Top Theology Universities in 2022-2023

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Best Theology schools and universities in the world

What is Theology?

Theology and religious studies are the ancient academic disciplines concerning spirituality, traditions, culture, and religion. It explores the nature of the divine and analyses the supernatural. Learning about theology and religion studies helps theologians understand its effect on culture and religion on society to answer some big questions in life. In addition, theologians often indulge in intellectual discussions and arguments related to religious topics to understand or critique. Theology can be considered broader than religious studies to include ethics and philosophy. 

Students often study theology to become professors or prepare themselves for the priesthood. Several colleges and universities globally offer undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral level programs in theology and religion studies.

Duties of a theologist 

Graduates of theology have a few options for their profession. They can either become a clergy member, join any religious establishment or monastery, become a professor at a university, do social work, or become a writer. After graduation, theologians may be involved in some of the following responsibilities:

  • As a clergy member or a member of any other religious establishment, a theologian can lead religious meetings, communicate spiritual teachings to the masses, and study religious texts.
  • Clergy members can also be involved in administrative tasks and community activities. 
  • As professors, they can teach courses in theology, conduct research, and publish their findings.
  • Theology professors need to schedule classes, plan the lessons, and evaluate students based on several parameters.
  • Other responsibilities of theologians pertain to updating themselves on the discoveries and findings in their area and assessing their impact on society. Theologians can even write about their own experiences and knowledge for journals, magazines, or other offline and online print to contribute positively to the community.

Qualities of a theologist

Students with a particular interest in religion, philosophy, and ethics usually take up undergraduate or graduate programs in theology at the best universities in the world. Dedication to the discipline is paramount to a successful career in theology. 

Usually, theologians possess excellent analytical skills and can understand complex ancient religious texts and their implications. In addition, they can comprehend various perspectives and opinions about a topic.

But it is equally essential to have impressive communication skills to express the learnings or findings to the society in a cohesive manner. Theologians should also be logical enough to construct productive arguments and discuss in-depth to draw valuable conclusions.

Theologians can be involved in activities beyond professing religious and spiritual teachings. For administrative tasks, theologians should have time management and multi-tasking skills. In addition, theologians should reflect empathy to stand for a good cause and participate well in community works.

Specializations in Theology

Studying theology presents an opportunity for those students who wish to understand, practice, and progress their religion to advanced levels. Several specializations and focus areas are available at the top universities worldwide, but most of these can be categorized into two:

Religion studies

Simply put, religion studies focus on one religion. It could be Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or any Asian religion. Students of theology can choose to study their faith or explore other beliefs. Whether undergraduate-level or graduate-level, a degree teaches students the doctrines and principles that make up the religion’s core. It systematically explains the history of religion and its modern definitions.

Practical Theology

Practical theology explores how faith is put into action. It tries to establish a connection between culture, society, and how religion impacts or shapes it. Practical theology can be considered an interdisciplinary branch and includes subtopics of language, region, culture, social work, philosophy, ethics, economics, public health, education, etc. 

Top theology and religious studies programs in the world

Bachelor’s level

Most bachelor’s programs in theology, divinity studies, and religious studies are designed as a bachelor’s in Theology or religious studies. Some universities offer specialized undergraduate degrees in theology, such as Judaic studies, Islamic studies, South Asian studies, etc.

  • Bachelor of Theology
  • Bachelor of Arts in Religion
  • Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Theological Studies

Master’s level

Master’s degrees in Theology often focus on specializing in an area of religion, country, or culture. Many universities offer research-based master’s degrees. The duration of a typical master of theology degree can be about two years, although shorter duration courses are available in the UK. Specializations in graduate theological studies are much more diverse than at the undergraduate level. Interdepartmental fields, such as theology with philosophy, social work, public health, gender studies, etc., are available.

  • Master of Theology
  • Master of Sacred Theology
  • Master of Religion
  • Master of Arts in Religious Studies
  • Master of Ministry

Doctoral Level

The list below highlights the typical theology and religious studies programs available at the doctoral level. Some countries have more scope of specialization than others. There are more universities in the US and the UK offering doctoral-level programs in theology than in Australia and Canada.

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Religious Studies
  • Doctor of Theology (Th.D.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Religion

Subjects in Theology and religious studies

Each university may have a different approach to the theology and religious studies curriculum. Not every university offers the same subjects. However, below is a glimpse of the possible courses, subjects, or topics that a student may have to study during a degree in theology:  

  • History of religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism)
  • The figure of Jesus through the centuries
  • Systematic theology and ethics
  • Biblical studies
  • theology and ethics
  • Religion and Migration
  • Religion and Politics in Global Perspective
  • Religion, Theology and Social Media
  • Religion and Ecology
  • Extremism, Democracy, Religion

Duration of Theology and religious studies

Country Bachelor’s Level Master’s Level Doctoral Level
United States 4 years 2-4 years 3-5 years
Canada 4 years 2-3 years 3-4 years
United Kingdom 3-4 years 1 year 3-5 years
Australia 4 years 2-4 years 3-6 years

The average salary of theologists

Professions in theology are varied, ranging from a pastor to a professor. But most jobs in theology require at least a bachelor’s degree from a reputed university. Find below a summary of the average salary after a bachelor’s program in theology.

United States– $56,000

Canada– $35,000

United Kingdom– $34,000

Australia– $57,000

World rankings of the best theology and religious studies universities

QS World Shanghai Ranking US News Ranking University Country Bachelor’s program Master’s program
1 7 5 University of Oxford United Kingdom Click here Click here
2 1 1 Harvard University United States Click here Click here
3 301-400 284 University of Notre Dame United States Click here Click here
4 87 NA KU Leuven Belgium Click here Click here
5 3 8 University of Cambridge United Kingdom Click here Click here
6 11 12 Yale University United States Click here Click here
7 301-400 263 Durham University United Kingdom Click here Click here
8 32 23 Duke University United States Click here Click here
9 90 224 The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel Click here Click here
10 151-200 180 Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen Germany Click here Click here
11 101-150 74 Emory University United States Click here Click here
12 6 16 Princeton University United States Click here Click here
13 5 4 University of California, Berkeley (UCB) United States Click here Click here
14 10 15 University of Chicago United States Click here Click here
15 401-500 625 Boston College United States Click here Click here
16 38 32 The University of Edinburgh United Kingdom Click here Click here
17 101-150 149 University of Göttingen Germany Click here Click here
18 2 3 Stanford University United States Click here Click here
19 301-400 NA University of St Andrews United Kingdom Click here Click here
20 82 94 University of Helsinki Finland Click here Click here
21 95 65 Boston University United States Click here Click here
22 57 54 Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg Germany Click here Click here
23 151-200 167 Université catholique de Louvain Belgium Click here Click here
24 54 64 University of Zurich Switzerland Click here Click here
25 22 16 University of Toronto Canada Click here Click here
26 501-600 479 Australian Catholic University Australia Click here Click here
27 201-300 314 Georgetown University United States Click here Click here
28 NA 970 International Islamic University Malaysia Malaysia Click here Click here
29 NA 78 Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Germany Click here Click here
30 151-200 201 University of Vienna Austria Click here Click here
31 201-300 253 University of Aberdeen United Kingdom Click here Click here
32 101-150 84 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Netherlands Click here Click here
33 47 33 King’s College London United Kingdom Click here Click here
34 101-150 91 University of Birmingham United Kingdom Click here Click here
35 48 46 Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München Germany Click here Click here
36 151-200 172 Tel Aviv University Israel Click here Click here
37 NA 1024 The Catholic University of America United States Click here Click here
38 NA 1127 Fordham University United States Click here Click here
39 101-150 82 The Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong Click here Click here
40 NA 211 Universiti Malaya (UM) Malaysia Click here Click here
41 61 90 University of Oslo Norway Click here Click here
42 83 82 Leiden University Netherlands Click here Click here
43 151-200 227 University of Münster Germany Click here Click here
44 64 88 University of Groningen Netherlands Click here Click here
45 151-200 124 Sapienza University of Rome Italy Click here Click here
46 101-150 253 Université de Strasbourg France Click here Click here
47 NA 1358 Gadjah Mada University Indonesia Click here Click here
48 67 51 McGill University Canada Click here Click here
49 8 6 Columbia University United States Click here Click here
50 65 73 Vanderbilt University United States Click here Click here

Best Theology universities in the USA

There are several top-ranking bachelor’s and master’s programs in theology for students who wish to study in the US.

The annual cost of bachelor’s programs in theology in the US can be approximately USD 50,000 to 60,000. Undergraduate degrees in theology and religious studies are designed as Bachelor of Arts degrees, such as Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies or a Bachelor of Arts in Theology. These programs are four years in duration.

Below are some popular master’s degrees: 

  • Master of Arts (MA) in Divinity
  • Masters Degree Program in Religion and Ecology
  • Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.)
  • Master of Theology (Th.M.)
  • JD/Master of Theological Studies

Although most master’s degrees in religion take two years to complete, certain specialized degrees can take up to four years. The annual tuition fees for master’s degrees in theology in the US are approximately USD 25,000-34,000. 

Upon graduating, an entry-level theologian can expect to receive a salary of USD 35,000, which can grow to USD 80,000-104,000 with experience. The national average for bachelor’s in theology graduates is USD 56,000.

QS World Shanghai Ranking US News Ranking University Bachelor’s program Master’s program
2 1 1 Harvard University Click here Click here
3 301-400 284 University of Notre Dame Click here Click here
6 11 12 Yale University Click here Click here
8 32 23 Duke University Click here Click here
11 101-150 74 Emory University Click here Click here

Best Theology universities in Canada

Some commonly available undergraduate level courses for students who wish to pursue theological studies in Canada are

  • Bachelor’s in Religion, Literature, and the Arts
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Religious Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Culture
  • Bachelor of Arts in Theological Studies

The annual cost of studying bachelor’s programs in theology in Canada is lower than the US, at approximately CAD 21,000 to 57,000 (USD 16,616-45,102*). Most programs are four years in length.

Most master’s degrees for theology in Canada are available at tuition costs of CAD 24,000 to 40,000 (USD 18,990-31,650*) per year. However, some universities offer programs at CAD 9,000 to 13,000 (USD 7,121-10,286*). Typically, one can find the below-listed graduate degrees in Canada

  • Master of Theology
  • Master of Arts (M.A.), Religious Studies
  • Masters in Ancient Culture, Religion and Ethnicity
  • MA in Religious Studies

 An entry-level theologian draws a salary of CAD 30,000 (USD 23,738*), with the national average peaking at CAD 50,000 (USD 39,563*). More experienced job profiles can earn CAD 88,000 (USD 69,631*).

*Note- Tuition costs and salary figures in CAD have been converted to USD at the current exchange rate of 1 CAD = 0.79 USD. Exchange rates may vary from time to time and country to country.

QS World Shanghai Ranking US News Ranking University Bachelor’s program Master’s program
25 22 16 University of Toronto Click here Click here
48 67 51 McGill University Click here Click here
51-100 42 35 University of British Columbia Click here Click here
101-130 92 33 McMaster University Click here Click here
101-130 201-300 199 University of Ottawa Click here Click here

Best Theology universities in the UK 

Reputed universities like Oxford offer ample avenues within the department of theology and religious studies. Undergraduate degrees are usually three to four years long, and graduate-level courses are usually nine to twelve months long, as with many master’s degrees in the UK. However, some master’s degrees in Theology in the UK can sometimes long up to 3 years depending on the university.

Annual tuition costs for the top-ranking universities offering bachelor’s programs in theology in the UK are in the range of GBP 24,000-40,000 (USD 31,249-52,082*). Popularly available theology undergraduate courses are

  • Bachelor of Theology (BTh)
  • Bachelor’s in Religion and Oriental Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion
  • Bachelor of Arts, Theological Studies in Philosophy and Ethics

Some of the best graduate-level courses in Theology are

  • MSt in Theology
  • MPhil in Theology
  • MTh in Applied Theology
  • MSc in Religious Studies
  • MA Religions and Theology

Tuition fees of the top-ranking master’s programs in theology in the UK can range from GBP 21,000 to 29,000 (USD 27,343-22,946*) per academic year.

The entry-level salary in the UK for a graduate with a Bachelor of Theology is around GBP 20,000 (USD 26,041*). The average salaries in the UK are GBP 26,000 (USD 33,853*)

*Note- Tuition costs and salary figures in GBP have been converted to USD at the current exchange rate of 1 GBP = 1.30 USD. Exchange rates may vary from time to time and country to country.

QS World Shanghai Ranking US News Ranking University Bachelor’s program Master’s program
1 7 5 University of Oxford Click here Click here
5 3 8 University of Cambridge Click here Click here
7 301-400 263 Durham University Click here Click here
16 38 32 The University of Edinburgh Click here Click here
19 301-400 NA University of St Andrews Click here Click here

Best Theology universities in Australia

Education in theology at the undergraduate level costs AUD 23,400-48,000 (USD 17,216-35,315*)  per academic year. Some of the best four-year bachelor’s programs in theology in Australia are

  • Bachelor of Theology
  • Bachelor of Arts (Islamic Studies)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Religion
  • Bachelor of Arts in Hebrew, and Jewish Studies

Graduate degrees take two to four years to complete and can annually cost AUD 23,400 to 46,000 (USD 17,216-33,843*). Some popular master’s programs in theology in Australia include

  • Master of Theological Studies
  • Master of Religious Education
  • Master of Ministry
  • Master of Arts (Theological Studies)

Fresh graduates in theology should expect a salary of AUD 40,000 (USD 29,429*). The average salaries for theology graduates are AUD 67,000 (USD 53,015*).

*Note- Tuition costs and salary figures in AUD have been converted to USD at the current exchange rate of 1 AUD = 0.74 USD. Exchange rates may vary from time to time and country to country.

QS World Shanghai Ranking US News Ranking University Bachelor’s program Master’s program
26 501-600 479 Australian Catholic University Click here Click here
51-100 33 25 The University of Melbourne Click here Click here
51-100 69 28 The University of Sydney Click here Click here
101-130 80 40 Monash University Click here Click here

Annual cost of theology and religious studies programs

The table given below outlines the undergraduate and graduate-level tuition fees for studying theology or religious studies. One should note that these tuition costs have been estimated based on the top-ranking university for each listed country. These costs do not include the cost of living and other ancillary expenses that may be incurred in the college of choice. Also, some other reputed universities may offer bachelor’s and master’s programs at much lower tuition costs.

Country Bachelor’s level (in USD*) Master’s level (in USD*)
United States $50,000-60,000 $25,000-34,000
Canada $16,000-45,000 $18,990-31,650
United Kingdom $29,000-42,000 $27,000-38,000
Australia 17216-35315 17216-33843

*Note: Tuition fees of Canada, UK, and Australia mentioned in this table have been converted from their local currencies to USD using the current exchange rates. These exchange rates are subject to change.

Academic Requirements for studying theology in top-ranked universities

Bachelor’s level

Entry to bachelor’s in theology or religious study is straightforward. Most universities do not have any entrance examinations for theology programs at the undergraduate level. However, candidates may be invited for interviews with the faculty of theology and religious studies or the faculty of art.

The admission criteria are usually stated as follows

  • Applicants must have passed the 12th standard qualification.
  • Applicants must show English proficiency with minimum scores of 7 in IELTS or equivalent in other English language tests.

Some universities, such as Oxford, may not accept State Board high school completion certificates.

Master’s level

Universities may conduct personal interviews for selections. Applicants may be required to graduate from a relevant bachelor’s degree program to be eligible for a master’s degree in theology or religious studies. 

  • Résumé or curriculum vitae
  • Complete academic history with transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Writing sample
  • IELTS scores (minimum 7.5) or equivalent
  • GRE General Test Scores (if required by the university)

Doctoral level

  • Bachelor’s degree and master’s degree or its equivalent with an academic record of outstanding quality
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) may be required
  • the minimum iBT TOEFL score is 105 and the minimum IELTS score is 7.5.
  • Letters of recommendation
  • A brief writing sample with the format specified by the university
  • A statement of purpose outlining their proposed project is also required.

Frequently Asked Questions

The cost of a typical bachelor of arts in theology or bachelor of arts in religion from a top-ranking university can be $50,000 to $60,000. The best universities to study theology in the US are Harvard University, the University of Notre Dame, Yale University, and Duke University.

Most Bachelor’s in Theology graduates go for a career in teaching and can take up any of the elementary, middle school, or higher-secondary specializations. They can even become college professors. Beyond teaching, several opportunities exist in the administrative, managerial, and creative fields. These include charity fundraisers or officers, community development workers, youth workers, newspaper journalists, or editorial assistants.

No. Most top-ranking universities have not specified any subject prerequisites for gaining admission to bachelor in theology programs. Applicants must have a good academic record and have passed the 12th standard. Other requirements include proof of English language proficiency with an IELTS score of at least 7.0 or equivalent.