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Theological Studies, Advanced Certificate

18 Credits
St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Queens Campus, Online


This advanced certificate program offers students who have already earned a Master of Arts in Theology or a related field opportunities for extended, specialized graduate study. The program is an excellent choice for those who wish to update their theological knowledge while earning a new credential. It is also well-suited for teachers who wish to develop deeper understanding of a specific area of theology or for pastoral ministers who wish to enhance their professional pastoral competence through further graduate study.

Our program offers considerable flexibility, allowing students to tailor their study according to their unique interests and professional goals. Students can complete their advanced certificates completely online or through a combination of online courses and face-to-face courses on our Queen’s campus.

Our faculty are well known in the field and have active research agendas. As a result, the program curriculum draws upon contemporary theological scholarship, offering students a more rigorous theological education and broader perspective than local seminary education typically provides.

Please note that no federal aid is available to students enrolled in this advanced certificate program.

Department Faculty

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


To qualify for the Advanced Certificate in Theological Studies, you must have earned a Master of Arts degree in Theology, a Master of Theological Studies degree, a Master of Divinity, or an appropriate ecclesiastical degree with a 3.0 average or better. You’ll also need to meet the application requirements for Graduate Admission at St. John’s.


Completion of the advanced certificate requires 18 credits beyond the master’s degree. Students in the certificate program register for a required zero-credit proseminar course, which offers an orientation to graduate study and the resources available at SJU for supporting research and student success.

Students complete a minimum of 9 credits in one of the following focus areas:

  • Biblical Studies
  • Historical and Theological Studies
  • Pastoral Theology

The remaining 9 credits are completed through elective courses.

All students must complete a portfolio as a culmination of their graduate work in the certificate program.

Career Outcomes

An advanced graduate certificate in theology allows teachers working in Catholic education to refresh and enhance their credentials. Many Catholic high schools encourage faculty to further their education beyond what is minimally required for teaching positions. This advanced graduate certificate provides teachers with a program of manageable scope. 

The certificate also benefits those who wish to shift careers within theology-related fields.  For example, someone with an M.A. already working as an educator could leverage this additional credential as a transition into chaplaincy or parish ministry. 

Additional Information

St. John’s University offers a 50 percent tuition discount for clergy, Catholic educators, parish religious education personnel, and members of religious orders.