Top Schools for Theology
Ranking the best schools for religion can be difficult, controversial, and subjective. The following schools have graduate programs in theology or religious studies that consistently are considered among the top programs in their country. This does not mean that programs not listed here are not equally as good, or even better. While considering what program is right for you, it is important to also consider a number of other factors, including department specialties, location, cost, and other factors.
Some top schools for theology in the US
- University of Chicago
- Princeton University
- Harvard University
- Brown University
- Duke University
- University of Virginia
- Columbia University
- Vanderbilt University
- University of Notre Dame
- University of Pennsylvania
- Stanford University
- University of California-Santa Barbara
- Brandeis University
- Indiana University-Bloomington
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- New York University
- Yale University
- University of California-Berkeley
- Northwestern University
- University of Iowa
What are the best schools for religion? Although these lists offer an attempt by people in the field to offer an objective answer to that question, it is far from comprehensive. Ultimately, the answer will depend on you.
Aside from program and school rankings, consider the following factors: faculty, location, specialty, cost, and connections. International students, of course, have additional issues they need to keep in mind, such as the language of instruction and visa requirements.
This is one consideration that many students who are first applying to college tend to overlook beyond rate my professor scores. Most students do not yet have a firm idea of what they will major in. If you do, however, it is important to think about the faculty at the universities to which you are applying. Do they work on things in which you are interested? Do they respond to students? Are they well-known in their field? This last question can be important if you intend to do further graduate work in the subject.
Another important consideration is the student to faculty ratio. Small class sizes can help to enhance your learning experience and allow for more personalized instruction and assistance from the instructor. Small schools, like Felician College < http://www.internationalstudent.com/school-search/2603/usa/new-jersey/felician-college/>, a private religious college, offer favorable student to faculty ratios and an opportunity for the sort of quality instruction that you may not find at larger institutions.
This school is where you are going to be spending the next few years of your life, and these years will be highly formative for you. If you are unhappy, it will make it harder to make the most of your time there, or even to graduate. If you are an international student, have you been to the country before? Have you been away from home before? Leaving home for college is tough enough; when one is also leaving one's country for a foreign land the challenge can be especially taxing (but very rewarding!).
Do you like the climate of where you are going? The geography? How do you feel about living in the city vs. the countryside? As an international student, your level of proficiency in the native language of the country is an added consideration to bear in mind.
Along with faculty, this may not be something that many students think about. If you are uncertain about what you want to study or are just beginning to explore a field, this is not a problem. If you do have an idea about what you want to study, though, consider the strengths of the department.
Rising cost of tuition, at least in the US, is a well-known problem. There are many great schools that provide an excellent education at an affordable cost. If your top choice will land you with tens of thousands of dollars of debt, but your second choice will provide an equally good education without incurring as much debt, it may be the better choice.
Finally, consider the connections you have to the school and connections the school has elsewhere. Having connections to the school (e.g. your high school guidance counselor knows a professor you want to study under) can greatly improve your chances of admittance. Some schools explicitly take legacies into consideration (whether your parents went there), while even schools which do not explicitly acknowledge the importance of connections are often swayed by input from a faculty member with a personal connection to you.
Once you graduate, how well connected are the school's faculty to people in the field you want to join? As theology faculty, do they know clergy who may help find you a job? Are they connected to graduate programs to which you may want to apply?
Deciding which school is right for you is a tough process. Rankings of the best schools for religion can help, but do not provide a complete picture of how well you will fit in at a school. It is important to find a school where you will excel, no matter what its ranking.