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Theological Schools and Colleges with Degree Program Options

Theology is the study of religion and its effect on human societies. Read on to learn about what you should look for in a theology program and to view theology programs available in some U.S. schools.

Theological schools can offer degree programs in several religions and philosophies; students should compare theological programs to see what concentrations and fields are available for study. Graduates of theology programs often work as religious leaders or as teachers in schools and seminaries, but with additional study in fields such as communications or psychology, theology graduates can also find jobs as writers, social workers or advocates.

10 Schools with Theology Degree Programs

Here is a list of institutions with applicable programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition & Fees 2015-2016*
Brigham Young University Provo, Utah 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $6,500
Liberty University Lynchburg, Virginia 4-year, Private not-for-profit Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate, Certificate Undergraduate Tuition & Fees $20,109; Graduate Tuition $7,781 Fees $219
Boston University Boston, Massachusetts 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Doctorate, Certificate Graduate Tuition $47,422 Fees $660
Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Doctorate Graduate Tuition $41,832 Fees $1,042
St. John's University-New York Queens, New York 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's Undergraduate Tuition & Fees $38,680; Graduate Tuition $23,924 Fees $340
Northwestern University Evanston, Illinois 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Doctorate Undergraduate Tuition & Fees $49,047; Graduate Tuition $48,624 Fees $440
Webster University Saint Louis, Missouri 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Certificate Undergraduate Tuition & Fees $25,500
Saint Louis University Saint Louis, Missouri 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate Undergraduate Tuition & Fees $39,226; Graduate Tuition $18,900 Fees $446
Loyola University Chicago Chicago, Illinois 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate Undergraduate Tuition & Fees $40,426; Graduate Tuition $18,054 Fees $832
Indiana Wesleyan University Marion, Indiana 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate, Certificate Undergraduate Tuition & Fees $24,728; Graduate Tuition $9,265 Fees $435

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Keep the following in mind as you consider different theology programs:

  • Theology is an extremely broad field, so students should take a close look at the curriculum of the program to make sure that it fits with their academic interests and career goals.
  • It is important for prospective students to make sure they meet the minimum admissions requirements for the program since some require applicants to have fulfilled educational prerequisites or have previous work experience.
  • Students should be aware that some programs require courses in a foreign language alongside theological study. These languages may include Italian, Hebrew, Arabic or Greek.
  • It can be helpful for students to consider the Church affiliation of the schools they are considering. For instance, some schools are associated with the Catholic Church, while others are associated with a Protestant group or no Church institution at all.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

The most common undergraduate option for students who are interested in theology is a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. In these programs, students are introduced to the principles of the Christian religion. They may also take courses in comparative religion and the application of biblical principles to modern moral dilemmas. It is important to note that programs may vary depending on the denomination of the school; for instance, some schools focus specifically on Catholicism. Alternatively, students who have already completed general education requirements and have experience in the ministerial field may enroll in a Bachelor of Theology (BTh) program, which provides professional training for future ministers.

Master's Degree Programs

There are master's-level options for students who are interested in theology. Some schools offer two-year Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Theological Studies (MTS) programs for students who want to take advanced courses and/or write a thesis a particular area of the field. Possible specialization areas include biblical languages and literatures, Christian ethics and theology education. Alternatively, students may pursue a three-year Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree, which provides specific training for work as a Christian minister. MDiv graduates and experienced ministers may also pursue a Master of Theology (ThM) degree, which provides an additional year of advanced study for individuals who want to expand their knowledge on a particular topic.

Doctoral Degree Programs

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctor of Theology (ThD) programs are intended for students who want to pursue advanced research in a particular area of interest within the field of theology, such as the history of Christianity, systematic theology, comparative theology, theological ethics or biblical studies. Students may also be required to fulfill teaching and foreign language requirements. Graduates often find work as university professors in theology or religion departments. Another doctoral-level option is a Doctor of Ministry, which is intended for experienced ministers who want to increase their expertise in a particular theology subfield, such as pastoral leadership, counseling, discipleship or evangelism.

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduate certificate programs typically include a short series in a foundational area of theology, such as biblical study or Christian ministry. There are also more advanced graduate-level certificates in topics such as pastoral counseling, Christian leadership and Christian ministry.

Theology degree and certificate programs are available in a wide range of topics. Students should research the curriculum focus, specialization options and foreign language requirements of a program before applying.

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