacred Music degree program.|
Established in 1839, the Boston University School of Theology is a Methodist seminary open to students of all faiths. In addition to the MDiv/MSM degree, the school's professional programs include a stand-alone Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music and Master of Religious Studies. Advanced degree programs include a Master of Sacred Theology, Doctor of Ministry and Doctor of Philosophy.
Top Theology Graduate Programs
Here are another seven schools that offer graduate degree programs in theology:
- Catholic University of America, located in Washington, DC, provides opportunities for theology students to study abroad in numerous places, including Italy, Australia, Ireland, Egypt and South Africa.
- Drew University in Madison, NJ, is home to a theology school that offers a Methodist certification program.
- Fuller Theological Seminary offers a Korean-language doctoral program in ministry to students in Pasadena, CA.
- New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary provides several online graduate degree programs from its home base in LA.
- Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA, offers graduate degree programs entirely online or with minimal on-campus time required.
- Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL, provides the opportunity for divinity students to study at affiliated institutions in Illinois and around the world yet pay Trinity tuition rates.
- The University of Chicago in IL offers more than 100 courses yearly through its divinity school.
There are hundreds of public and private, not-for-profit schools throughout the United States that offer graduate degree programs in theology, some of which have been highly ranked or offer unique concentration areas, opportunities for online study and travel abroad, among other distinguishing characteristics.