The Catholic University of America
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Church History

The Church History program is focused on the history of the Catholic Church from the first to the twenty-first century. Consistent with its location within the School of Theology and Religious Studies, the program addresses the internal life of the Church, including the history of its doctrine, discipline, polity, worship, spirituality, and piety, its expansion through missionary work, and its charitable and educational activities. The development of its thought and structure is studied in the light of the ecclesiological conceptions of each period, as well as of the external conditions that affected it.

Have Questions?

We've got answers! Contact the Area Director for Church History, Dr. Susan Wessel at or 202-319-6423

Interdisciplinary and Consortium Study

The program is strengthened by faculty in historical theology, liturgy, spirituality, canon law, and ecumenism in the School of Theology and Religious Studies and in the School of Canon Law. It is further supported by faculty in the School of Philosophy and in the Departments of History, Semitics, and Greek and Latin in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

For specialized research, students may obtain permission to use the collections of the Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies and the Folger Shakespeare Library. For students of the history of the Catholic Church in the United States, the archives and manuscript collections of the university are at hand, and the archives of the Archdiocese of Baltimore are nearby.

The program can be supplemented with the history of the Christian denominations represented by the other institutions of the Washington Theological Consortium (especially of the Episcopal, Lutheran, and Methodist churches), as well as with the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area.


Church History Graduate Degree programs

We offer a number of programs within the field of Church History including:

Master's in Church History (MA)

Doctorate of Philosophy in Church History (PhD)

Church History Faculty


Susan Wessel
Area Director; Associate Professor


Mark Clark
Associate Professor


William Dinges


Nelson Minnich








   Robin Darling Young

Associate Professor







Church History Emeritus Faculty

Msgr. Robert Trisco
Professor Emeritus

Dr. Christopher Kauffman
Professor Emeritus