For more than 125 years, Iliff has been at the forefront of theological education. It is recognized nationally and internationally for its emphasis on peace, justice, and ethics. Founded in 1892 by Colorado Seminary (now the University of Denver), and incorporated as an independent institution in 1903, Iliff has been on the forefront of graduate theological education. Related to the United Methodist Church, Iliff serves more than 30 denominations and faith traditions.
Iliff is a great place to question and learn about the issues that have faced the world. At Iliff, we recognize that dialogue is important, no matter how complicated or uncomfortable that may feel. Most importantly, though, we understand that change starts with you and your leadership. The school is an important place for dialogue and understanding about many of the most important issues that face the world today.
As one of the best theological schools in the nation, the school offers a diverse community in a beautiful Denver, Colorado setting that is supportive, challenging, progressive, and enriching for students.
If you’re thinking about attending, at Iliff you’ll find a rich combination of rigorous academics and experiences that will help you lead in life’s journey – whether your choice is one of personal or professional growth, a stepping stone toward service helping others, or for ministries yet to be imagined. Our students come from a diverse array of backgrounds and you’ll learn as much from your classmates, as you do from our internationally renowned faculty. Combined with the flexibility of our traditional classroom, online, or hybrid courses, you’ll learn not just about yourself, but get the preparation needed for where you are headed.
Our Core Values
To learn about Iliff, it helps to understand the values that guide our decisions and community life. These values are an important part of what makes Iliff special. We aspire to embody these ideals in our everyday interactions.
Authenticity, Empowerment, Engagement, Honor, Integrity
- We are a learning community that engages the whole person through mind, body, and spirit.
- We value scholarship and the integration of theory and experience.
- We value our progressive theological heritage and how it finds expression in emerging forms of pedagogy and practice.
- We are an incubator for innovation.
Action, Dignity, Diversity, Empowerment, Integrity, Respect
- We value the differences in our community.
- We align ourselves with social justice, equality, and wholeness.
- We strive to take care of each other as we journey together.
Openness, Dignity, Reconciliation, Respect, Transparency
- We promote honesty and transparency and maintain healthy relationships when in tension.
- We strive to involve all affected constituents in decision-making processes.
Dignity, Respect, Spirituality
- We value the creative and inspirational nature of our work: spiritual, intellectual, and vocational.
- We celebrate theological discernment and spiritual depth.
- Our core values arise out of our United Methodist heritage.
1884 – Elizabeth Iliff Warren announces an offer of $100,000 to endow a theological school
1892 – The Iliff School of Theology formally opens, affiliated with the University of Denver
1903 – Iliff incorporates as an independent institution from the University of Denver
1936 – Accreditation by the newly formed American Association of Theological Schools
1956 – Ira J. Taylor Library opens with 45,000 volumes.
1973 – Accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges as a professional doctoral degree-granting institution
1981 – Iliff and the University of Denver jointly inaugurate the Doctor of Philosophy in Religion degree program
1998 – Dedication of the $3.6 million Bacon Education Center, which includes a 15,000 square foot addition to the Ira J. Taylor Library
2010 – Launch of the Journey program, the premier progressive flexible residency MDiv in America
2014 – Under the leadership of Tom Wolfe, the community of the Iliff School of Theology committed to a year of active discernment that led to a new strategic plan
2015 – Ira J. Taylor Library renews a partnership with the University of Denver libraries to increase available resources many thousandfold
2016 – Installation of the 352-panel solar array complete, which offsets 65% of our annual electric use. See an aerial video of the project
2019 – The “Transition Generation”
2020 – Reimagining Iliff’s future
2021 – A Clear Path Forward
2022- Iliff President to retire summer 2023
Iliff’s eight-acre campus contains both historical and modern buildings in a beautiful park-like setting. Facilities range from the stately Iliff Hall, built in 1892 as the school’s first building, to the more modern Skaggs Hall. The School is located in a vibrant university community that offers many housing options. In addition, we are located within walking distance of both light rail and bus lines that conveniently connect Iliff to the broader Denver metropolitan area.
More than 2,100 Iliff graduates work and serve – in denominations, non-profit organizations, and corporations – in countries around the globe. Since 1892, Iliff students have learned from a variety of experiences inside and outside of the traditional academic classroom that help them encounter the world with imagination and courage.
Iliff is one of 13 United Methodist theological schools in the United States. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the Association of Theological Schools, and the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Learn about our degree programs here.
Iliff’s ecumenical, multi-ethnic faculty brings a wealth of experience to students and provides an educational resource unique to Iliff. Iliff’s faculty is active in church leadership, scholastic research and publishing, as well as in social and community service. Iliff also utilizes the rich resources of adjunct faculty from the Denver area and is host to visiting faculty from around the world. Learn about our faculty.
The Ira J. Taylor Library
The Ira J. Taylor Library has served the research and information needs of the Iliff community and the public for more than 50 years. The library contains the largest theological collection in the Rocky Mountain Region, with more than 250,000 volumes, and 900-plus periodical and serial subscriptions. Visit the library site.