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  • Bachelor of Arts

The Theology Program

The Theology Program at Saint Vincent College offers thoughtful and comprehensive scholarship on the Catholic theological tradition in a Benedictine context. With a focus on Scripture, classic theological texts, and ethical application, students majoring in theology will not just learn about the Catholic theological tradition; they will also be able to relate it to contemporary life and issues.

Our theology professors, who are experts in their fields, will guide all theology students on their way to graduation, from advising to arranging internship opportunities. Studying on a Benedictine campus means you will get to experience first-hand what it means to live a life in faith. We encourage students to double-major—from philosophy, to communication, to psychology, to English, to history, to biology, and to marketing, just to name a few possibilities. Beyond the classroom, Saint Vincent Campus Ministry and other service-learning opportunities allow you to carry what you learned into your community. To see all the exciting things happening in our department, check out our Instagram page here:

What Can I Do With a Major in Theology?

The Theology Department at Saint Vincent College offers a rigorous and engaging course of study in theology, embracing St. Anselm’s famous description of theology as “faith seeking understanding.” In the spirit of the Benedictine tradition, the department teaches students to integrate faith and reason. With a major in theology students can:

  • Teach religion in high school
  • Do ministry in the Church
  • Attend graduate school
  • Deepen their understanding of the faith

But beyond focusing on faith-related topics, the Theology Program at Saint Vincent College offers students the opportunity to broaden their critical thinking and writing skills along with conveying the importance of community service. Developing these skills allows theology graduates to pursue careers in a variety of fields ranging from law school to non-profit organizations. 

Curriculum Requirements

  • Requirements for a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theology

    Theology Major Requirements (30 credits)

    The basic requirements are below. Majors wishing to focus on ministry, graduate school, or teaching high school need further courses chosen in conjunction with their advisor.

    Foundational Doctrines Course: CORE 1103 (Basics of Catholic Faith)

    Foundational Scripture Course: Either CORE 1104 (Saints and Sinners of the Bible) or CORE 1105 (Biblical Foundations of Spirituality).

    Three Theology Seminars (see below for more detail)

    Five Theology Electives


  • Requirements for a Minor in Theology

    Theology Minor Requirements (18 credits)

    Foundational Theology Course: Either CORE 1103 (Basics of Catholic Faith), CORE 1104 (Saints and Sinners of the Bible), or CORE 1105 Biblical Foundations of Spirituality

    Two Theology Seminars (see below for more detail)

    Three Theology Electives

  • Theology Seminars

    A special feature of the Saint Vincent Theology Department and curriculum is the offering of theology seminars. Offered every semester, these seminars are taught by our full-time theology faculty on a topic of their choosing that emerges out of their own research interests and appeals to students. Seminars in the past have covered the theology of Joseph Ratzinger, the spiritual writings of Thomas Merton, and the Book of Job, to name a few examples. The seminars represent a “deep dive” into interesting theological topics that promote close reading, class discussion, and theological research. These courses are limited to theology majors and minors; the small class size allows for personalized attention and fellowship in the department, along with robust conversation around key theological texts and questions. Each seminar concludes with a synthetic essay; for majors, the collection of their three seminar essays will comprise their final portfolio.

Program Highlights

SVC Theology Majors in Graduate School

Equipped with their broad theological knowledge and sharp research skills, many of our majors thrive in graduate studies in theology, with both academic and ministerial concentrations, in top-ranked graduate programs. These have included: University of Notre Dame, The Catholic University of America, Boston College, Harvard Divinity School, University of Dayton, Duquesne University, Villanova University, Saint John's School of Theology and Ministry (Collegeville, MN), and Duke University. Some eventually obtain Ph.D.'s and teach in colleges; others use their graduate studies to deepen their ministry in parishes and dioceses.

Nicole Bucheck standing in front of  Boston College signAs Nicole Buchek (Theology/History, c'2023), currently pursuing a Masters of Theological Studies at Boston College with a full-tuition scholarship and research assistantship, says: "The Saint Vincent College theology department has given me the opportunity to explore my personal interests and opened my eyes to the possibility of theology as an academic discipline. My professors have shown me by the way they live their lives that the study of theology can be ministerial, and I hope to follow their example as I continue my own studies. I am immensely grateful for all that I have gotten to learn throughout my time here at Saint Vincent and for the professors who made these four years such a wonderful experience of growth and education!"

SVC Theology Majors in the Classroom

Equipped with a love of learning and a passion for theology, many of our majors teach in elementary schools, high schools, or even colleges. Others serve in educational leadership and administration. Students interested in this path are encouraged to take advantage of our top-ranked education and psychology departments to supplement their theological studies. A number of our majors have successfully completed teaching service programs—like the Echo program at Notre Dame, the Providence Alliance for Catholic Teachers, and Operation TEACH—and earned free master’s degrees along the way. You’ll find our majors both locally and across the United States.

Mike Pater profile pictureAs Mike Pater (Theology, c’12), longtime theology teacher at his alma mater of Saint Joseph High School (Natrona Heights, PA), says: “My experience in the theology department at Saint Vincent College is incredibly reflective to my role as a high school religion teacher at Saint Joseph High School. It’s said that teachers will often model their personal teaching style after some of their most influential instructors. From the mannerisms to the mode of instruction, the likes of my former theology professors can be found in my classroom, and the doctrinal lessons I learned through the theology department at SVC spill over to my students practically every day.”

SVC Theology Majors in Ministry and Service

Equipped with a love for the Church and a concern for the most vulnerable, many of our majors serve in a variety of ministerial settings. These include: hospital chaplaincy, youth ministry, faith formation, diocesan administration, development work, student life, military chaplaincy, women’s ministry, prison ministry, social work, and priesthood/religious life. Students interested in these paths are encouraged to pick up a second major in subjects like psychology and communication to learn skills that, integrated with their theological studies, can strengthen their pastoral outreach. A number of majors have successfully completed years of service with organizations like the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, the Culture Project, FOCUS, the Cap Corps, and SOLT Missionary Volunteers—these have placed students in Native American reservations in North Dakota, pregnancy centers in Pittsburgh, and college campus ministry offices across the country, to name a few.

Roni Arndt profile pictureAs Veronica Arndt (Theology/Communication, c’17), who currently serves as a producer at the popular Catholic television network EWTN, says: “I really found a home in the theology department at SVC and I feel the same way about EWTN. Since the shows I work on cover an array of topics, I often find myself relating the content I'm working on back to something I learned in a class. I love that I can use what I learned at SVC to help others learn about their faith! I honestly wouldn't be where I am today without the encouragement of SVC theology professors and the people I met in the classroom!"

(To see Veronica in action, click here:

Fr. Brian Norris at MassAnd as Fr. Brian Norris (Theology/Criminology, c’17), a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, says: “My time in the Saint Vincent theology program helped me to find a love for the Church Fathers….Through this exposure to Eastern Christianity, I gained an appreciation for the Church Fathers, who are central to the theology of Eastern Christianity. This influenced my decision to write my STL thesis on Deification, a prominent theme in the Church Fathers, at Saint Mary’s Seminary and University (Baltimore, Maryland). My exposure to the Church Fathers at Saint Vincent College planted the seed of a love for the Church Fathers in my heart. This love of the Church Fathers continues to shape my preaching and teaching in my parish ministry as a diocesan priest in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.”

SVC Theology Majors Everywhere Else

Equipped with a curiosity and a desire to broaden their horizons, many of our majors discover a language by which one can deepen their faith and/or explore religious questions. These students declare theology as a second major to supplement their studies in diverse fields like biology, psychology, communication, English, and accounting. Many of them participate in the Benedictine Leadership Studies program. They go on to pursue some pretty extraordinary paths. They have obtained Ph.D.’s in psychology, M.D.’s in medical school, and J.D.’s in law school. They have worked as police officers, marketers, and physicists. The flexibility of our major is especially amenable to it being added as a supplement to a student’s studies. Often, a student takes his or her first ever academic theology class at Saint Vincent and wants more!

Dr. Michael Thomas portraitAs Dr. Michael Thomas (Theology/History, c’18), who recently completed medical school at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), says, “My theology education at Saint Vincent rooted in the Benedictine tradition has given me a strong foundation in several core values that has enhanced my medical education. The theology faculty emphasized community and hospitality in many of my classes, and this influenced me to pursue a specialty where I can be a cornerstone of my community. I also learned valuable self-reflective skills which enable me to better relate to patients.”


The internships organized through the Saint Vincent Theology Department afford our students a risk-free, often fun opportunity to discern different career possibilities and to enrich their theological learning in the classroom. Internships enable students to speak more maturely about their interests and hopes in a job interview and throughout a job. It also offers students a fine opportunity to serve the Church while at SVC!

Students doing an internship pair with a theology department faculty member and a person on-site. Besides working at the placement (and the commitment level varies depending on the student’s interests), students will also reflect about their experience in relationship to their theological studies through regular meetings with the faculty member. Internships can happen any time of the year—spring or fall, winter or summer.

The theology department typically runs internships in three fields: parish ministry, high school teaching, and social service. Through contacts established over time by the theology department in the community, the opportunities are abundant! Recent placements have included the Saint Vincent Basilica Parish, the Diocese of Greensburg, the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the Diocese of Columbus, Greensburg Central Catholic, Holy Family Parish (Latrobe, PA), Saint Barbara Parish (Harrison City, PA), Adelphoi Village (Latrobe, PA), and local prisons.

Myrissa Donaldson headshotHere’s what Myrissa Donaldson (Theology/Communication, c’23), who also completed an internship for the Communications and Evangelization Office of the Diocese of Greensburg, had to say about her experience working at a parish in the summer: “My theology classes and professors have allowed me to confidently create discussion groups, Bible studies, and theological lessons for the parish. My communication classes and professors have prepared me to make flyers and social media content for events, create short videos of events for community members to see what's going on, and even plan a bus trip! My professors have had open conversations with me and have prepared me for not only the good of parish work but also for the difficulties that come and are always ready to respond if I have any questions during my internship.”



Reverend Nathan Munsch, O.S.B. Scholarship

The Rev. Nathan Munsch O.S.B. Scholarship was established in 2020. Awarded annually,Fr Nathan Munsch speaking the scholarship recognizes academic excellence, pastoral wisdom, and spiritual maturity in a theology major. A member of the Saint Vincent Benedictine monastic community since 1993, Father Nathan retired in 2020 after being diagnosed with ALS. He taught theology and Latin at both Saint Vincent College and Seminary for more than 20 years, while he served as pastor of the parishes of Saint Benedict, Saint Mary, and Saint Michael. From 2015-20, he was also director of pastoral formation for Saint Vincent Seminary. Fr. Nathan helped to shape the lives of thousands during his career as a priest and educator modeling how to integrate theological study, pastoral care, and spirituality to do good for others and to glorify God. The scholarship ($1500/year) applies to a student’s junior and senior year.  

Life in the Department

Inspired by the Benedictine tradition, the Saint Vincent College Theology Department sees the study of theology as a communal endeavor. Alumni frequently comment on the many friendships they formed in our department, both with students and faculty. Many events serve that end. A mass followed by a barbeque dinner begins the year. The annual Saint Nicholas Dinner in December offers a respite from finals and a competitive bakeoff—not to mention the appearance of Saint Nick! The department celebrates student accomplishments at its end-of-the-year Theta Alpha Kappa dinner. Each year, the department hosts a pro-seminar to introduce students to areas like graduate studies and internship opportunities, or to offer advice on how to apply for jobs in parishes or what service year opportunities are available. The annual Ruth Bossie Lecture in Biblical Literacy brings in elite biblical scholars to share their wealth of knowledge with students. And that’s just to name a few events! You can catch a glimpse of life in the department here:

Theology Department round table discussion


The faculty of the Saint Vincent College Theology Department are second to none. They remain active in the field. They have published acclaimed books on theological subjects, from Christology to the Psalms. They have won awards for the Best Theology Book of the Year from the Catholic Media Association and for the Best Article of the Year from the College Theology Society. They have published in top-ranked academic theology journals like Theological Studies and Horizons. They have served on the editorial boards of prestigious academic theology journals like the Catholic Biblical Quarterly and the Journal of Moral Theology. They have written for famous popular Catholic publications like America Magazine and Give Us This Day. They teach courses like Apocalyptic Literature and the Epistles of Saint Paul, Ecclesiology and Environmental Theology. But above all, whether through dynamic pedagogy or attentive advising, they care about their students!

You can meet them here:

Patricia Sharbaugh
Chair, Associate Professor of Theology

Christopher McMahon
Professor of Theology

Catherine Petrany (Briola) 
Associate Professor of Theology

Lucas Briola 
Assistant Professor of Theology

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • employ tools appropriate to modern biblical interpretation to engage the historical, literary, and theological meanings of the Christian scriptures.
  • analyze major doctrines of the Catholic tradition using theological methods characteristic of academic study.
  • articulate the significance of one’s own theological learning in relation to the insights and needs of the contemporary world.