In addition to being prepared to live lives of active faith and service within faith communities, our graduates are ready to approach the challenges of the world, and their diverse career paths, in thoughtful and creative ways.

Our graduates work at Genesis Health System, in ministry, as community advocates and religion teachers. 

Ambrose Advantages

  • Rooted in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition
  • Outstanding Program, Exceptional Faculty
  • Challenge Your Perspective

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Students in Beehive

St. Francis

Our theology faculty challenge you to develop wider perspectives, preparing your to address cultural, social, political and theological challenges within your personal and professional life.

Read Our Fact Sheet on the Theology Program

More Information on the Theology Program

What will I learn?

Our courses address contemporary theological issues, ethics and moral life, prayer, spirituality and worship, and specialized topics such as Bible and justice, women theologians, and the Jewish and Black experiences.

Courses include introduction to the Sacraments, moral issues, theology and religion, Old Testament, and New Testament; the history of Christianity; theologies of liberation; Jewish literature; the Torah; peace and justice in comparative religions; and reconciliation and peacebuilding in Northern Ireland.

What is unique about SAU's Theology program?

Committed Faculty
Our Faculty are very available. They have regular meetings with theology majors over dinner, movie nights, and other discussions. They will know who you are, what you want to do, and will be a resource for you for years to come.

Double major or Minor
Your theology degree is a great companion major. We have students pair theology with sociology, communications, nursing, pre-OT, pre-physical therapy, and more.

Study or serve in another country
When you major in Theology, you can study abroad. Students tell us these trips have changed their lives, their outlook on the world, and what they want to do after college. View locations

If you are adventurous with a deep personal drive to act and seek to be immersed in countries and cultures outside of your own, our Peace Corps Prep program will help you gain the intercultural skills you need for a life-changing service experience. This program makes you a stronger candidate for volunteer positions within the Peace Corps or other service programs.

Employers value the skills and cultural worldview you gain in Peace Corps, and best of all, most students can earn the Peace Corps certificate without taking extra courses.

Faith in Action
We give you opportunities to work with churches, human services agencies, educational organizations, and advocacy programs. SAU coordinates service trips to Appalachia and inner-city shelters to work with the less fortunate.

The Quad Cities community is an active supporter of the environment and for peace and justice. You can get involved with churches and affiliated groups and associations such as the Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth) Coalition, Quad-Citians Affirming Diversity, Churches United, and River Action.

What are some potential career outcomes?

You can go directly into ministry with a theology degree. We have graduates who teach religion, work in parishes, and serve in other types of ministry.

Many theologians pursue careers in social services or graduate studies in social work, theology, theater, and other areas.

What have alumni of this program done?

Ana Kelsey-Powell '15 is the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at Court Street Methodist Church in Rockford, Ill.

Joseph Norris '12 is the Director of Mission Integration and Regional Ethics at Mercy Medical Center in Dubuque. After Ambrose, Joseph earned master's degrees at Saint Louis University and Aquinas Institute of Theology.

Patrick Schmadeke '13 is continuing his Theology education as a Master of Divinity student at the University of Notre Dame.


Lisa Powell, PhD, Professor and Chair

Mara Adams, PhD, Professor
Matthew Coomber, PhD, Assoc. Professor
Robert Grant, PhD, Professor
Argrow Evans-Ford, DMN, Adjunct Professor
Ella Johnson, PhD, Asst. Professor
Rabbi Henry Karp, Adjunct Professor
Micah Kiel, PhD, Professor
Keith Soko, PhD, Professor

Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Arts in Theology (33 credits)

Majors must maintain a B average in theology courses with no grade lower than a C.

+THEO 100 Just Theology
+THEO 110 Introduction to Moral Issues
+THEO 120 Introduction to Christian Faith
+THEO 130 Introduction to Scripture
THEO 499 Senior Seminar
6 additional credits at the 300-level or above
3 credits from Historical Theology:

+THEO 140 Historical Theology
+THEO 241 Ambrose of Milan
THEO 306 Medieval Women Mystics
+THEO 344 Rome and Christianity

Three credits from at least three of the following areas: Systematic Theology, Biblical Theology, Moral Theology, Spiritual/Pastoral Theology

Systematic Theology:
+THEO 320 Jesus Christ: His Person and Mission
+WI-THEO 321 Theologies of Liberation
+WI-THEO 322 The Church: Its Meaning and Mission
+THEO 323 Problems of Faith
+THEO 325 Models of God

Biblical Theology:
+THEO 332 The Theology of the Synoptic Gospels
+THEO 333 Paul's Letters: Theology in Context
+THEO 334 Apocalypse: Then and Now
THEO 336 The Bible and the Arts
THEO 338 Bible in Political Thought
THEO 339 Hebrew Prophecy: Mysticism in Action

Moral Theology:
+THEO 310 Social Justice
+THEO 311 Environmental Ethics
+THEO 316 Peace and Justice in Comparative Religions
THEO 319 Bioethics and Health Care

Spiritual/Pastoral Theology:
THEO 303 Suffering/Compassion/Healing
THEO 305 Theology of Christian Marriage
THEO 306 Medieval Women Mystics

Second Major in Theology (27 credits)

+THEO 100 Just Theology
+THEO 110 Introduction to Moral Issues
+THEO 120 Introduction to the Christian Faith
+THEO 130 Introduction to Scripture
THEO 499 Senior Seminar
One course from Historical Theology (see course listing above)
One course from three of four areas: Moral, Systemic, Biblical, or Spiritual/Pastoral Theology

Minor in Theology (15 credits)

+THEO 100 Just Theology
12 THEO credits (6 of which must be at the 300-level)


Scholarships and Grants

For academic/merit-based awards, eligible students are matched to the qualifying award; some of them are listed below.

For need-based support, eligibility is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

You may also qualify for a scholarship or grant due to your talent in the fine arts or athletics. Give us a call or send an email so we can get to know you and find the best package for you. (You're also encouraged to seek outside scholarships and begin that search early.)

Institutional scholarships (2018-19)

To receive an institutional grant or scholarship students must meet specific criteria, and some may require a certain GPA to stay eligible. There is no need to apply for these; students automatically are eligible if they meet the criteria.

The Admissions Office calculates the award amount by using high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores.

Ambrose Scholar
For First Year, on-campus residents only. Straight As on high school transcript and a minimum 30 ACT score. Applicants who meet Ambrose Scholar criteria will be invited to compete for a full tuition scholarship for $@{17-18-Tuition}.

Trustee Scholar
$@{Trustee-Scholarship-18-19}/year - For First-year, on-campus residents only. Unweighted 3.8 GPA, 28+ACT. May be offset by state and/or federal aid if eligible.

Academic Scholarship
$@{Academic-Scholarship-18-19}/year - Based on GPA and ACT/SAT score

University Grant
$@{University-Grant-18-19}/year - Based on high school GPA and ACT/SAT score

Additional Awards

If you want to apply for any of the scholarships below, contact the Admissions Office.

Fine Arts Scholarships
Award based on performance and ability in art, music, or theatre. Includes the Michael Kennedy Theatre Scholarship. Audition or portfolio required.

Athletics Scholarships
Award varies. Based on performance and ability. Marching Band scholarships available. See below.

Freeman Pollard Minority Scholarship
$1,000 for on-campus students; $500 for off-campus. For accepted minority students.

Diocese of Davenport Catholic Parish Scholarship
Award varies. For First Year students only who are recommended by their parish pastor in the Diocese of Davenport. Recommendation to be completed by your pastor available here (pdf).

Father Welch Alumni Scholarship
$1,000/year. For on-campus students only whose parent is a St. Ambrose graduate.

The Clement and Mary Dunn Ecclesiastical Scholarship
This endowed scholarship for theology students at St. Ambrose University was established in memory of Clement and Mary Dunn, cousins to Reverend Edmond Dunn, who provided leadership and taught theology at St. Ambrose for more than 35 years. An inspiration to generations of Ambrosians, Fr. Dunn continues to be an active presence on campus and a champion for peace and social justice. The scholarship can to be awarded to students involved in intellectual formation and majoring in theology.

Scholarships of $1,000 to $2,000 are available to students who want to study theology at St. Ambrose University. If you would like to be considered for a Clement and Mary Dunn Ecclesiastical Scholarship, please contact Theology Department chair Dr. Micah Kiel.

Athletic Scholarships

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) awards millions of dollars annually to student-athletes at more than 250 colleges and universities. These scholarships allow you to earn a college education while competing in the sport that you love. At Ambrose, we embody that value of developing both the mind and body.

How do I qualify for an athletic scholarship?
You must first be eligible to play a sport at St. Ambrose. You can read about those qualifications here. The NAIA also has a complete website on how to register for eligibility at

Award Terms

FAFSA forms must be filed every year.

  • To be considered for an Iowa Tuition Grant, the filing deadline is July 1.
  • The St. Ambrose priority deadline is March 15 for some institutional funds. 
  • The Financial Aid Office has the right to adjust your award at any time due to changes in your financial, academic, enrollment, or housing status. 
  • Awards offered from State and Federal programs are contingent upon legislative allocation of funds and maximum limits allowed.
  • You must report any assistance you receive from outside sources – including assistance from your employer – to the Financial Aid Office.

Institutional Aid

Undergraduate level students must be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours per semester to receive Institutional money. All students, undergraduate or graduate, must be enrolled at least half-time per semester to be eligible for student loans. (Half-time for Undergraduate level = 6 credits; Graduate level = 5 credits)

There is no institutional aid for summer sessions. Federal Loans may be available if you are enrolled at least 1/2 time.

You are eligible for institutional financial aid for up to eight semesters, including semesters taken at other schools, before or after time spent at the university (i.e. if you transfer in as a junior, you will receive 4 semesters of institutional aid; or you attended St. Ambrose, left to attend another school, and then returned). This means that if you continue into a fifth year of classes, you will not be eligible for any institutional funds you may have received previously. (Institutional funds are those awarded by the university, not state, federal, or outside based scholarships or grants.)


All financial aid awards, including loans, are disbursed in two disbursements: one for the fall term and one for the spring term. If you are a first-time borrower, there is a 30-day hold on your first disbursement. Once the loan funds have been applied to your account and if you have awards in excess of your costs, you may receive a refund. Any other questions regarding your financial aid should be directed to the Financial Aid Office.

Work Study

If you are receiving assistance under the work study program, you must understand that the amount shown on your award letter is the amount we expect you to earn during one academic year if you work all your allotted hours. Any additional earnings must be approved by your department supervisor and taken into consideration in your financial award package.

Endowed Scholarships

Part of the financial aid funds that St. Ambrose awards come from monies provided through the generous support of St. Ambrose University benefactors. Most endowed scholarships are meant to provide financial support for St. Ambrose University's academic and need based awards. Due to this, in some cases you may see a portion of your Academic Scholarship, for example, being replaced by a named endowed scholarship. The total dollar amount you receive between the two awards, however, will remain unchanged.

Recipients are chosen based on the criteria established by the donor, which include, but are not limited to: major, class rank, GPA, performance in a fine art, or residency. You may be contacted by the Advancement Office to write a thank you letter to the donor.

What happens if I withdraw or need to drop a class?

  • If you drop a class, it may affect the amount of aid you can receive. It is very important to visit your Financial Aid counselor if you are planning on dropping a class.
  • If you are going to withdraw completely from all your classes, your financial aid awards will be prorated according to the amount of time you were actually enrolled. It is possible that you may end up owing the University for a portion of your expenses incurred.
  • More information regarding this policy is available in the University catalog.
  • Please contact your Financial Aid counselor if you are considering dropping classes or withdrawing from the University.

Isabel Watts '19

Isabel's St. Ambrose education and experience was transformative. In four years, she grew from her self-description of "naive" to an educated and dedicated social justice advocate who knows who she is, for what she stands, and the unlimited potential she holds and will pursue. In December 2019, Isabel graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology degree and a second major in Theology.

Read her story
Joe Norris Headshot mobile size Joe Norris Headshot

Joe Norris

Bachelor of Arts in Theology,Director of Mission Integration and Regional Ethics, Mercy Dubuque and Mercy Health Network,Class of 2012

Nurturing SAU professors who genuinely cared about Joe helped pave the way for him to earn graduate degrees in theology and healthcare ethics. He is using his education to serve and guide others as Director of Mission Integration and Regional Ethics, Mercy Dubuque and Mercy Health Network.

See My Story

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Lisa Powell, PhD, Chairperson

Theology Department
Lower Chapel
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 29 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!