Theology enjoys a long and strong tradition at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. The Pontifical University continues to serve a wide spectrum of students, lay, cleric, and religious, from all over the world. As Ireland’s leading Theological Faculty and through its commitment to education in Theology, the Faculty of Theology at St Patrick’s College is committed to providing strong leadership for the future. Through excellence in teaching and pastoral formation it prepares young men and women to serve both the Christian and the wider community. Its alumni have worked and ministered on every continent.
Several initiatives during the 1960s sought to secure the recognition of theology within the BA degree of the National University. However, for a number of reasons – not least the projected reorganisation of the Irish University system – they were unsuccessful. The Pontifical University eventually introduced a Degree of Bachelor of Arts and Theology in 1979. It is currently a joint honours degree: the Arts component is taught and graded within the undergraduate programmes of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, while theology is taught within the Faculty of Theology of the Pontifical University. The Pontifical University awards the degree. Continuing its innovation of programmes in theology, the Faculty introduced the BTh, Bachelor of Theology in 1996.
There are about four hundred students registered in the Faculty of Theology, of whom about two thirds are day-time undergraduates. About one third are post-graduates studying theology at the levels of Higher Diploma, Masters, STL, PhD, and DD. The number of postgraduate students has increased considerably over the last five years and that this number is set to increase further.
At present, the Faculty of Theology consists of nine Professors, seven Lecturers, a Director of Pastoral Studies, and four Invited and Occasional Lecturers.