Master of Arts in Theology

The Master of Arts in Theology (MAT) is a general theological studies degree that provides foundational studies in the main disciples of theology, including biblical studies, history, moral theology (theological ethics), spirituality, systematic theology, and ecumenical and interfaith studies. Electives are also available in practical theology and religious education. The degree is earned with the successful completion of 48 credits, including a culminating experience. Students may pursue a general program or concentrate in biblical studies, history, moral theology, or systematic theology.

Educational Goals and Opportunities

Students in the Master of Arts in Theology program pursue the following goals:

  • To gain knowledge and understanding of the Christian and Jewish traditions as contained in Scripture, creeds, theological writings, and denominational statements
  • To foster personal religious commitment through theological reflection, reading, writing, and discussion
  • To relate theological knowledge and religious convictions to the personal and social issues of contemporary life, and to articulate an informed understanding of these issues
  • To develop research, writing, and communication skills in preparation for further professional or academic activities
  • To grow in ecumenical and interfaith awareness and sensitivity

The Curriculum

The curriculum of the Master of Arts in Theology program consists of 16 three-credit courses and a culminating experience. The courses include:

  • An introduction to theological study and an orientation to biblical studies
  • Requirements (with some choice) in six departments
  • Three free electives

For their culminating experience, students may do one of the following, depending on their interest, background, and grade point average:

  • Take a comprehensive exam
  • Participate in a colloquium (integrative seminar) which counts as the 16th course
  • Write a thesis which counts as the 16th course

Graduation Requirements

Graduation requirements for the Master of Arts in Theology are as follows:

  • Satisfactory completion of 48 credits, according to specific distribution requirements
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 for all courses taken at St. Mary’s
    Note: Students whose GPA falls below 2.7 risk academic probation or dismissal.
  • Satisfactory completion of the culminating experience

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Course Requirements

The following courses are required for the Master of Arts in Theology.

Introductory Courses (2 courses)

  • TH601 Introduction to Theological Study
    Note: TH601 is normally a pre- or corequisite for other courses in the program; students with prior theological study may petition to waive this course and substitute a free elective.
  • BS600 Orientation to Biblical Studies
    Note: BS600 is normally a pre- or corequisite for most other courses in biblical studies in the program; students with prior academic biblical study may petition to replace this course with a biblical elective.

Biblical Studies (3 courses)

  • BS621 Literature and Theology of the Hebrew Bible
  • BS622 Literature and Theology of the New Testament
  • One BS elective

Ecumenical and Interfaith Studies (1 course)

  • Any ES (Ecumenical and Interfaith Studies) course

 History (2 courses)

  • H601 The Early and Medieval Christian Church
  • H603 Modern Church History

Systematic and Moral Theology (4 courses)

  • ST601 Foundations of Systematic Theology
  • MT600 Fundamentals of Theological Ethics
  • Two electives from Moral Theology and/or Systematic Theology

Spirituality (1 course)

    • Any three credit SP (Spirituality) course, except courses in spiritual direction.

Free Electives (3 courses)

Any courses for which the co- and/or prerequisites are met, including up to two 500-level courses taken before matriculation, and three 1-credit SP courses.

Culminating Experience

The Master of Arts in Theology program requires a culminating experience designed to promote integration and to assess overall achievement of degree outcomes. For their culminating experience, students may do one of the following, depending on their interest, background, and grade point average:

  • Take comprehensive examinations
  • Participate in a master’s colloquium (TH799, an integrative seminar offered each spring)
  • Write a thesis

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Concentrations