Theology Schools in NYC with Degree Program Overviews

The New York City area has more than five colleges that offer theology degree programs. To make an informed education decision, learn about the admission and program requirements at three of these schools located within 15 miles of downtown.

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NYC Schools with Theology Degrees

Students in New York City who are looking for theology degree programs have several options to consider. Read about the required coursework and topics at three schools -- all of which are located within half an hour of the city center. There is also a table of facts and figures about the institutions, as well as some details on a few other school options in the area.

  • Manhattan's The General Theological Seminary, located about three miles from downtown NYC, is an institution associated with the Episcopal Church. The school offers master's degrees focused on theology and divinity as well as a doctoral program in theology.
  • Union Theological Seminary, located in the Morningside Heights section of NYC about eight miles from the center of the city, is an independent Christian seminary. Students can earn master's and doctoral degrees focused in various areas of theology and divinity. There's also a dual-degree program that combines the study of social work with divinity.
  • Fordham University is a Jesuit university routed in the Catholic tradition located in the Bronx. Fordham offers theology bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. The campus is roughly 15 miles from central NYC.

The General Theological Seminary

The General Theological Seminary is a small school that enrolls less than 200 students. The General Seminary is in close physical proximity to other NYC resources, such as the New York Public Library, New York University and other major seminaries.

Master of Arts

GTS offers a Master of Arts program in six concentrations. Students can choose concentration in Anglican studies, ascetical theology, biblical studies, congregational development, historical and theological studies, or spiritual direction. This program is designed for people seeking personal spiritual growth or preparing to work in non-clergy occupations.

Master of Divinity

This program is primarily designed for students who are preparing for ordination. Students develop ministry practices and pastoral identity through courses in leadership, ascetical and systematic theology, liturgics, ethics and preaching. Full-time students can complete this program in three years.

Master of Sacred Theology

Students who have completed the Master of Divinity or Master of Arts program can enroll in this program for further concentration in any of the seminary's disciplines, such as scripture or church history. Full-time students typically complete this program in one year. The school offers thesis and non-thesis options for this program.

Doctor of Theology

Traditional scholarly preparation is the core of this program. The program prepares students to teach in seminaries or universities. Students specialize in one of the major discipline areas offered by General Seminary.

Union Theological Seminary

Founded in 1836, this multi-denominational NYC seminary serves students from at least nine countries and 44 different religious affiliations. The programs offered at Union Theological Seminary emphasize academic theological instruction for ordained and non-ordained careers in ministry and teaching. Seminary students serve the local community in churches and social service agencies while completing their coursework.

Master of Arts

In this 2-year academic program, students choose a concentration in an area of the seminary's disciplines; options include Old or New Testament studies, Christian ethics and history, theology or practical theology and interreligious dialogue. Program graduates may continue with doctoral studies, transfer to a degree program for ordination or pursue a vocational career in teaching or layperson ministry work.

Master of Divinity

The coursework for this 3-year program is divided into four competencies: religious heritage, cultural context, personal and spiritual formation and capacity for ministerial and public leadership. Graduates of the program pursue careers in parish ministry or ministry services outside of the church.

Master of Divinity and Master of Science in Social Work

This joint master's degree program is designed to allow students to finish in four years with both degrees. The program is offered in conjunction with other schools in the local area, including Columbia University. Beginning in the third year of the program, students complete much of their work at a collaborating school.

Master of Sacred Theology

This 1-year degree program offers a general or research track and is intended for students who already hold graduate degrees in theology. The research track requires foreign language competency and development of an original thesis. The general track emphasizes coursework in seminary studies.

Doctor of Philosophy

Doctoral candidates enroll in one of four programs: history, Bible, theology and practical theology. Students can choose to concentrate in a subdiscipline s in any of these areas. The program is designed for students pursuing leadership positions in social service agencies and churches or for those seeking to teach in seminaries and universities.

Fordham University

Fordham University is a private, Jesuit institution that enrolls more than 15,000 students a year. The school was founded in 1841 and was the first Catholic college in that part of the United States. The school offers one undergraduate degree in theology and several graduate programs through its Department of Theology.

Bachelor of Arts in Theology

The curriculum for the theology major at Fordham University is divided into three tiers. During the first tier, students take required courses, such as faith and critical reason and sacred texts and traditions. During the second tier, students will choose to concentrate in theological studies, sacred texts, faith and culture or American Catholicism. The third tier consists of a capstone seminar.

Master of Arts in Theology

Master of Arts students complete six core courses before choosing one of three concentrations to focus on. Students can choose to concentrate in the historical, systemic or biblical areas of theology. For successful completion of the M.A. program, students need to achieve proficiency in either French or German.

Doctor of Philosophy in Theology

Ph.D. students can choose to concentrate in one of four areas: systematic theology, historical theology/history of Christianity, Christianity in antiquity, and Biblical studies. Students complete 12 doctoral classes, take Ph. D. comprehensive exams and complete a dissertation. For successful completion of the Ph. D. program, students must be proficient in two foreign languages.

Comparison of Schools

Being located in New York City, all the profiled schools offer an urban setting for students to study within. To learn more about the institutions, check out this table containing info on student enrollment and graduate tuition rates.

The General Theological Seminary Union Theological Seminary Fordham University
School Type 4-year; private, not-for-profit 4-year; private, not-for-profit 4-year; private, not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2011) 132* 248* 15,189*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Average Graduate Tuition & Fees (2011-2012) $19,000* $26,480* $26,623*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

Other Schools

New York City students who are interested in pursuing a theology degree might also consider Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in lower Manhattan or St. John's University - New York in Queens.

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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts campus Cambridge
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
        • Theology and Religious Vocations
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
      • Theological, Religious, and Ministerial Studies
  • School locations:
    • California campus Stanford
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania campus Philadelphia
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Geography and Cartography
      • Human and Social Services
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
        • Jewish Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island campus Providence
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Human and Social Services
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
        • Jewish Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina campus Durham
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
      • Theological, Religious, and Ministerial Studies

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