Best Catholic Studies Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Catholic Studies programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Catholic studies is the academic study of the Catholic Church. It includes the study of Catholic theology, history, and philosophy. Catholic studies degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in the Church, including ministry, teaching, and research.

Catholic studies degrees offer a broad overview of the Catholic Church, covering topics such as Catholic theology, history, and philosophy. Students in Catholic studies degree programs learn about the different aspects of the Catholic Church, and how to apply those aspects to their own lives.

How to Choose the Right Catholic Studies Program

When choosing a Catholic Studies program, there are many things to consider. The most important factor is probably what you hope to gain from the program. Are you looking for a broad overview of the Catholic faith? Or are you looking to focus on a specific area, such as Catholic social teaching or Catholic theology?

Other important factors to consider include the cost of the program, the length of the program, and the location of the program. Some programs may offer scholarships or financial aid, so be sure to research those options. You’ll also want to make sure the program you choose is accredited by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.

Once you’ve considered all of these factors, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices and find the Catholic Studies program that’s right for you.

Best Bachelor’s in Catholic Studies Programs

The best programs for Catholic Studies ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
Benedictine College
Atchison, KS

The Bachelor of Arts in Theology, Bachelor of Arts in Theology degree from Benedictine College is a Catholic theology degree that provides students with an understanding of the Gospel principles. The degree is designed to prepare students for careers in teaching, parish work, youth ministry, and graduate studies. The coursework for the degree includes classes on the history of the Catholic Church, Christian moral life, and the theology of Vatican II.

Rank 2
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Steubenville, OH

The Bachelor of Arts in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville is a 100% online program that seeks to deepen students’ understanding and love of God. The program is focused on the Catholic faith and is designed to help students appreciate the beauty of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit. Additionally, the program offers the opportunity to earn a Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree through the 4 +1 program.

Rank 3
Lewis University
Romeoville, IL

Lewis University’s Bachelor of Arts in Theology, Bachelor of Arts in Theology degree program is designed for students who want a more personalized, progressive, and relevant understanding of Christian and Roman Catholic theology. Through their coursework, students will explore their own personal faith and values while examining religion’s role in society and learning from some of the best theological minds in the country.

Rank 4
Marian University
Indianapolis, IN

Marian University’s Bachelor of Arts in Theology program is designed to help students think theologically and critically. The program includes core theological courses as well as courses in other related areas such as history, ethics, and social issues. Students can also choose to specialize in biblical studies or teaching religion/theology in Catholic schools. The program culminates in a senior seminar and capstone project.

Rank 5
Saint Edward’s University
Austin, TX

The Bachelor of Arts in Catholic Studies from Saint Edward’s University is an interdisciplinary degree that examines Catholicism from the perspectives of literature, history, philosophy, and theology. The goal of the program is to prepare students for careers in ministry, teaching, advocacy, or nonprofits that serve the community. The flexible curriculum also allows students to pursue graduate studies and become scholars who share their knowledge with others.

Rank 6
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine
Standish, ME

The Bachelor of Arts in Theological Studies from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine is an online program that provides students with a solid foundation in Catholic doctrine and theology. The program is designed for those who wish to serve the needs of the Catholic Church and society. The curriculum includes courses on Catholic doctrine, the Old and New Testaments, Catholic moral theology, the sacraments, and the history and social teaching of the Church. The program also offers a fast-track option for those considering continuing on to the Master of Arts in Theology or Master of Divinity.

Rank 7
Saint Louis University
Saint Louis, MO

The Bachelor of Arts in Catholic Studies from Saint Louis University provides students with a broad overview of the Catholic tradition, from philosophy and theology to art and music to economics and medicine. The goal of the program is to empower students to see the world clearly and to understand otherwise disparate sectors of reality in relation to one another and to the implications of Christ’s Incarnation. The program also prepares students to engage in the world as informed and thoughtful Catholics.

Rank 8
Belmont Abbey College
Belmont, NC

The Bachelor of Arts in Theology, Bachelor of Arts in Theology degree from Belmont Abbey College is a program that is interested in the study of Scripture and everything it reveals about God. In the theology program at Belmont Abbey College, students will become familiar with the teachings of the Catholic Church and the theologians who explained and defended them. The program requirements leave space for theology majors to pursue a minor or a major in another discipline.

Rank 9
Seton Hall University
South Orange, NJ

The Bachelor of Arts in Catholic Studies from Seton Hall University is a degree that is custom-built according to each student’s academic and professional goals. The Department of Catholic Studies was established at Seton Hall University in 2012 during the Year of Faith and the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II.

Rank 10
The College of Saint Scholastica
Duluth, MN

The College of Saint Scholastica’s Bachelor of Arts in Catholic Studies is an interdisciplinary program that is perfect for students who want to learn more about the Catholic faith while also exploring other religious traditions. The program is grounded in the liberal arts and prepares students to become leaders who are inspired by the Gospel. Graduates of the program have gone on to work in parishes, elementary and high schools, social service agencies, and medical school.

What to Expect From a Bachelor’s in Catholic Studies Program

Students enrolled in a bachelor’s in Catholic studies program can expect to take a variety of courses that explore the history, theology, and philosophy of the Catholic Church. The degree typically takes four years to complete and may require between 120 and 128 credits.

Most programs begin with general education courses in English, math, and the sciences. Students then move on to core classes in Catholic studies, which may cover topics such as the Bible, Church history, and Catholic social teaching. In addition, many programs offer electives in areas such as Catholic literature, art, and music.

Many bachelor’s in Catholic studies programs also require students to complete an internship or practicum. These experiences provide students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a professional setting and gain valuable experience working with the Catholic Church.

Overall, a bachelor’s in Catholic studies provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the Catholic faith. The degree can lead to careers in a variety of fields, such as education, ministry, and social work.

Common Catholic Studies Courses

A degree in Catholic studies will provide you with a comprehensive education in the Catholic faith. Classes will cover a wide range of topics, from the history of the Church to the theology of the sacraments. Below is a sampling of the types of courses you can expect to find in a Catholic studies program.

The Sacraments

This course covers the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Matrimony, and Holy Orders. Emphasis is placed on the biblical, historical, and theological foundations of each sacrament. Upon completion, students should be able to explain the origins, development, and meaning of each sacrament as well as the role of the sacraments in the life of the Church.

Catholic Social Ethics

This course examines the major principles and issues of Catholic social ethics. Emphasis is placed on the development of a Catholic perspective on social and economic life, the role of the Church in society, and the ethical dimensions of contemporary social issues. Upon completion, students should be able to apply Catholic social ethical principles to personal, professional, and social decision making.


This course covers the study of the Bible as the inspired word of God, given to the Church for her nourishment and growth. The course will survey the contents of the Bible, with a focus on the Gospels and the New Testament. Students will develop skills in biblical interpretation and learn to apply the Bible to their own lives. The course will also explore the Church’s living tradition of interpretation of Scripture. Upon completion, students should be able to read and interpret the Bible in light of the Church’s tradition, and apply its teachings to their own lives.


This course is an introduction to the study of God. The course will cover such topics as the nature of God, the attributes of God, the Trinity, and the problem of evil. The course will also cover the nature of theology, its methods, and its relationship to other disciplines. Upon completion of the course, students should be able to understand and articulate the nature of God and the nature of theology.

Church History

This course covers the history of the Catholic Church from its origins to the present day. Emphasis is placed on the major events, personalities, movements, and issues that have shaped the Church over the centuries. Upon completion, students should be able to trace the development of the Catholic Church from its origins to the present day and explain the significance of the major events, personalities, movements, and issues that have shaped its history.

Career Options for Catholic Studies Graduates

Graduates of Catholic Studies programs work in a variety of fields and industries, including ministry, education, publishing, and counseling. They may also work in fields such as social work, chaplaincy, and hospital administration.

Catholic School Teacher

Catholic school teachers provide religious and secular instruction to students in kindergarten through twelfth grade in Catholic schools. In addition to teaching academic subjects, such as math, science, English, and social studies, they also teach religious education classes. Catholic school teachers typically work in a school setting, but they may also work in after-school programs, religious organizations, or in private homes.

Youth Minister

Youth ministers typically work for religious organizations, such as churches or synagogues, and are responsible for leading religious education programs and other activities for children and teenagers. They may also be involved in community outreach programs, such as organizing service projects or leading youth groups. In some cases, youth ministers may also provide counseling services to young people.

Camp Counselor

Camp counselors are responsible for the safety and well-being of campers while they are at camp. Counselors may work at day camps or overnight camps and are typically responsible for a group of campers, usually between the ages of 6 and 16. Counselors may also be responsible for leading camp activities, such as arts and crafts, sports, and hiking. In some cases, counselors may also be responsible for planning and organizing camp activities.

Director of Religious Education

The director of religious education (DRE) is the staff person responsible for overseeing and leading the educational program of the church. In most cases, the DRE reports directly to the pastor. The DRE works with the pastor to develop the overall educational vision for the parish and then translates that vision into a reality by working with the catechists, parents, and other volunteers. The DRE is responsible for the religious education of the children in the parish, from preschool through high school.

Pastoral Associate

Pastoral associates work in a religious setting, such as a church, synagogue, or mosque, and support the religious leader, or pastor, in a variety of ways. They might be responsible for administrative tasks, such as bookkeeping or managing the church calendar, as well as leading religious education programs, developing community outreach initiatives, or providing counseling services. In some cases, pastoral associates may also deliver sermons or lead worship services.

Insights From a Catholic Studies Graduate

Ruben Myers is a Program Coordinator at the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. He has a bachelor’s degree in Catholic studies from the University of Notre Dame. Ruben has over 3 years of experience in program coordination and event planning.

ClimbtheLadder: What were the biggest takeaway(s) you got from your Catholic Studies program that you may not have gotten otherwise?

Ruben Myers: The biggest takeaway from my Catholic Studies program was the ability to think critically about my faith. I was able to explore different aspects of the Catholic Church and learn about different interpretations of Catholic teachings. I also gained a better understanding of the Church’s history and how it has changed over time.

ClimbtheLadder: What are the most rewarding aspects of your career? What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

Ruben Myers: The most rewarding aspect of my career is being able to help people grow in their faith and learn more about the Catholic Church. I also enjoy being able to work with a variety of people from different backgrounds. The most challenging aspect of my career is trying to find new and innovative ways to engage people in the faith.

ClimbtheLadder: What misconception(s) do people have about a Catholic Studies degree, and what would you tell them?

Ruben Myers: I think the biggest misconception about Catholic studies is that it’s only for people who want to become priests or work in a church. While a lot of my classmates did go on to work in ministry, there are a lot of other fields that a Catholic studies degree can lead to.

I’ve found that my degree has been helpful in my work as a program coordinator, because it gives me a unique perspective on how to approach my work from a faith-based perspective. I’m also able to relate to the people I work with, because I have a shared understanding of our faith.


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