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Master of Arts in Theology (MAT)

Program Description

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The Master of Arts in Theology (MAT) provides academic training in Christian thought by way of a thorough study of biblical, historical, systematic, and spiritual theology. The program focuses on Christian classics, past and present.

Attention is given not only to major texts of the Roman Catholic tradition, but also to representative Jewish, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant texts as well. Its concentration on spirituality offers an in-depth examination of the theory and practice of Christian spirituality, past, and present.

Individuals choose to enter the MAT program for a variety of reasons. Some undertake the M.A. degree in preparation to enter a doctoral program. Many desire a degree that will equip them for the many ministries that are emerging in today’s church.

Others already have professional competencies in a field other than theology and wish to acquire competence in theology or spirituality. The MAT program also accommodates individuals whose intention is to pursue a personal, avocational interest in theological studies.

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

The Master of Arts in Theology degree is conferred upon candidates who have met the following requirements:

  • completion of required courses.
  • attainment of a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • a passing grade on the written comprehensive examination.

YEARS TO COMPLETE THE PROGRAM

The degree program must be completed within seven years. The degree program follows the standard semester calendar and a specific summer schedule. A minimum of two years is required to complete the program.

Major Requirements

CURRICULUM

REQUIRED COURSES
THEO 6100 Old Testament Texts: A Critical Study
THEO 6200 New Testament Texts: A Critical Study
THEO 6440 History of Spirituality I: Early Church to Reformation
THEO 6540 History of Spirituality II: Reformation to Vatican II

Plus two of the following:
THEO 6700 God and Christ
THEO 6800 Church and Sacraments
THEO 6900 Christian Ethics

After completion of course work:
THEO 6960 Comprehensive Examination

Elective courses (eight credits):
THEO 6020 Pastoral Theology
THEO 6030 Educating for Life: Religious Education in Christian Communities
THEO 6060 Issues in Pastoral Theology
THEO 6090 Passing on the Faith: The Ministry of Faith Formation
THEO 6300 Advanced Scripture
THEO 6720 Spirituality and Leadership
THEO 6740 Introduction to Spiritual Direction
THEO 6750 Foundational Issues in Spiritual Direction
THEO 6760 Family Spirituality
THEO 6770 World Spiritualities
THEO 6780 Spirituality and the Life Stages
THEO 6790 Jung and Spiritual Guidance
THEO 6810 Biblical Spirituality
THEO 6820 The Art of Discernment
THEO 6830 Spirituality and Sexuality
THEO 6850 Liturgical Spirituality
THEO 6952 Independent Study
THEO 6992 Topics: Holistic Spirituality

Choose one of the options:
THEO 7754 Practicum
THEO 7764 Practicum/Internship (off-site) OR THEO 8990 Masters Thesis OR one additional four-credit theology course

Comprehensive Examination
Upon completion of the required courses with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, you are considered a candidate for the MAT degree. At this point, you take a written comprehensive exam (THEO 6960) on the total program of studies.

Registration for THEO 6960 takes place at the time of registration for the term during which you intend to schedule the exam. There is no fee for taking this exam. Comprehensive examinations are scheduled twice a year.

The exam is divided into three parts. To pass the exam, all three parts must be passed. If you fail a part, you have one more chance to pass that part. The exam must be retaken within four weeks.

Practicum, Master’s Thesis and Additional Course Options

OPTION #1: PRACTICUM
The practicum is meant to give you the opportunity to put theory into practice and practice into theory. It supplements the academic study as an indispensable, though not dominant, part of the program.

You may choose the focus of the practicum:

  • Practicum in spiritual direction. A minimum of 100–150 hours of supervised experience in spiritual direction is required. This experience could be gained through one of two kinds of affiliation; namely, with (1) an established program or center of spiritual direction or (2) an individual or team of spiritual directors. Both the program and the individual practitioner must be approved by the MAT program practicum coordinator.
  • Practicum in pastoral ministry with a strong spirituality component. Such a practicum could be carried out within a position or training program in pastoral ministry. Both the program and the individual practitioner must be approved by the MAT program practicum coordinator.
  • Practicum in catechetical ministry. Such a practicum could be carried out within a position in catechetical ministry. Both the position and the individual practitioner must be approved by the MAT program practicum coordinator.

Registration:

If you wish to pursue the practicum option, you must arrange the learning experience and receive approval by the MAT program practicum coordinator before registering for THEO 7754 or THEO 7764. 

Register for the practicum in the semester agreed upon by you and the MAT program practicum coordinator. For additional information about the practicum option, see the MAT program director or call the MAT department at 651-690-6017.

OPTION #2: MASTER’S THESIS
The thesis is an in-depth research paper on a selected topic in theology or spirituality. The paper is conceived and written with the guidance of a thesis director. Those intending to pursue a doctorate degree are encouraged to discuss this option with the MAT program director.

Registration: If you wish to pursue the master’s thesis option you must register for THEO 8990 and follow the procedures outlined in the MAT Student Manual.

For additional information about the master’s thesis option, see the MAT program director or call the MAT department at 651-690-6017.

OPTION #3: ADDITIONAL COURSE
This option is available to those who wish to strengthen their theological background by taking an additional four-credit course in the area that best serves their aims.

DUAL MSW/MA DEGREE PROGRAM

The Master of Social Work and Master of Arts in Theology programs have developed a collaborative dual degree program in social work and theology. This program was developed to reinforce and support a professional perspective that serves the multiple and complex needs of clients.

As a dual degree applicant, you need to express your intention upon application and be accepted into both the graduate social work and graduate theology programs. Once accepted, you develop a plan for completing both degrees with the support of an advisor from each program. Upon completion, you will earn two master's degrees.

CERTIFICATES

MAT students have the opportunity to acquire a graduate certification in pastoral ministry, spiritual direction or catechetical ministry.

For the pastoral ministry certificate: 

Academic requirements include a total of 20 theology credits and a four-credit practicum. The five required courses include one from each sequence: scriptural, historical, systematic theology, plus THEO 6020 and 6060. The practicum (THEO 7764) requirements include a learning contract, field education internship, the ministry portfolio and the spiritual development component.

For the spiritual direction certificate:

Academic requirements include THEO 6740, 6750, 6780, 6790 (or THEO 6992 Topics: Holistic Spirituality) and 6820, three 4-credit courses — one from each sequence: scriptural, historical, systematic theology — and one other two-credit course of your choice. A supervised internship also is required: THEO 7764.

For the catechetical ministry certificate:

Academic requirements include a total of 20 theology credits and a four-credit practicum. The five required courses include one from each sequence: scriptural, historical, systematic theology, plus THEO 6030 and 6090. The practicum (THEO 7764) requirements include a learning contract, field education internship, the ministry portfolio and the spiritual development component.

For additional information about the certificate programs, call the MAT department at 651-690-6017. Contact the Graduate Admissions Office at 651-690-6933 for a brochure and application forms.

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