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William J. Dohar, Ph.D., by courtesy

Professor of History and Spirituality, Courtesy of Santa Clara University

B.A., Kent State University;
M.A. in History, M.Div., University of Notre Dame;
M.S.L., Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, St. Michae's College, Toronto;
Ph.D. in Medieval Studies, University of Toronto
Phone: (510) 549-5043
Office Hours: By appointment, Room 201

About the Professor

William Dohar is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Religious Studies Department at Santa Clara University and a courtesy appointment to JST. His main areas of research, publication, and teaching are medieval Christianity, popular religion, the history of pastoral care, and Christian spirituality.

He attended graduate school at the University of Notre Dame and there earned advanced degrees in Theology and Medieval History. He continued with doctoral studies at the University of Toronto, attending the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies where he received a licentiate (M.S.L.) with a thesis on the papal registers of supplication in the 14th century. He continued research on his Toronto doctorate, a study of religion in the time of the Black Death, at Oxford University and resided with the Jesuit Community at Campion Hall. After receiving his Ph.D., he returned to Notre Dame as an Assistant Professor and subsequently Associate Professor in the Department of History. From there, he joined the Religious Studies faculty at SCU and, in 2011, began a courtesy appointment with the Jesuit School of Theology. He is past director of SCU's Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries.

Dohar has published two books in medieval church history and pastoral care. He is currently working on a social, religious and legal study of the later 14th century, based on a lengthy court case brought before the Papal Court in Rome. A related area of interest is monastic and episcopal prisons in late medieval and early modern Europe.

Courses Recently Offered

HS 2498: Church to 1400
HS 4517: Religious Dissent and Reform
SPHS 2004: Christian Spirituality to 1600
SPFT 2513: Ministry and Spirituality


  • (With John Shinners) Pastors and the Care of Souls in Medieval England (University of Notre Dame Press, 1998)
  • The Black Death and Pastoral Leadership: The Diocese of Hereford in the Fourteenth Century (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995)