International Theological Institute - Cardinal Newman Society

International Theological Institute

Year Founded 1996
Number of Students 27
Location Trumau, Austria
Total Cost (Tuition, Room & Board) $9,000 (As of early 2017. Includes only tuition and room.)
Net Price (learn more) $
Number of Majors 1
Catholic Students 100%
Catholic Faculty 100%
Median High School GPA

See the Q&A for more detailed information!

The International Theological Institute (ITI) offers English-speaking undergraduates the opportunity to live in the heart of Europe while pursuing one of two unique academic tracks.  The faithfully Catholic institute is situated in the beautiful Austrian countryside just south of Vienna, Austria, and classes are held in a restored castle from the twelfth century.

Founded by a Thomas Aquinas College graduate at the direct request of Pope John Paul II, ITI brings together students from all over the world. Both Roman and Byzantine Catholic liturgical rites are offered on campus.  Ten percent of students are Eastern Catholic (one currently is Orthodox) and the rest are Roman-rite Catholics.

ITI holds the status of an Ecclesiastical Theological Faculty from the Vatican, specifically concentrating on the study of Catholic theology, and uses the ECTS credit system accepted in the European Union.  At the undergraduate level, students can choose either the one-year liberal arts Studium Generale track or five-year track which terminates in a Master of Sacred Theology (STM), rather than a bachelor’s degree.

According to its mission, ITI is a “community where theology is not simply studied, but is also lived.”  ITI takes pride in its community comprised of both single and married laypeople, as well as seminarians, priests and religious, though most are graduate students—only 27 students in 2016-17 were undergraduates.

At €8,000 (about $9,000), combined tuition and lodging is well below the cost to attend the average U.S. private university.  Since students cook for themselves, board is not provided and thus not included in these costs.  On-campus work study can reduce the cost of housing even further.  ITI participates in the U.S. federal student loan program for the STM program, so American students are able to take out student loans just as they would at any U.S. college.

All faculty members annually take an oath of fidelity to the Magisterium.  Many have studied or taught at other Catholic colleges recommended in this Guide.  Classes are kept at a maximum of 13 students and use a seminar-style discussion method based on primary texts.  Active participation is encouraged and facilitated.

The one-year liberal arts program, termed Studium Generale, includes study of Scripture, the Catechism, philosophy, ethics, political science, and anthropology, with electives in areas such as Christian literature, Church history, and fine arts.

Credits are awarded for each class taken, and graduates receive a certificate upon program completion.  The Institute reports that it has not yet formalized agreements with undergraduate institutions to guarantee student credit transfer.  Students are encouraged to inquire about credit transfer with the institution at which they plan to continue their studies.

ITI does not offer an undergraduate program per se, but students with a U.S. high school diploma may directly enter a five-year master’s degree program. The graduate program in theology culminates in a Master of Sacred Theology (STM) degree, granted by the Holy See and recognized by the State of Austria. It is equivalent to an ecclesiastical STB.

The first three years of the STM provide a thorough grounding in theology, philosophy, logic, Church history, Latin, Greek and other Church documents.  These classes prepare students for the rigorous study of theology in years four and five. By graduation, students will have studied a significant portion of the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Some STM graduates without undergraduate degrees have been accepted directly into Ph.D. programs, although the Institute indicated that students pursuing this course may need to explain why they do not have a bachelor’s. ITI explained that it will be easier for students to continue theological graduate studies on the ecclesiastical track because institutions offering the next degrees—STL and STD—are also within the pontifical university system.

ITI Spiritual LifeAccording to ITI, spiritual life at the Institute “takes its starting point in the words of St. Athanasius, who says the best theologians are the saints, who live out in their lives what they study in their minds.”

Part of ITI’s mission is to bridge East and West, and the liturgical life reflects that priority.  Holy Mass—in both Ordinary and Extraordinary forms—and Byzantine Divine Liturgy are offered daily.  Priests from both rites are available on campus for confession and spiritual direction. The Institute has Adoration daily, as well as morning and evening prayer.

Students serve at the altar, sing in the choir, lector at Mass, organize Adoration, and work as sacristans.  Once per week, the entire Institute celebrates either Mass or Divine Liturgy together.  On Sundays, students can attend Divine Liturgy on campus or Mass in the nearby local parish.  Twenty-four percent of graduates have pursued religious vocations.

ITI MainStudents live in newly built apartments just a one-minute walk from the restored castle which houses the classrooms, offices, library, and chapels. Four buildings are structured around a common courtyard which facilitates community.  One building is for single men, another for single women, and the remaining two house the many families that study at ITI, as well as some of the professors and their families.  Apartments are also available.  The buildings include a work-out room, an additional chapel, and several large community rooms.

ITI provides students with kitchens in each residence hall or apartment to prepare their meals, rather than offering a meal plan.  Dining rooms are a locus of student community life, and students frequently cook meals for one another.  Groceries are available within walking distance of campus.

The student body ranges in age and walk of life, including young undergraduates, graduate students, married couples with families, and seminarians. No problems with chastity and sobriety have been reported.  The Institute says of its student life, “The presence of priests, seminarians, and families with children all living on campus fosters this unique wholesome atmosphere of Catholic virtue.”

Students are creative in organizing events on campus, such as parties, dances, common meals, and sports competitions.  Students gather for potluck Sunday brunches, and each Thursday ethnic food is prepared by a student of a different nationality.  Resident assistants are chosen each year from the student body to help plan community events.

Off campus, students have access to numerous opportunities for nearby hiking, swimming, biking, skiing and sightseeing.  Vienna is only 30 minutes away, and Austrian public transportation makes it easy for students to get around without a vehicle.  Students frequently attend operas, ballets, or other cultural events in Vienna.  The nearby airports of Vienna and Bratislava allow students to travel all over Europe for very affordable airfares.  Students have a ten-day break each semester to travel if they choose to do so.

ITI is an attractive option for mature high school graduates wanting to study abroad in a wholesome Catholic environment.  The very competitive cost of attendance is hard to overlook.  It is an enticing opportunity for a student looking to study near a European cultural hub in a largely Catholic, English-speaking community. If pursuing the one-year Studium track, students will want to learn about options to transfer credits upon program completion.  Likewise, students right out of high school who are considering the STM track should consider whether the unique option to bypass a bachelor’s degree and go right into a theology master’s program is right for them.

Questions & Answers

Answers from the college on the most important questions. Click a topic below to read more.

Is your institution accredited by at least one regional or national education association?


Please identify each accreditor and indicate whether it is approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

Pontifical Congregation for Catholic Education

Please cite evidence of student or alumni accomplishment, such as graduation rate, graduate school placement, job placement, awards, etc.

Graduation Rate:


Division of Professions:

Religious/Clergy 24%
Education 23%
Graduate Studies 12%
Church Organizations 11%
Homemaker 7%
Marriage and Family Work 6%
Media 6%
Other 11%

Additional Academic Quality information, clarification or description:

The International Theological Institute is unique in it’s academic approach. Class texts are selected from the original sources of the rich theological tradition of the Catholic Church, and from the Western philosophical tradition which serves as it’s “handmaid.”. The primary text of reference is Sacred Scripture, followed by the writings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, the Saints, the Magisterium, and some of the most influential philosophers in the Western tradition. A special emphasis is placed on the works of St. Thomas Aquinas. Students gather in small groups of 13 or less to discuss these great works.

Particularly unique is the emphasis placed by the Institute on personal prayer life as an essential component of theological study. Following the words of St. Athanasius, ITI believes the best theologians are the ones who “live” theology, rather than merely study it. Students are encouraged to “learn on their knees” as an essential part of reaching theology’s ultimate goal: intimate knowledge of a personal God. Spiritual development and intellectual formation go hand-in-hand with unparalleled integration at ITI.

For undergraduates, ITI offers two programs. One is a 5-year Masters program in Catholic Theology, and the other is a one-year Studium Generale program. The Masters program combines a Bachelors and Masters degree into one. The Studium Generale does not grant a degree, but gives college credit for every class taken. It offers students the opportunity to study abroad at ITI while still allowing them to pursue their terminal degree elsewhere.

Are more than half of the current members of your faculty practicing Catholics?


Approximately what percentage of your current faculty members are practicing Catholics?


Are members of your faculty officially informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the institution?


Are members of your teaching faculty expected, as a condition of employment, to respect Catholic teaching and comply with Catholic morality in their public actions and statements both on and off campus?


Does the institution have a department of Catholic theology, distinct from “religious studies” and other disciplines?

The ITI is an ecclesiastical theological faculty, without subdivisions into multiple departments. Although multiple disciplines are taught, these are not divided into departments.

Are courses in Catholic theology clearly identified and distinguished from other courses dealing with religion?


Do all faculty in the theological disciplines have a mandatum according to the procedures established by the local bishop or other competent ecclesiastical authority?


Do all faculty in the theological disciplines make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


Does your institution require that all theology courses be taught in a manner faithful to Scripture, Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium, and also to the principles and methods proper to Catholic theology?


Please identify the theology courses that are included in the undergraduate core or distribution requirements and the professors who routinely teach those courses:

The ITI requires one curriculum of students pursuing the STM theological degree. All classes are required, so the concept of a “core” curriculum does not apply well. Required courses in theology make up approximately half the undergraduate portion of the program:

Introduction to Scripture I and II
Introduction to Theology
Synoptic Gosepls
Psalms and Wisdom Literature
Catholic Catechism I and II
Church History I and II
Patrology I and II
Moral Theology
Theological Anthropology
Catholic Social Teaching

Professors include Dr. Vincent Demeo, Dr. Bernhard Dolna, Dr. Timothy Kelly, Dr. Gundula Harrand, Dr. Michaela Hastetter, Fr. Joseph Bolin, Fr. Yuriy Kolasa, , Fr. Yuriy Kolasa, Dr. Dagny Kjaergard, or Dr. William Newton.

Please describe the place of Catholic theology in your institution’s undergraduate curriculum and how it is distinct from other institutions.

The ITI offers one single degree program in Catholic theology to undergraduate students, as well as our “credit only” Studium Generale program. The first three years of the degree program can be roughly divided 50/50 into theology and philosophy. Latin and Greek are also studied, both with a view to being able to read theological texts in their original languages. The final two years of the program are devoted exclusively to an integrated study of Catholic theology.

Please identify any course that every undergraduate student must take:

The entire curriculum in required of every student pursuing the STM degree. For a complete listing of these courses, please see ITI’s Course Catalog and Curriculum.

Please identity the courses that students may choose from in order to satisfy common curriculum distribution requirements:

All courses in the curriculum are required. If students wish, they may pursue additional electives over and above their normal coursework. Examples are classes from ITI’s Catholic Marriage and Family studies program, Christian Literature or Fine Arts.

How many credits are required for graduation and what percent are from core / distribution courses?

ITI uses the ECTS credit system, which is unfamiliar to American students. 300 ECTS credits are required over five years, which culminates in a Masters in Theology. This roughly corresponds to 182 credit hours.

Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more courses in which they are taught authentic Catholic doctrine and practice?


If yes, please describe them generally and note how many courses are required?

Every student studies the Catechism of the Catholic Church from cover to cover in two semesters.

Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more interdisciplinary courses relating theology or philosophy with other disciplines?


List the major, minor and special program areas that students may choose for specialization while pursuing an undergraduate degree:



What are the three most popular majors or specialty disciplines for undergraduate students, and about what percentage of undergraduate students specialize in these disciplines?

Among ITI undergraduates, approximately 60%are enrolled in the 5-year Masters program, and40% in the Studium Generale one-year program.Studium Generalestudents are welcome to take specialized courses from ITI’s Catholic Marriage and Family studies program.

Does each undergraduate degree program require Catholic ethical formation related to the student’s major field(s) of study?


Does your institution regularly provide academic events to address theological questions related to specialized disciplines?


If yes, please describe:

ITI hosts regular guest lecturers throughout the academic year, who speak on a variety of topics related to theology, or relevant disciplines.

Does your institution require cooperation among faculty in different disciplines in teaching, research and other academic activities?


If yes, please describe.:

All professors attend guest lectures together, and participate in Q&A afterward.

Regular faculty meetings for discussion of academic decisions.

Faculty attend upper seminars to discuss a particular theological writing.

Faculty organize and participate in conferences and symposiums on various theological topics.

Does the local bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) select or approve the appointment of your chaplain?


Does your institution offer Mass on campus at least on Sundays and other days of obligation?


On average, about what percentage of undergraduate students attend Sunday Mass (including the Saturday vigil Mass) during the academic year? 


Does your institution offer daily Mass to students?


On average, about how many undergraduate students attend daily Mass during the academic year?


Does your institution offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to students at least weekly?


*This depends on the year.  Normally we do have priests who celebrate the Extraordinary Form living on campus, but presently we do not.

Are all of the Masses celebrated on campus reverent and in accord with liturgical norms and directives?


Are the altar servers at your institution’s Masses male only or both male and female?

Male only

Please list the schedule of Masses, noting the following for each Mass: the day and time, the Form or Rite of the Mass, and the style of music, if any (chant, traditional, contemporary, etc.):

ITI is blessed to offer one Mass and one Byzantine Divine Liturgy every day.  We also offer at least one weekly mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Daily Schedule:
12:05 p.m. Mass (Novus Ordo, celebrated by the priests from the teaching faculty)
5:30 p.m. Byzantine Divine Liturgy


Does your institution offer Confession on campus at least weekly?


List the schedule for Confession by day and time:

Confessions are offered every week on Mondays at 8:30 pm immediately after praying the Byzantine Hymn to Our Lady, the “Akathist.” Confessions are also available anytime by appointment.

Does your institution offer Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at least weekly?


List the schedule for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by day and time:

Daily Schedule:
8:00 – 12:00 (chapel)
1:00 – 10:00 (oratory in student housing)

First Friday and Saturday:
Throughout the night

Please identify regularly scheduled devotions on campus for students such as the Rosary and prayer groups:

Daily Schedule:
7:15 am Morning Prayer (Both Latin and Byzantine)
9:30 pm Rosary

8:00 Confession and Akathist Hymn (Byzantine Hymn to Mary. Whereas the most common devotion to Mary in the West is the Rosary, the Akathist serves a similar function for the Eastern Catholics.)

8:00 pm Vespers

Does your institution offer retreat programs available to all Catholic students at least annually?


Please describe any formal programs to foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life:

ITI has a formation program for priests and seminarians.

If your institution has formal vocation programs, about how many students participate in them each year?


Are you aware of any graduates from your institution (not including seminary students, if any) who are ordained to the priesthood or have entered religious life? Please describe.

Yes. There have been several students at the ITI who did not come specifically for priestly formation who ended up discovering their vocation during their time at ITI. Two of these were converts from Protestantism.

Please describe options for students to reside on and off campus:

All students, with very few exceptions, live in on-campus housing

Does your institution offer only single-sex residence halls?


Your institution offers single-sex residence halls for (please put an “X” in front of any that apply):

All students
Any Student who wishes
No students
All freshmen (only if not “All students”)
Only freshmen
X Other (single students)

What percentage of students living on campus live in single-sex residence halls?

75% This is the number of our student body that are single students. ITI also has many married couples and families where one or both of the parents are pursuing a degree.

If your institution offers co-ed residence halls, how are students of the opposite sex separated?

Student housing is comprised of four apartment buildings constructed around a common courtyard. Of those four buildings, one houses single men, another houses single women, and two house the many families that come to study at ITI, as well as some of the professors and their families. Since each building is divided into separate apartments, sometimes a married couple or small family will be housed in one of the single-sex apartment buildings if there is not room elsewhere. This is the only exception made to the single-sex nature of a particular building.

The two buildings which house families are naturally not single-sex, but it would not be correct to describe them as “co-ed.”

When are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit common areas of residence halls?

Students may visit common areas of either apartment building at any time.

Are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit students’ bedrooms? (Not including irregular (once or twice a semester), “open house” events.)


If yes, when?

Single students are only permitted to visit other single students’ rooms from 8 am to 11 pm.

If students of the opposite sex are permitted to visit students’ bedrooms, does your institution have an “open bolt” policy? Please describe.

Yes, there is an open door policy for students of the opposite sex visiting each others’ apartments. This is asked only of the single students however. Since many apartments house either a married couple, or a family, there are no requirements to leave the door open when inviting students into their apartment.

How does your institution foster sobriety and respond to substance abuse on campus, particularly in campus residences?

The undergraduate portion of ITI’s student body is only 1/3 of the entire student body. The majority of the community is comprised of older graduate students, priests, seminarians, married couples and families. Also living on campus with the student body are professors and their families. This creates a student life atmosphere completely unlike traditional college campuses where young students age 18-22 form the majority of the community.

This diversity within the ITI residence community, together with the fact that ITI students are very serious in their faith, has the natural result of a wholesome moral environment. Although there have been exceptions, on the whole, ITI has not needed to exert any pressure on students to drink responsibly. The maturity of older students serves as an example for the younger ones.

How does your institution foster a student living environment that promotes and supports chastity, particularly in campus residences?

All the comments made above apply to this question as well. Particularly since ITI has many classes in Catholic Marriage and Family studies, chastity and it’s practical implications are frequently discussed in classes, and among our students. All students study Pope St. John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body,” which teaches one to view the body of another as a temple of the Holy Spirit. This is the prevailing attitude among ITI students, who foster a great respect among themselves for the sanctity of the human body.

Does your institution have formal programs to foster Catholic prayer life and spirituality in campus residences?


If yes, please describe:

Students are provided with an oratory in the residence buildings. Adoration is offered every day from 1:00 until 10:00, and all night on first Fridays and Saturdays. Students gather for common rosaries, and other devotions.

Additional Residence Life information, clarification or description (optional):

Overall, the diversity of ages, vocations, and walks of life among the student body goes to create a “real-life” community on campus, rather than a community with a very restrictive age range. This makes many typical “college problems” not an issue for ITI. Visitors to ITI always comment on the beauty of the ITI community in residence, and the loving, welcoming, family-like feel of the campus.

Please identify and briefly describe officially recognized student clubs and activities at your institution that…

foster spiritual development:

engage in corporal works of mercy:

address sexual issues (including birth control, abortion, homosexuality):

address issues of social concern:

address particular academic interests:

address particular cultural interests:

provide opportunities for athletic pursuits:

please list all student clubs not listed in the above categories:

There are no officially recognized student clubs at ITI.

Does your institution require all student clubs and activities, including those listed above, to operate in accord with Catholic teaching?

How does your institution address student clubs and activities that may conflict with Catholic teaching?

Does your institution require student services like health care, counseling and guidance to conform to Catholic ethical and moral teaching and directives?

ITI does not provide these services. Spiritual direction is offered by ITI priests, and certainly conforms to Catholic moral teaching.

Additional Student Activities information, clarification or description:

Student activities at ITI are almost entirely student-led. Students gather regularly for common meals, sports events, dances, trips to Vienna and much more.

Has your institution’s diocesan bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) officially recognized the institution as Catholic?


Do your institution’s governing documents include or reference the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae?

Not explicitly.

Do your institution’s governing documents or institutional policies require conformity to the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae?


What is your institution’s mission statement:

The ITI’s mission statement rest on four pillars:

The first pillar is the founding intention of Pope John Paul II. The ITI was founded for the study of Catholic theology as a unified whole within which particular attention is devoted to the theme of marriage and the family. A solid theological formation is needed for Catholic leaders, lay and clergy, to achieve critical judgment in our culture and the capacity to contribute to the new evangelization, which is especially needed in the area of marriage and the family.

The second pillar of the ITI, also part of John Paul II’s founding vision, is its international character, its bridge function between East and West. About 50% of the students come from Central and Eastern Europe (the majority of them are Greek Catholic), others come from Western Europe and the Americas. This international character allows a genuine experience of the universal Church, which must “breathe with both lungs” (John Paul II) East and West.

The third pillar of the ITI is its pedagogy, which consists in studying the original writings of the great Masters of Theology, in addition to Sacred Scripture, esp. the Fathers and the Doctors of the Church. Contact with original texts develops an eye for quality, especially in theology. The great masters lead faculty and students most directly to the realities discussed in theology, above all God himself. This pedagogy also develops the virtues of active reading, attentive discussion and penetrating understanding.

The fourth pillar of the ITI is a rich Catholic community that lives and prays together in the same place and its close vicinity. The example of the Christian family life lived by many among the faculty and students offers the most persuasive and practically helpful evidence of the beauty and practicability of that life. It also encourages the formation of religious and priestly vocations and their blossoming.

Does your institution have a written policy regarding speakers and honorees that at a minimum meets the standards established by the United States bishops in “Catholics in Political Life?”


Describe the makeup of your institution’s undergraduate student body with regard to sex, religion, home state/country and type of high school (public, private, homeschool):

Total number of undergraduates: 27

Male: 40% Female: 60%

Catholic: 100%  Other Christian:
Jewish:  Muslim:  Other:


USA, Holland, Denmark, Germany, Ukraine, Austria, Singapore

Among students from the USA, approximately 50% have been homeschooled.

Most up-to-date information provided by the institution.

Editor’s Note: Campus safety and security information for most colleges is available via the U.S. Department of Education website here.

Are prospective and current members of your institution’s governing board(s) informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of your institution?


Are more than half of the current members of your institution’s governing board(s) practicing Catholics?


Do Catholic members of your institution’s governing board(s) make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


Is your institution’s president a practicing Catholic?


Does your institution’s president make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


Contact International Theological Institute

+43 2253 218 08

Schloss Trumau, Schlossgasse 21, 2521 Trumau
Trumau, Austria

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