Doctoral Program

Duquesne University is not presently accepting applications for this program for Fall 2021 and Fall 2022. In response to increasing uncertainties, Duquesne made this difficult decision to ensure adequate resources remained available to support students currently in the program. 

Duquesne offers a Ph.D. in Theology that is rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition and that adopts a decidedly ecumenical and global orientation. Students in this program seek to better understand the Christian tradition by studying its biblical roots, historical development, and interaction with the religions and cultures of the world. As students participate in the rigorous study of systematic theology, moral theology, and biblical theology, they simultaneously engage a range of disciplines and perspectives that enrich their thinking, including history of religion, philosophy, anthropology, spirituality, sociology, and the physical sciences.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students will master and articulate contemporary theological systems and schools of thought using hermeneutical tools appropriate to the subjects studied.

  2. Students will demonstrate knowledge of foundational areas of Catholic theology.

  3. Students will bring ecumenical and global dimensions of Christian theology into dialogue with Catholic thought.

  4. Students will show a capacity to present integrated and constructive theological arguments that critically engage and analyze historical and contemporary theological sources.

The doctoral coursework, consisting of thirty credit hours in Bible, Doctrine, and Ethics, is designed to equip students with a broad and sound knowledge of the field. At the conclusion of the coursework, students undergo a rigorous Ph.D. comprehensive exam, which ensures that they have a secure grasp of the fundamentals in the various theological areas.  In the third year of their matriculation, doctoral students are given the opportunity to teach undergraduate courses and thereby accumulate valuable classroom experience. 


    • Completion of ten graduate seminars totaling a minimum of thirty credit hours with at least a B average.
      • Each candidate for the Ph.D. in Theology must demonstrate a reading competency in two foreign languages which are theologically relevant.
        • Each candidate for the Ph.D. in Theology is required to take a comprehensive examination upon completion of course work and satisfaction of the language requirements. Normally this exam is taken within one year of finishing course work. The comprehensive exam includes a research component, a written component and an oral component in each of four areas: Systematic Theology, Ecclesiology and Sacraments, General Moral Theology and an area of specialization chosen by the student and approved by the faculty.
          • A dissertation (6 credits), which makes an original and significant theological contribution in the area of contemporary Systematic Theology, written under the supervision of a director, and publicly defended before a three-person dissertation defense board which includes the director.

          Professional Development

          The Department of Theology recommends that graduate students engage in professional development opportunities during their studies, especially in the summers. Such opportunities might include paid positions, internships or volunteer work in which students apply the skills they are learning in their academic programs.

          A Sampling of Ph.D. Graduates

          Dr. Rufus Burnett, Jr.

          Assistant Professional Specialist, Academic Advisor, First Year Studies, University of Notre Dame

          Year of Graduation: 2016

          Dr. Burnett's dissertation, "Decolonizing Revelation: A Spatial Reading of the Blues", was selected for the Duquesne University Distinguished Dissertation Award for the Humanities and a book-length version of the work is forthcoming with Fortress Press.

          Dr. Mary Beth Yount

          Associate Professor of Theological Studies, Director of the Ph.D. in Pastoral Counseling, Neumann University

          Year of Graduation: 2012

          "I am grateful that Duquesne's broad diversity of doctrinal and moral theology, all taught in the context of a historical and global approach, enabled me to teach, publish, and present in multiple theological areas, from biblical foundations to phenomenological theory and even to venture into areas of other disciplines, such as the role of ritual theory in the anthropological sciences."

          Dr. Eric S. Dart 

          Chairperson, Theology Department
          Director, Graduate Program of Pastoral Studies
          Assistant Professor, Theology Department

          Year of Graduation: 2016

          "The Theology curriculum and faculty provided a diverse and challenging academic experience. The programs emphasis on moral theology, biblical theology, and doctrine prepared me for demands of university teaching and academic publishing. "

          Rev. Fr. Gabriel Mendy C.S.Sp., Ph.D.

          Bishop of the Diocese of Banjul, Gambia

          Year of Graduation: 2009

          "An important outcome of Duquesne's comprehensive doctorate program in Systematic Theology is the ongoing quest it generated in me to explore the significance of St. Augustine's Theology of the Spirit on current magisterial and theological discourse in Communion Ecclesiology."

          A Sampling of Recent Alumni Job Placement

          2010-Shannon Loughlin: Diocesan Director of Young Adult and Campus Ministry, Diocese of Rochester

          2011-Steven Hansen: Associate Director, Center for Teaching Excellence, Duquesne University

          2012-Daniel Lattier: Director of Education and Philosophy, Intellectual Takeout

          2012-Michael Martocchio: Director for Catechesis and Christian Initiation for the Diocese of Charleston

          2012-Fr. Leo Tinkatumire: Pastoral Coordinator, Archdiocese of Mbarara, Uganda

          2013-Steven Aguzzi: Associate Pastor, Theologian, Mt. Lebanon United Presbyterian Church

          2013-Jason DelVitto: Pastor, St. George Orthodox Church, Bridgeville, PA; Adjunct Theology Faculty, Duquesne University

          2013-Mary Filice: Coordinator of Religion and Culture Thematic Group, HDCA

          2013-James Menkhaus: Chair, Department of Theology, Gannon University, Erie, PA

          2013-Ian Murphy: Catholic Speaker

          2013-Gerard Nnamunga: Superior at Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, Uganda

          2013-Greta Stokes Tucker: Staff, Secretariat for Parish Services, Diocese of Pittsburgh

          2014-Augustine Ebido: Pastor, St. Mary's Macklin

          2016-Caesar Montevecchio: Research Associate, Catholic Peacebuilding Network Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame

          2016-John Odeyemi: Parochial Vicar, St. Bartholomew Church, Pittsburgh, PA

          Additional Information

          For information on the Ph.D. program, please contact:

          Dr. Radu Bordeianu, Director of Graduate Studies
          Fisher Hall 612