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Theology, Master of Arts

Theology and Religious Studies


Earn a master's degree in Theology from St. John's University in New York City! 

St. John's Master of Arts (M.A.) program in Theology combines the academic rigor of a world-class university with lively concern for informed and effective pastoral ministry in the twenty-first century Church. The program is flexible enough to fit the needs of those interested in pursuing research degrees, professional ministry, high school teaching, or parish service. 

As a master's student in Theology at St. John's, you examine the richness of the Catholic faith and its theological heritage in the light of modern human experience. Our program provides an environment of academic excellence flexible enough to meet the needs of those interested in pursuing research degrees, professional ministry, or parish service. We encourage high academic achievement and heightened sensitivity to the needs for social justice and peace in the world around us.


Rev. Patrick S. Flanagan, CM, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair
St. John Hall, Room B26
[email protected]

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Our program is structured to allow you considerable latitude in shaping your studies to match your academic interests and professional goals. Along with your peers, you will orient yourself in the program through an Introductory Proseminar and then select 33 credits of coursework in consultation with a faculty advisor.

Our offerings are categorized into three concentrations:

  • Biblical Studies
  • Historical/Theological Studies (includes Historical Theology, Systematic Theology, Moral Theology, and Spirituality)
  • Pastoral Theology (includes Catechetical, Liturgical, and Pastoral Studies).

You take at least one course in each area, five additional courses in your chosen concentration, and three electives. You may also choose to write a thesis in lieu of one of the three elective classes.

Department Faculty

Please see a list of our Theology and Religious Studies faculty.


Applicants for the M.A. in Theology normally must have a bachelor’s degree which includes 24 credits in theology, philosophy, or related subjects, and an overall B (3.0) average in their undergraduate studies. Any deficiencies in preparation may require you to take supplementary course work as a condition for admission, as determined by the department.

We also require:

  • Two letters of recommendation (preferably from a professor who can speak to your ability to perform graduate-level work).
  • A personal statement of 300-500 words in length, describing your academic background and interest in studying theology. The statement also should address how pursuing this degree connects with your professional and personal goals. 

Visit Graduate Admission for more information. 

Tuition and Financial Aid

Reflecting our Vincentian Mission, St. John's has a long tradition of bringing a high quality, private education within the financial reach of all our students. The following opportunities are open specifically to theology and religious studies students, but additional financial aid opportunities may be available. For more information, please visit Tuition and Financial Aid.

Graduate assistantships are offered to a limited number of students. They are awarded based on several factors, including grade point average, Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores, and recommendations. Graduate assistantships cover full tuition and provide a small stipend for other expenses. Graduate assistants must be full-time students. Visit Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships for more information. 

Clergy and professed members of religious communities receive a 50% discount on graduate tuition.  The same 50% discount is available to any graduate student who works as a teacher at a Catholic school or in a parish-based religious education program.

Established in 1987 in memory of a long-time professor at St. John’s University, this award provides partial annual scholarship support for outstanding students concentrating in any area of theology.  Awards are made on a competitive basis and are renewable for the entire program.

Named in honor of a former chair of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at St. John's, the Kugelman scholarship provides full or partial tuition for highly qualified students interested in Scripture study. Awards are made on a competitive basis and are renewable for the entire program. 

Career Outcomes

In today's rapidly changing world, a background in Theology and Religious Studies is an important component of a well-rounded liberal arts education. Professionals in a wide range of fields including business, education, law, and medicine draw upon religious values as they make decisions that have a global impact.

Our graduates are pastors, pastoral associates, liturgical ministers, youth ministers, and directors of religious education in parishes in North America, Europe, and Africa. They teach in high schools, colleges, seminaries, and universities. Many pursue further study at the doctoral level, while others combine a degree in theology with a professional degree in law or social work. 

Online Learning

Earn Your Degree Online

Pursue your St. John’s degree entirely on your computer. Our fully accredited Online Learning programs allow you to take courses electronically. Log in at your convenience to enter our virtual classrooms, learn from our accomplished faculty, and engage with classmates.

Our online courses offer the same high academic quality that students experience on campus. Professors deliver lectures and post assignments via Blackboard, our electronic course management system. Students use it to attend virtual classes, share documents, take exams, and exchange ideas with faculty and classmates.

A Fully Academic Experience

You also enjoy the outstanding services available to all St. John’s students, for example:

  • Eligibility for scholarships and financial aid
  • Tuition and fees identical to those for on-campus courses
  • Access to library collections, career services, mentoring, and other academic resources.