Top Ranked Graduate Programs in Theology and Theological Studies

32 universities offer graduate programs in Theology and Theological Studies. Boston College had highest number of international students receiving a Master's degree. Duke University had the most women graduates in this program.
Ranked as: #2 in Best National University
Tuition: $46,384
State: MA
Those currently in the ThD program will continue to be candidates for the ThD. Starting in fall 2015, all doctoral students in religion will enter as PhD students. This is a joint degree program offered by HDS and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, administered by the Committee on the Study of Religion.) With a focus on global religions, religion and culture, and forces that shape religious traditions and thought, the PhD prepares students for advanced research and scholarship in religion and theological studies.

Doctor of theology

The ThM program affords an opportunity for students who have received the master of divinity degree or its equivalent (three years of graduate theological study) to pursue advanced theological studies for one year. The program is especially recommended for students who seek to gain additional competence for the ministry beyond that provided by the master of divinity degree. This one-year program offers 18 areas of focus, and includes course work, a language requirement, and an oral examination requirement. It is strongly recommended that applicants to the ThM have prior knowledge of the language they plan to use to meet the language requirement.
Ranked as: #3 in Best National University
Tuition: $42,100
State: CT
Graduates of theological schools of recognized standing who have obtained the B.D. or MDIV degree may be admitted to a program of studies leading to the Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.) degree. The work for this theological degree may be regarded as a fourth year of preparation for the Christian ministry. The S.T.M. program may also be used as a year of specialized work in one of the theological disciplines or as preparation for doctoral studies. The schedule of courses may involve offerings in other schools or departments of the University.

Master of Sacred Theology

The biblical and theological heritage of Christianity finds focus in engagement with persons and structures of the church and culture. It is a lifetime vocation to learn to discern and guide the processes of this reciprocal engagement. Area IV aspires to find guidelines and impetus for this vocation. All courses in Area IV presuppose some personal experience with the occasions of ministry.
Ranked as: #4 in Best National University
Tuition: $57,759
State: IL
The Theology area is concerned with the historical study of the self-understanding of a religious tradition, mainly Christianity and Judaism, and with the constructive interpretation of its meaning and truth for the contemporary world. Students in theology must, thereby, address questions of the history of theology, the definitive characteristics of theological claims and discourse, the criteria of meaning and of truth within a tradition, methods of theological reflection, the warrant (if any) for revision within traditions, and the manifold ways to answer or to sustain the criticism of theological ideas and religious beliefs. Students in theology thereby demonstrate their historical competence, methodological sophistication, and also grounding in some specific form of theological reflection. The progress (or pre-exam) conference is normally held in the spring quarter of the second year, or the fall of the third year.


In recent years political theology has garnered much interest in the world of theology and religious studies it has made a name for itself as an area worthy of separate attention and requiring or mobilizing specific interdisciplinary skills and qualifications. Current developments in the US and across the globe have only made scholars aware of the need to reflect on the intersection of religion and politics, theology and justice. This richness of the field, which not only draws on multiple religious traditions but also allows for a shake-up inside individual traditions of center and margin, is part of its great appeal for current and future scholars of religion. Its openness to fields outside of religious studies combined with its commitment to the informed public understanding of religion makes it an area of wide scholarly appeal while allowing at the same time for meaningful debates with religious leaders.
Ranked as: #16 in Best National University
Tuition: $52,746
State: IN
The Notre Dame doctoral program in theology is a premier program for Roman Catholic and ecumenical theological study. Areas of focus include Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity, The History of Christianity, Liturgical studies, Moral Theology Christian Ethics, Systematic Theology, and World Religions and World Church. The doctoral program places a very high percentage of its graduates in tenure-track, academic positions. A master degree (or the equivalent) in this field.


Graduate Program in Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and Theology. The PhD program prepares students in research methodologies associated with the disciplines of history, political science, psychology, sociology and theology. Graduates are credentialed in one of the five disciplines and fully acquainted with the research questions and findings of interdisciplinary peace research. They will continue on to take positions in universities and colleges within their own disciplines, but with a focus on peace studies.
Ranked as: #16 in Best National University
Tuition: $47,208
State: TN
The degree provides students the opportunity to develop meaningful research questions and rigorous research methods in order to explore, analyze, and ultimately formulate constructive insights in a particular area of advanced theological study. Students must have completed a Master of Divinity or Master of Theological Studies degree from an ATS accredited school, or the educational equivalent from an institution of higher education accredited by a US agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or approved by a Canadian provincial quality assurance agency. Comparable degrees from institutions outside North America are accepted after review by Vanderbilt’s International Curriculum and Credentials Analyst.

Master of Theology

Students in the Theological Studies area must complete 25: Nineteenth Century Theology and 27: Contemporary Theology. They must also take 3908: Seminar in Systematic Theology during each of their first two years of course work. Students concentrating in the Theological Studies area must demonstrate proficiency in two languages of research, as indicated in the general guidelines for the Graduate Religion. In the area of Theological Studies, these languages are normally chosen from among German, French, or Spanish.
Ranked as: #21 in Best National University
Tuition: $49,560
State: DC
Georgetown University students research issues of religious pluralism in diverse ways. Some develop projects in comparative theology, studying with integrity the beliefs and practices of than one religious tradition. Recognizing the other as other but not as opposite, such comparative study can engender mutual illumination among religious traditions where differences are as important as commonalities—opening up a fresh and rich understanding of one’s own tradition. The doctoral program ordinarily requires five years of full-time study: two years for course work, one year to prepare for the comprehensive examinations and the dissertation proposal, and two years for writing the dissertation.

Theology and Religious Studies

A bimonthly interdisciplinary workshop hosted by the Graduate Program in Theology and Religious Studies. Check out Theology Major Jesse Scharff (C'09), Director, Advisory Board. Perhaps nothing symbolizes the particular niche of Georgetown’s Theology Department better than the Problem of God course and the Ph.D. program in Religious Pluralism. Georgetown University Ph.D. program symbolizes the various ways we are pluralistic: in the object of Georgetown University research, in the diversity of religious traditions studied, in the methodological inclusivity of embracing both theological and religious studies models of research and in the desire to reach out and engage the religious pluralism of Georgetown University student body.
Ranked as: #21 in Best National University
Tuition: $41,800
State: GA
Dual Degree: Master of Arts in Bioethics (MA-Bioethics). The MTS is especially designed for individuals interested in pursuing some aspect of teaching and research, whether in an academic context, the non-profit world, or in public policy and social engagement. It provides superb preparation for doctoral-level studies in religion and theology. The flexibility of the Candler MTS program allows students to focus their work within an area of specialization or construct a broader degree across the theological disciplines.

Master of Theological Studies

Dual Degree: Master of Arts in Bioethics (MA-Bioethics). The Master of Theology is a one-year program of study beyond the Master of Divinity or other first-level theological degree. It is designed for students who wish to deepen their knowledge in a particular area of study in order to enhance their vocation or ministry. ThM students may focus on one of four areas: Biblical Studies, History and Interpretation of Christianity, Christianity and Culture or Church and Ministry.
Ranked as: #23 in Best National University
Tuition: $26,544
State: CA
Health and Health Care, Indigenous Studies, Religious Studies and Theology, Social Sciences, Women Gender History Studies. Art, Art History Visual Studies, Humanities, Literature, Popular Culture Studies, Religious Studies and Theology. Intellectual History, Islamic History Studies, Humanities, Oral History, Religious Studies and Theology. Anthropology, Human Rights, Philosophy, Religious Studies and Theology, World History Studies.

Religious Studies and Theology

Ranked as: #23 in Best National University
Tuition: $26,830
State: VA
Charles Marsh’s Introduction then orients the reader to the idea of lived theology. It is a path of inquiry that addresses the disconnect between the academic study of theology and the ambiguous and chaotic world of lived experience—the theory-practice gap. Lived theology views practices as communicative, meaning that they permit discernment of theological truth concerning God’s presence and activity (6-7). Part 1 attends to method in lived theology.

Reading Religion

Theology, Ethics, and Culture (TEC) at the University of Virginia includes studies of the theological, philosophical, ethical, and cultural traditions that continue to inform religious thought and practice. The area is committed to understanding religious reflection and expression historically, critically, and constructively. Note: The following reflects the policies of the 2016–2017 Graduate Record. Specific requirements may differ for students who entered in other years.
Ranked as: #31 in Best National University
Tuition: $29,412
State: MA
The degree is flexible: half the coursework is made up of core requirements in general theological literacy and competence (in fields such as biblical studies, systematics, moral theology, and Church history) the rest comprises a rich range of electives. You may want to pursue an M.T.S. out of intellectual curiosity, to enrich your personal or professional life, or enhance your work with religious or other nonprofit organizations. 96% of 2019 M.T.S. graduates found placement within six months of graduation.

Master of Theological Studies

International Congress of Medieval Studies Meeting (at Kalamazoo) Religious Education Association Proposals Due College Theology Society Annual Convention North American Patristics Society Annual Meeting. Submissions to College Theology Society Annual Volume Due Catholic Theological Society of American Call for Papers International Congress of Medieval Studies Call for Papers (at Kalamazoo) Catholic Biblical Association Annual Meeting. College Theology Society Call for Papers NEM-MAR Regional AAR SBL Call for Papers North American Patristics Society Call for Papers Engaging Particularities Comparative Theology Conference Call for Papers (at BC) Patristic, Medieval, Renaissance Conference (at Villanova). College Theology Society Paper Proposals Due NEM-MAR Regional AAR SBL Proposals Due Engaging Particularities Comparative Theology Conference Proposals Due (at BC) Pappas Patristic Conference Call for Papers (at Holy Cross).

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