Master of Arts in Theology - MA

Program Description

The Master of Arts in Theology (MAT) provides academic training in Christian thought by way of a thorough study of  Scripture, systematic theology, and the history of Christian spirituality. 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 Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, Jewish and other interfaith 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.

MAT Articulation Program for St. Catherine Undergraduate Seniors

The Articulation Program offers qualified seniors enrolled at St. Catherine University the opportunity to take 1-2 courses in the MAT program while completing their undergraduate degree. These graduate credits count as electives toward the bachelor’s degree, or (with approval) as course replacements within the student’s major in the undergraduate program. Additionally, the credits apply toward the graduate degree if the student is admitted into the MAT program after completing the bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate students must meet the following conditions to be eligible for the Articulation program:

  • Current enrollment in a St. Catherine University bachelor’s degree program (Day or E/W/O)
  • Completion of at least 92 semester credits by the first day of the graduate class
  • Completion of at least 16 credits in residence in St. Kate's bachelor’s program
  • An institutional cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • In need of elective credits (or approved course replacement within the major) to complete their bachelor’s degree requirements
  • Approval from the Academic Advising Office

Please note: being eligible for the Articulation program (based on the above criteria) does not guarantee approval by the MAT program director to enroll in a graduate-level course.

Interested students must meet with Academic Advising to confirm eligibility and to obtain guidance in completing the following application requirements for MAT consideration:

  • Personal statement indicating professional background and personal goals (one page)
  • Current résumé
  • One recommendation completed by a St. Kate’s faculty member, attesting to the student’s readiness for graduate academic rigor

Students who are eligible for the Articulation Program will submit the above-required documents to their academic advisor, who will forward the material (along with a copy of the student’s current St. Catherine University transcript) to the MAT program director for review. If the program director approves the request for graduate-level enrollment, the director and student will discuss course options for the upcoming semester(s). The student then works with her academic advisor to register for the graduate course(s) during the upcoming registration period.

Both the Academic Advising Office and the MAT program reserve the right to limit the number of undergraduate students in the graduate courses. Articulation students who receive approval for graduate enrollment will be registered for specific graduate courses on a first-come, first-served basis. Undergraduate students must complete all of the coursework and meet the same academic expectations required of the graduate students in the MAT classes.

Acceptance as an Articulation student and enrollment in a graduate-level course does not guarantee admission into the full MAT degree program (or other St. Catherine University graduate programs) if the student applies for graduate admission in the future.


Required Courses
THEO 6100Old Testament Texts: A Critical Study4
THEO 6200New Testament Texts: A Critical Study4
THEO 6440History of Spirituality I: Early Church to Reformation4
THEO 6540History of Spirituality II: Reformation to Vatican II4
Select two of the following:8
God and Christ
Church and Sacraments
Christian Ethics
After completion of course work:
THEO 6960Comprehensive Examination0
Elective Courses
Select eight credits of the following:8
Pastoral Theology
Educating for Life: Religious Education in Christian Communities
Issues in Pastoral Theology
Passing On The Faith: The Ministry Of Faith Formation
Advanced Scripture
Spirituality and Leadership
Introduction to Spiritual Direction
Foundational Issues in Spiritual Direction
Family Spirituality
World Spiritualities
Spirituality and the Life Stages
Jung and Spiritual Guidance
Biblical Spirituality
The Art of Discernment
Spirituality And Sexuality
Liturgical Spirituality
Independent Study
Topics (Holistic Spirituality)
Select one of the options:4
Practicum - Off Site
Master's Thesis
one additional four-credit theology course
Total Credits36

Comprehensive Examination

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

Registration for THEO 6960 Comprehensive Examination takes place at the time of registration for the term during which students 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 a student fails a part, she or he has 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 students 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.

Students 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.

Students who wish to pursue the practicum option must arrange the learning experience and receive approval by the MAT program practicum coordinator before registering for THEO 7754 Practicum or THEO 7764 Practicum - Off Site.

Students register for the practicum in the semester agreed upon by the student 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: Students who wish to pursue the master’s thesis option 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.

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