Education

Best Catholic Theology Degree Programs of 2022

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

Catholic theology is the study of the teachings of the Catholic Church. It includes the study of Scripture, Tradition, and the Church’s magisterium. Catholic theologians work to understand and interpret the Church’s teachings, and to apply those teachings to the challenges of contemporary life.

Catholic theology degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in the Church, including ministry, teaching, and research. Students in Catholic theology degree programs learn about the different aspects of the Catholic faith, and how to apply those teachings to the challenges of contemporary life.

How to Choose the Right Catholic Theology Program

When it comes to choosing the right Catholic theology bachelors degree program, there are many factors to consider. The most important factor is probably what you hope to do with your degree after graduation. If you want to become a priest, for example, you will need to attend a seminary. If you want to work in a Catholic school or hospital, you will need to make sure the program you choose is accredited by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.

Other important factors to consider include the cost of the program, the length of the program, and the location of the school. You will also want to make sure that the program you choose offers the courses you need to complete your degree. Most programs require students to take courses in theology, philosophy, and history, among other subjects.

Once you have considered all of these factors, you should be able to narrow down your choices and find the program that is right for you.

Best Bachelor’s in Catholic Theology Programs

The best programs for Catholic Theology 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
Santa Clara University
Santa Clara, CA

The Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) from Santa Clara University is a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical degree that provides students with a solid foundation in theology and Catholic doctrine. The program prepares students for various forms of ministry and further academic study. Admission to the program is based on completion of prerequisite coursework, a personal essay, and an interview.

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 Leo University
Saint Leo, FL

The Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Saint Leo University is an online degree program that helps students better understand themselves, their relationships, and what motivates cultures around the world. The program provides students with a more holistic view of the human experience that can be applied to a variety of careers, such as working in the church, teaching, or social work. The program is flexible and can be completed while balancing work and home life.

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
Florida International University
Miami, FL

The Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Florida International University is an interdisciplinary degree that provides students with a thorough study of the history, beliefs, and practices of the world’s religions. The curriculum is comparative and cross-cultural, with a focus on peace and conflict, and gaining a deeper understanding of communities of multiple religious faiths.

The program requires a total of 120 credits for completion, with 36 credits specifically in religious studies courses. Students must take a capstone course covering advanced methodology in the study of religion.

Rank 10
St. Thomas University
Miami Gardens, FL

The Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from St. Thomas University is an online degree designed for adult learners who have already completed some college coursework. The program is a rigorous and reflective foundation in religious studies that is fundamental to effective leadership in the 21st Century. The curriculum covers topics such as Catholicism, World Religions, the New Testament, and Christian Moral Decision Making.

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

Students in a bachelor’s in Catholic theology program can expect to take classes on the Bible, Church history, and the sacraments, among other topics. The degree typically takes four years to complete, although some programs may offer accelerated options.

Most bachelor’s in Catholic theology programs require students to complete a core curriculum, which may include classes on Old and New Testament studies, Christian ethics, and Catholic social teaching. Students may also be required to choose from a selection of electives, such as courses on the history of the Catholic Church, Catholic liturgy, or Catholic moral theology.

In addition to coursework, many programs require students to complete a practicum or internship. This hands-on experience allows students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-world settings.

Students in a bachelor’s in Catholic theology program should possess strong critical thinking and writing skills. They should also be able to effectively communicate their ideas, both in writing and orally.

Common Catholic Theology Courses

A bachelor’s degree in Catholic theology typically covers a wide range of topics related to the history, scripture, and tradition of the Catholic Church. The following is a list of five courses that are often included in such programs.

History of Christianity

This course covers the major events, figures, and movements in the history of Christianity from its beginnings through the present day. Emphasis is placed on the social, political, and intellectual context of Christian history and the ways in which Christianity has interacted with other religions and cultures. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of Christianity’s development over time and its impact on the world.

Introduction to the Bible

This course covers the major themes, stories, characters, and events of the Bible. Emphasis is placed on the social, political, and religious context of the Bible, as well as its literary structure and genre. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the Bible as a whole, its major themes and characters, and its place in the history of Western civilization.

Systematic Theology

This course is an introduction to the study of God from a Catholic perspective. The course will cover topics such as the nature of God, the Trinity, creation, humanity, and sin. The course will also cover the Incarnation, Redemption, and the Sacraments. Upon completion of the course, students should be able to explain and defend the Catholic doctrine on these topics.

New Testament

This course covers the study of the New Testament. Emphasis is placed on the books of the New Testament, their content, and their place in the Bible. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the New Testament and its place in the Bible.

Old Testament

This course is an introduction to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) with attention given to its content, literary forms, and theological significance. Emphasis is placed on the Pentateuch, the Historical Books, Wisdom Literature, and the Prophets. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the content and major themes of the Old Testament and explain its significance for the life of faith.

Career Options for Catholic Theology Graduates

Graduates of Catholic Theology 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 Priest

Catholic priests provide religious leadership within the Catholic Church. They are responsible for administering the sacraments, preaching sermons, and providing spiritual guidance to parishioners. Catholic priests may also work in Catholic schools or hospitals, or they may be assigned to a specific ministry, such as working with the poor or the sick. In some cases, priests may also be involved in social justice work or other activism.

Youth Minister

Youth ministers typically work for a church or other religious organization and are responsible for planning, organizing, and leading programs and activities for youth members. They may also provide counseling, guidance, and support to individual youth or groups of youth and their families. In some cases, youth ministers may also be responsible for teaching religious education classes.

Retreat Leader

Retreat leaders work with groups of people—often strangers—to facilitate personal growth, healing, and transformation. Retreat leaders may work in a variety of settings, including but not limited to: yoga studios, meditation centers, health resorts, outdoor education programs, and recovery centers. They may lead one-time workshops or multi-day retreats on topics such as yoga, meditation, nutrition, self-care, and personal development. Retreat leaders typically have a background in the topic they’re teaching, as well as experience leading groups of people.

Missionary

Missionaries work for religious organizations to promote their faith and recruit new members. Missionaries typically travel to foreign countries to proselytize, or they may work in their own communities to spread their religion’s message. Missionaries typically work for a specific religious organization, such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and they may receive training from their organization on how to effectively share their faith.

Chaplain

Chaplains are religious leaders who provide spiritual guidance and support to people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, prisons, the military, and schools. Chaplains are usually ordained ministers, but some may come from other religious backgrounds, such as Judaism or Islam. In addition to providing comfort and support to people during difficult times, chaplains also offer advice on ethical and moral issues, perform religious rites and ceremonies, and act as a resource on religious matters.

Insights From a Catholic Theology Graduate

Sage Cortez is a Religious Education Coordinator at the Diocese of Brooklyn. She has a bachelor’s degree in Catholic theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University. Sage has over 15 years of experience in religious education.

ClimbtheLadder: How did you make the most of your Catholic Theology degree program so that it prepared you for post-graduation jobs?

Sage Cortez: I made the most of my degree program by immersing myself in the studies and taking advantage of every opportunity to learn more about my faith. I also took advantage of opportunities to put my faith into action through service projects and missionary work. These experiences helped me to develop a deep love for my faith and a desire to share it with others.

ClimbtheLadder: What type of person is successful and thrives in a Catholic Theology career?

Sage Cortez: A person who is successful in a Catholic Theology career is someone who is passionate about their faith and has a desire to share that faith with others. They must be able to articulate the teachings of the Church in a way that is clear and understandable, and they must be patient and open-minded when working with people of different backgrounds and levels of understanding.

ClimbtheLadder: Was there anything about your Catholic Theology program that you didn’t expect or anticipate?

Sage Cortez: I expected to learn a lot about the Catholic Church and its teachings, but I didn’t expect to learn so much about other religions. In my program, we had classes on other Christian denominations, as well as Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. I found it really interesting to learn about the similarities and differences between all of these religions.

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