The Master of Arts in Theology is a 36-credit degree program that prepares students for the academic study of theology. Students develop principles and methods of theological reasoning and research by studying the tradition, as well as the contemporary context, of theological discourse. This degree is especially suited to those who may wish to go on to further study in the theological disciplines. Graduates from this degree program are also employed in a variety of contexts, including secondary and post-secondary educational institutions, diocesan offices, non-profit organizations, and Catholic parishes.
The Master of Arts in Theology degree program enables students:
- to gain mastery of theology as conducted in the Roman Catholic Tradition with particular emphasis on the Sacred Scriptures, the fundamental content of Christian theology, the history and development of doctrine, moral decision making, and the sacramental life of the Church;
- to develop competence in addressing the tasks of theology through an understanding of various theological methods and proficiency in research and theological argumentation;
- to apply the content of the Roman Catholic Tradition in an academically rigorous way to pressing contemporary concerns including ecumenical, global, and multicultural issues;
- to gain an appreciation for the contribution and place of the academic study of theology in the life of the Church.
In addition to the application requirements, these additional items are required for a complete application to the Master of Arts in Theology degree program:
- A three to five-page personal essay focusing on the applicant’s expectations of The Saint Paul Seminary, goals in seeking the master’s degree and a description of one theological work studied in the past year.
- Three letters of recommendation that assess the applicant’s academic abilities and his/her readiness to undertake the study of Theology at the graduate level.
- Optional academic writing sample.
Students in the Master of Arts in Theology degree program complete eleven courses (33 credits) across a broad spectrum of theological sub-disciplines. The culminating capstone experience for the degree is either a set of (written and oral) comprehensive examinations or the research, writing, and oral defense of a masters-level thesis in a particular sub-discipline of theology.
- Eight core courses - 24 credits
- Three elective courses - 9 credits
- Reading proficiency in a second language used for research. Competency is normally demonstrated through the successful completion of a language proficiency exam administered by personnel of The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity.
- Comprehensive exams or Research Thesis - 3 credits
Ecclesiology (3 credits, DVDT 502)
This course explores the origin, nature and mission of the Church in Scripture and Tradition, especially the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium. The course addresses the Church as sacrament and mystery, the marks of the Church and ecumenism, the concept and meaning of the People of God and the relationship between the laity and the ordained ministry. The course includes a special focus on the Blessed Virgin Mary as a type of the Church. Prerequisite: M.Div. Students - DVDT 501 or permission of instructor.
Theological Anthropology (3 credits, DVDT 503)
This course examines the principles that inform a Catholic understanding of the human person including: the revealed truths of creation, sin, grace, justification, merit and final glory. It also addresses questions regarding the relationship between natural and supernatural ends and between the human person’s supernatural vocation and role in the world. Special attention is given to how such content informs lay pastoral leadership and effective ministry.
Christian Theology of God (3 credits, DVDT 661)
Presents a Christian understanding of God based on Scripture and the historical tradition, with attention given to questions of interpretation. This course emphasizes careful reading of key magisterial texts, their implications for the development of Christology and Trinitarian theology and contemporary questions and issues.
Patristics (3 credits, DVHS 601)
This course introduces the literature and theological themes of the patristic period, from the first to the seventh centuries. The course emphasizes the reading and discussion of primary sources in translation. Themes may include the formation of Christian doctrine, the Church, spiritual life broadly construed, the interpretation of the Bible, the relation of faith and culture and the emergence of a Christian consciousness of history.
Fundamental Moral Theology (3 credits, DVMT 601)
This course provides an introduction to the fundamental principles of Catholic moral theology. Special attention is given to the sources of morality, moral decision-making, the natural law tradition in conscience formation and Catholic social thought.
Survey of Old Testament Literature (3 credits, DVSS 525)
Surveys the major genre within the Old Testament canon and examines the principles of interpretation employed in the analysis of the texts. Stresses a plurality of approaches available to the interpreter, while teaching the classical methods of biblical interpretation. The course also introduces Catholic views of canon, inspiration and interpretation.
Survey of New Testament Literature (3 credits, DVSS 530)
Surveys the major genre within the New Testament canon and examines the principles of interpretation employed in the analysis of the texts. Stresses a plurality of approaches available to the interpreter, while teaching the classical methods of biblical interpretation. The course also introduces Catholic views of canon, inspiration and interpretation.
Sacramental Theology (3 credits, DVST 608)
This course examines the principles of sacramental theology with emphasis on the Eucharist and its celebration. It addresses the Sacraments as efficacious signs and participation in the Christian Mysteries. The subject is approached from the perspective of Scripture and the theological tradition as informed by Church teaching.
Electives in the Master of Arts in Theology may be chosen from the complete course listing for The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity with the approval of the student's academic advisor. Working with an advisor, a student can choose courses that support their thesis research, fulfill a personal area of interest, or prepare a graduate of the program to acquire more in-depth expertise in a particular area.
Students enrolled in the Master of Arts in Theology degree program may visit the "Student Resources" Canvas site for complete information including the Master of Arts in Theology Handbook and all pertinent forms.
For more information, please contact Dr. Kenneth Snyder, Associate Academic Dean of The Saint Paul Seminary.