Theology and Historical Theology, M.A., Ph.D.

Saint Louis University’s Master of Arts in theology and Doctor of Philosophy in historical theology focus primarily on the academic study of the Christian tradition in its historical and cultural contexts, and prepare graduates to work as ministers or teachers.

About the Program

SLU’s Master of Arts in theology offers two tracks. The religious education track will provide you with a strong background in the discipline of theology, including systematic/constructive theology, theological ethics and scripture.

The research track will train you in academic theology in a way that is both historically conscious and ethically engaged. You’ll take courses in systematic/constructive theology, historical theology, theological ethics and scripture to deepen your understanding of the historical roots and practical implications of theological reflection.

SLU’s Ph.D. program in historical theology investigates the development of the Christian church, its beliefs and theologies, and religious practices in their social settings.


Resources for theology students include the more than 37,000 microfilms of the Vatican Film Library; the archives of the Institute of Jesuit Sources; and more than 150,0000 volumes of the Divinity Library in SLU’s Pius XII Memorial Library (which contains 1.4 million books, journals and other media). The library also provides access to many key research resources, including the Patrologia Latina, Brepolis, Early English Books OnLine, ATLA, Catholic Periodical Index, J-STOR, Index of Christian Art, as well as electronic access to major journals and other indexing tools.

Program Highlights

In advancing the Catholic and Jesuit tradition of Saint Louis University, SLU’s theology department approaches revealed Christian truth with a special emphasis on its relation to human culture and the requirements of social justice.

Master's Curriculum and Program Details

Students who want to continue toward their doctoral work should choose the research track. Students interested in careers in schools, parishes, hospitals, nonprofit organizations or other religious institutions should choose the religious education track.

The religious education track consists of a two-year program of study that includes 33 credit hours of coursework (including 200 credit hours of supervised internship) and comprehensive exams.

The research track consists of a two-year program of study that includes 36 credit hours of coursework and a 50 to 70 page thesis. Students must also demonstrate proficiency in one or two foreign languages. Students in the research track may choose to concentrate in constructive theology, historical theology or theological ethics.

Ph.D. Curriculum and Program Details
SLU’s Doctor of Philosophy studies issues within their own context of time and place while also relating them to the broad developments within the tradition of Christian theology from the early church to the present day. The doctoral program has three areas of specialization: early Christianity, medieval Christianity and modern Christianity.

All Ph.D. students are required to demonstrate competency in twolanguages in addition to English before advancement to the prospectus exam in the third year of study. One language must be ancient and one modern. The language choices are determined by the student's research specialty.
  • Alden Bass, Ph.D.
  • Elizabeth S. Block, Ph.D.
  • Christopher Collins, S.J., S.T.D.
  • Theology Mary Dunn, Ph.D.
  • Daniel J. Finucane, Ph.D.
  • Jay M. Hammond, Ph.D.
  • Erick Hedrick-Moser, Ph.D.
  • J.A. Wayne Hellmann, O.F.M. Conv., Dr. Theol.
  • Grant Kaplan, Ph.D.
  • Pauline C. Lee, Ph.D.
  • Peter W. Martens, Ph.D.
  • Michael McClymond, Ph.D.
  • Leonard C. McKinnis, Ph.D.
  • David Meconi, S.J., D.Phil.
  • Geoffrey D. Miller, Ph.D.
  • William P. O’Brien, S.J., S.T.D.
  • Tomás O’Sullivan, Ph.D.
  • David Oughton, Ph.D.
  • Kenneth Parker, Ph.D.
  • Donald Patten, Ph.D.
  • John Renard, Ph.D.
  • Ruben Rosario-Rodriguez, Ph.D.
  • Randall S. Rosenberg, Ph.D.
  • Julie Hanlon Rubio, Ph.D.
  • Brian Sholl, Ph.D.
  • Daniel L. Smith, Ph.D.
  • Matthew Thiessen, Ph.D.
  • Jeffrey Wickes, Ph.D.
  • Tobias L. Winright, Ph.D.

Many of SLU’s theology graduates work as high school teachers or ministers in schools or churches.  Some work in health care ethics, Christian publishing, social work and political advocacy. Other  graduates of our master’s program have gone on to pursue advanced study in theology at graduate schools across the country.

Graduates of SLU’s theology Ph.D. program are employed as professors, librarians, missionaries and youth ministers. 

Tuition and Fees

Saint Louis University takes pride in being one of Barron's Best Buys in College Education and Kiplinger's Best Values in Private Colleges.

For information regarding the upcoming academic year’s tuition rate, fees and financial aid, visit SLU Financial Services.

2017-2018 Tuition and Fees
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Financial Aid

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Tuition discount

If you are currently working in schools, parishes, hospitals, non-profit organizations or other religious institutions, or plan to work in these areas following graduation, you are eligible for a 60 percent tuition discount.

Tuition scholarship

Full-time students are eligible for tuition scholarships. Occasionally, awards are given to part-time students as well. Tuition scholarship may be applied only to courses required for the degree.

Research assistantships

Students applying to the M.A. in theology program will be considered for the research assistantship program. A small number of half- or quarter- assistantships are available. Stipends may be used to pay tuition and are often combined with tuition scholarship. With permission, students with half assistantships may have other employment outside the university

Employees of the Archdiocese of St. Louis

Saint Louis University and the Catholic Education Office of the Archdiocese of St. Louis sponsor a special program for religious educators working in the Archdiocese of St. Louis that offers a 60 percent tuition discount. Students in this program must select the religious education track. After a course is completed, students may apply to the Catholic Education Office of the Archdiocese of St. Louis for additional reimbursement. 

Applicant Criteria

Successful applicants possess above-average GPA, sufficient GRE or MAT scores and sufficient English proficiency scores (for international applicants).

To apply, you’ll need:

Application Requirements
Application form and fee
Three letters of recommendation
GRE scores
Professional goal statement

Requirements for International Students

Assistantship Application Deadline

Students who want to be considered for an assistantship for the master’s program must submit their application by Feb. 1. Students who want to be considered for an assistantship for the doctoral program must submit their application by Jan. 15.

Review Process

Applications are wholly reviewed by a committee of theology department faculty members.

On-Campus Resources

Interdisciplinary Centers

SLU’s Center for Digital Theology creates products and tools to support teaching and research in historical theology. Theology faculty and graduate students also contribute to other interdisciplinary centers, such as the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and the Center for Women's Studies.