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Theology Schools in NYC with Degree Program Overviews

Dec 10, 2018

The New York City area has more than nine colleges that offer theology degree programs. To make an informed education decision, learn about the admission and program requirements at three of these schools located within 15 miles of downtown.

NYC Schools with Theology Degrees

Students in New York City who are looking for theology degree programs have several options to consider. Read about the required coursework and topics at three schools -- all of which are located within half an hour of the city center. There is also a table of facts and figures about the institutions, as well as some details on a few other school options in the area.

  • Manhattan's The General Theological Seminary, located about a half-mile from downtown NYC, is an institution associated with the Episcopal Church. The school offers master's degrees focused on theology and divinity.
  • Union Theological Seminary, located in the Morningside Heights section of NYC about five miles from the center of the city, is an independent Christian seminary. Students can earn master's and doctoral degrees focused in various areas of theology and divinity. There's also a dual-degree program that combines the study of social work with divinity.
  • Fordham University is a Jesuit university routed in the Catholic tradition located in the Bronx. Fordham offers theology master's and doctoral degrees. The campus is roughly ten miles from central NYC.

Comparison of Schools

Being located in New York City, all the profiled schools offer an urban setting for students to study within. To learn more about the institutions, check out this table containing info on student enrollment and graduate tuition rates.

The General Theological Seminary Union Theological Seminary Fordham University
School Type 4-year; private, not-for-profit 4-year; private, not-for-profit 4-year; private, not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017) 45* 217* 16,037*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Average Graduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $15,400* $28,017* $33,417*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

The General Theological Seminary

The General Theological Seminary is a small school that enrolls less than 100 students. The General Seminary is in close physical proximity to other NYC resources, such as the New York Public Library, New York University and other major seminaries.

Master of Arts

GTS offers a Master of Arts program in four concentrations. Students can choose concentration in Anglican studies, ascetical theology, Biblical studies, or historical and theological studies. This program is designed for people seeking personal spiritual growth or preparing to work in non-clergy occupations.

Master of Divinity

This program is primarily designed for students who are preparing for ordination. Students develop ministry practices and pastoral identity through courses in leadership, ascetical theology and pastoral theology, ethics and preaching. Full-time students can complete this program in three years.

Master of Sacred Theology

Students who have completed the Master of Divinity or Master of Arts program can enroll in this program for further concentration in any of the seminary's disciplines, such as scripture or church history. Full-time students typically complete this program in one year. The school offers thesis and non-thesis options for this program.

Union Theological Seminary

Founded in 1836, this multi-denominational NYC seminary serves students from at least nine countries and 44 different religious affiliations. The programs offered at Union Theological Seminary emphasize academic theological instruction for ordained and non-ordained careers in ministry and teaching. Seminary students serve the local community in churches and social service agencies while completing their coursework.

Master of Arts

In this 2-year academic program, students choose a concentration in an area of the seminary's disciplines; options include church history, systematic theology, preaching and worship, ethics or interreligious engagement. Program graduates may continue with doctoral studies, transfer to a degree program for ordination or pursue a vocational career in teaching or layperson ministry work.

Master of Divinity

The coursework for this 3-year program offer four pathways: ministerial leadership, Anglican studies, Buddhism and interreligious engagement, or Islam and interreligious engagement. Graduates of the program pursue careers in parish ministry or ministry services outside of the church.

Master of Divinity and Master of Science in Social Work

This joint master's degree program is designed to allow students to finish in four years with both degrees. The program is offered in conjunction with other schools in the local area, including Columbia University. Beginning in the third year of the program, students complete much of their work at a collaborating school.

Master of Sacred Theology

This 1-year degree program offers a general or research track and is intended for students who already hold graduate degrees in theology. Students take 24 points in advanced courses, complete an independent study and write an extended research paper or thesis on a theology topic of their choice. They must also pass a translation exam, usually in German, French or Spanish.

Doctor of Philosophy

Doctoral candidates enroll in one of five programs: history, Bible, theology, practical theology or interreligious engagement. Students can choose to concentrate in a subdiscipline in any of these areas. The program is designed for students pursuing leadership positions in social service agencies and churches or for those seeking to teach in seminaries and universities.

Fordham University

Fordham University is a private, Jesuit institution that enrolls more than 15,000 students a year. The school was founded in 1841 and was the first Catholic college in that part of the United States. The school offers several graduate programs through its Department of Theology.

Master of Arts in Catholic Theology

In this master's degree program, students can choose from one of three areas of study: Bible, historical theology or systematic theology. The Bible area of study requires the completion of 12 courses, while the other two areas require ten courses. Six core classes are taken in Old and New Testament interpretation, theological ethics, systematic theology, and history of Christianity. Proficiency in a foreign language must also be demonstrated.

Doctor of Philosophy in Theology

Ph.D. students can choose to concentrate in one of five areas: Bible, systematic theology, history of Christianity, Christianity in antiquity, or theological and social ethics. Students complete doctoral classes, take Ph. D. comprehensive exams and complete a dissertation. For successful completion of the Ph. D. program, students must be proficient in two foreign languages.

Other Schools

New York City students who are interested in pursuing a theology degree might also consider Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in lower Manhattan or St. John's University - New York in Queens.

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