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MA Theology

Either on-campus or through Distance Learning

The M.A. (Master of Arts) in Theology is available either on-campus or through our Distance Learning program. 

The M.A. in Theology program is a course of study designed to give both a broad acquaintance with the major theological disciplines and the opportunity to choose a concentration. It is a flexible program designed to prepare men and women for ministry, teaching religion or theology, for a subsequent Post Master’s Certificate, licentiate or doctoral work, or for integrating their existing life and profession with a theological component.

A student may concentrate in Apologetics, Bioethics, Canon Law, Church History, Divine Worship & Sacraments, Dogmatic Theology, Moral Theology, Philosophical Theology, Sacred Scripture, Spiritual Theology, or Theology & Science. Please note that some concentrations may be available only through Distance Learning.

The student must take 36 semester hours of graduate course work and complete the degree
requirements with a G.P.A. of 3.0 or better. Students who aspire to pursue more advanced
degrees beyond the M.A. may write an M.A. Thesis. All students must take four core courses and pass the summative evaluation requirement (a thesis, comprehensive exams, or a special project). There is a six-year time limit from entry into the program for completion of the degree requirements.

Core Curriculum

Holy Apostles requires M.A. candidates to complete a twelve credit core curriculum within
the program. The core courses are:

  • SS 704 Synoptic Gospels
  • STD 707 God: One and Triune
  • STD 901 Christology
  • STM 620 Fundamental Moral Theology I

Four courses must be taken within the area of concentration.

Summative Evaluation

The Summative Evaluation is the capstone of the student’s academic work in the M.A. program at Holy Apostles College and Seminary. All candidates for the M.A. degree are required to complete a Summative Evaluation exercise, which may take the form of a thesis, a comprehensive exam, or a special project. Full descriptions of the Summative Evaluation exercise are available on the Summative Evaluation page.


A candidate for the M.A. in Theology is required to complete course work from the various theological, liturgical and pastoral areas of graduate study. The following descriptions provide an overview of each area of graduate study, and specify course work normally required for the M.A. in Theology, regardless of concentration. The specific degree requirements for each concentration are listed below.


Courses provide students with the biblical basis for the key Catholic teachings and customs that non-Catholics wonder about, object to, and preach against. Topics include an introduction to apologetics, Catholic norms, nature and grace, the moral magisterium of John Paul II, and non-Catholic beliefs.


Courses articulate authentic Catholic teaching with respect to bioethical issues. They provide students with a solid Magisterial foundation in medical ethics and bioethical science. Some of the topics discussed in an interdisciplinary model are technological reproduction, the criteria for brain death, genetic engineering, end-of-life decisions, "living wills," fetal tissue research, cloning and various legal issues pertaining to bioethical procedures.

Canon Law

Courses provide a comprehensive understanding of the 1983 Code of Canon Law and its historical development. Topics include an introduction to the canons, general norms, marriage law, temporal goods, governmental structures, contentious trial, sacramental law and consecrated life.

Church History

These courses offer a comprehensive study of the Church from its foundation to the Second Vatican Council. They include the teachings of the Church Fathers as well as the history of the Church in America. They provide students with an understanding of the role of Catholics in knowing the times and interpreting them in light of the Gospel.

Divine Worship & the Sacraments

The concentration on Divine Worship and the Sacraments covers the theology, practice, history, law, and implementation of divine worship or sacred liturgy in general and of the seven sacraments in particular. Of particular interest to those involved in planning or offering divine worship services, the classes address specific topics including individual sacraments -- especially the Most Holy Eucharist -- the divine office, the liturgical year, and liturgical history.

Dogmatic Theology

Courses are designed to examine the doctrine of the Catholic Church. Topics covered include Trinity, Christology, Ecclesiology, the Sacraments, Mariology and Grace. Required courses are STD 707 - God: One and Triune and STD 901 - Christology.

Moral Theology

Courses place in perspective the philosophical and theological tools with which the complex issues of morality are theoretically and practically evaluated. They help the student to discover the theological and moral virtues within the context of human activity. Canon Law is covered by courses in this area. The required course is STM 620 - Fundamental Moral Theology I.

Pastoral Theology

Courses provide a comprehensive understanding of the role of the laity in the work of the Church. Topics include an investigation into the history of Church ministry, the relationship between the laity and the clergy and the practical way in which this plays out on the parish level in pastoral councils, theological reflection, the steps being taken to a greater mutuality among American parishioners and international priests serving in U.S. dioceses, the rise of multicultural parishes, marriage preparation and other issues relevant to 21st century Catholicism in the United States.

Philosophical Theology

Courses provide a comprehensive understanding of the importance of philosophical thought as it relates to contemporary and classic theology. St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, and Pope John Paul II are among those studied. Topics include medieval philosophy, God as First Principle, modern atheism and its causes, virtue and personalism, and the secular world.

Sacred Scripture

Courses are designed to provide the student with a comprehensive understanding and love of Scripture, the soul of theology. Courses will include books of the Old and New Testaments, particularly the Gospels as the heart of the Scriptures. Methods of patristic interpretation as well as modern methods of interpretation will be utilized. The required course is SS 704 - Synoptic Gospels.

Spiritual Theology

Courses provide a comprehensive understanding of the interior life as it should be lived in relationship with God. Topics include an introduction to spirituality, the history of Christian spirituality, spirituality & asceticism, contemplation and various figures in the development of Christian spirituality, such as St. Catherine of Siena and St. Teresa of Avila.

Theology & Science

Courses provide a comprehensive understanding of the relationship that exists between Divine Revelation and Nature, both of which were authored by God. Topics include the role of the Church in advancing scientific achievement, cosmology and the physics of God’s design, the human person and biogenetics, and the theology of environmental stewardship.

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