Master of Arts Degree in Theology
Theology is the study of religious belief, practice and experience. At the Athenaeum, theology is focused on the beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church and the experience of its members. Theology is subdivided into study of five different subjects: philosophy as a preparation for theology, biblical studies, moral theology, Church history, and systematic theology. Graduates of the Athenaeum's master's degree program will have a broad, master's level ability to study and teach theology and will be prepared to pursue doctoral studies if they wish.
Course and research requirements
Students in the program take the following 24 credits of required courses:
- Philosophy for Theological Studies (2 credits)
- PH 310
- Biblical Studies (4 credits)
- LPB 301 or a required Old Testament course in the seminary curriculum
- LPB 302 or a required New Testament course in the seminary curriculum
- Moral Theology (4 credits)
- LPS 403 or CL 230
- LPS 414, CL 234, 236 or 237
- Church History (2 credits)
- LPH 302 or H 320 or 340
- Systematic Theology (12 credits)
- S 225
- S 230
- LPS 302 or S 240
- LPS 303 or S 233
- LPS 401 or LS 232
Students also take 6 credits of elective courses, chosen from the areas of biblical studies, moral or spiritual theology, Church history or systematic theology. If a special studies student takes any of the required two-credit courses for three credits, the extra credits earned can be applied to the fulfillment of these elective hours.
Students will also complete 4 credits of major research in theology by writing a thesis.
After completing all course requirements, students take a comprehensive examination. The exam is divided into two parts. The first part is a written examination, consisting of essay questions on theological study in the areas of biblical studies, moral theology, Church history and systematic theology, and the integration of these areas of study. The second part is a 30-minute oral defense of one's major research before a board of three faculty members, including the director of the research. The student must pass both parts of the examination.
Prerequisites for Admission to the Program
In order to apply, a candidate must have completed a Bachelor of Arts degree with a 3.0 average.
A student must apply to the dean of Special Studies for admission either by May 1 for autumn semester admission or by October 1 for spring semester admission. Application and letter of recommendation forms are available below for download or from the registrar's office.
Someone who is interested in theology, but not in a full master's degree, can take many of the Athenaeum's theology courses individually.
Since 1990 42% of those admitted to the Master of Arts in Theology degree program have earned the degree.