Master of Arts (M.A.)

Master of Arts in Theology Program

The Master of Arts (M.A.) degree program is designed for ordained clergy, seminarians, and lay ecclesial ministers to study the basic elements of the Catholic tradition. The primary aim of the program is to foster a personal integration of faith that supports a solid theological foundation in the Roman Catholic tradition.

Students are provided the opportunity to study theology with the depth and breadth of the faith tradition. In addition to core courses, students choose four elective courses in one of the following areas — Biblical, Historical, Liturgical/Sacramental, Systematic, or Pastoral. While there is a specific ministerial thrust to this program, a desire to become a pastoral minister is not required.

The Master of Arts degree is distinct from the Master of Divinity degree which is required of students who are preparing for the ordained ministry and which is oriented to the practice of that ministry.

To achieve these general goals of the Master of Arts degree the following functional objectives are offered:

  • To provide the participant with an understanding of the basic methodologies of the various theological disciplines.
  • To provide a theological foundation which will enable the participant to grasp the basic elements of the Roman Catholic tradition particularly as they impact upon ministry in the Church today.
  • To put the participant in contact with the important literature in the theological disciplines and to assist in a critical evaluation of this literature.
  • To provide the participant with an opportunity for a specialized focus in one of the following areas: Biblical, Historical, Sacramental-Liturgical, Systematic or Pastoral Theology.

To enable the participant to identify, to integrate and to be articulate about his/her own faith experience and to be able to engage in ongoing qualitative theological reflection about that experience in light of the theological tradition and ministry in the Catholic community.

 

Prerequisites for Admission to the Program

Upon request, prospective students will be provided with a personal application form which should be completed and forwarded to the Academic Dean. As indicated on the application, the applicant must request that an official transcript of credit earned at ALL colleges and graduate schools previously attended be sent directly to the seminary, as well as the results from the Graduate Record Aptitude Examination.

Application deadlines are August 1 (prior to Fall admissions); December 1 (prior to Spring admissions). After the application and other records have been received, letters of recommendation may be requested from former professors and others familiar with the applicant’s ability and probable performance as graduate students.

The following are prerequisites for entry into the Master of Arts program:

  • A Bachelor of Arts degree or its equivalent from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association.
  • Suitable test scores from the Graduate Record Aptitude Examination
  • An undergraduate background supported by undergraduate achievement, which would indicate the ability to engage successfully in graduate theological studies. It is most desirable that this background include courses in philosophy and some introductory undergraduate courses in Scripture and Catholic doctrine.
  • For those pursuing a double degree program (both the Master of Divinity and the Master of Arts degrees), completion of at least one year in the Master of Divinity program while maintaining at least an accumulative “B” average.

Requirements for the Degree

Curriculum Requirements – 44 Semester Hours

Core Courses – 36 semester hours of core courses distributed in the following way:

Biblical Studies – 10 semester hours

Biblical Hermeneutics

2

Pentateuch/Historical Books

3

Synoptic Gospels and Acts

3

Pauline Literature and Catholic Epistles

2
Historical Studies – 6 semester hours

Church History I

3

Church History II

3
Systematics – 14 semester hours

Fundamental Theology

3

Paschal Mystery

3

Christian Church

3

God: One and Three

2

Moral Theology

3
Liturgical and Sacramental Theology – 6 semester hours

Liturgical/Sacramental Theology

3

The Eucharist

3

Electives – 8 semester hours of elective courses distributed in the following way:

Area Electives – 6 semester hours of Biblical, Historical, or Systematic, Liturgical-Sacramental, or Pastoral Studies

General Electives – 2 semester hours [outside main area of emphasis]

After the completion of all course work, the student is required to complete a concluding symposium from one of three formats: a written take-home exam, a developed thesis statement, or a written research paper.

For further information, contact the Academic Dean, or consult the current catalog.