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Academic Programs Overview


The Ecumenical Institute offers the following:

Theological education in this country is guided by the principles and policies of the Association of Theological Schools of the United States and Canada (ATS). ATS member schools, including St. Mary's Seminary & University, develop academic standards that comply with the norms of North American higher education more generally, while also addressing the particular needs of faith communities for scholarship and leadership.

ATS divides theological master's degrees into two types: those oriented toward general theological studies and those oriented toward ministerial leadership. St. Mary's Seminary & University offers two degree programs, one of each type in the basic ATS classification, through the Ecumenical Institute of Theology. The Master of Arts in Theology is a general theological studies degree. The Master of Arts in Church Ministries is a ministerial leadership degree —an example of what ATS calls an M.A. in a specialized ministry.

Each degree requires 51 credits (17 three-credit courses) plus a culminating experience. Each program is designed primarily for part-time study over several years but is the equivalent of a two-year full-time program, the norm for these two theological degrees according to ATS standards.

Master of Arts in Theology
The Master of Arts in Theology 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 51 credits plus a culminating experience. Students may pursue a general program or concentrate in biblical studies, history, moral theology, or systematic theology.

Master of Arts in Church Ministries
The Master of Arts in Church Ministries is a multi-track, ministerial leadership degree program designed to equip persons for competent leadership in some form of specialized ministry in congregational or other settings. The degree is earned with the successful completion of 51 credits and a supervised ministry experience. Students choose one of the following seven tracks as their focal area of study:

Dual-Degree Enrollment
Students who wish to enroll in both the M.A. in Theology and the M.A. in Church Ministries programs may apply to do so either simultaneously or sequentially, provided they meet the admissions requirements for each degree. Normally, the total number of credits required to earn both degrees is 75 (though it may be higher), plus a culminating experience for each degree. Further details are listed at the section on admissions, under "Dual-Degree and Second-Master's Enrollment."



Master's-Level Certificates
The Ecumenical Institute's master's-level certificate programs are designed primarily to serve the needs of laypersons interested in ministry in churches, schools, and religious or community organizations. The E.I. offers seven such certificates, ranging from 6 to 24 credits:

Certificate of Advanced Studies
The post-master's Certificate of Advanced Studies in Theology is a 30-credit degree program designed for individuals who possess a master's degree in theology, ministry, divinity, or a related field. Candidates may pursue a general program or concentrate in biblical studies, ecumenical and interfaith studies, history, moral theology (theological ethics), practical theology, religious education, spirituality, or systematic theology.



Explorations in Theology is a series of courses established for people considering serious study of theology, religion, and ethics for the first time. It introduces beginning students to major dimensions of the theological tradition and helps them better understand some of the great religious and ethical issues of our time.

Admission requirements for all programs are listed under Admission and Registration.