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ODU's Master in Theology curriculum covers the foundational aspects of Catholic theology including scripture, tradition, patristics, sacraments, Christology, Trinity, and Catholic social teaching.
  • Graduation Requirements
    • Each student works with his or her advisor to develop a plan of study. The plan of study is submitted to the Director of the program no later than 12 months before a student's projected graduation date. A copy of the approved plan of study is placed in the student’s advising folder.
    • Each student must complete thirty-six (36) semester hours and have a 3.000 grade point average. No more than six (6) of the 36 credits may be from the one credit THL 685 Special Topics courses which address skills for ministry.
    • Each student must choose between two tracks available: Thesis or Non-Thesis.
      •  For the Thesis option, the student will complete 30 semester hours of coursework and complete a minimum of 6 semester hours of THL 720 Thesis Research where the student will research and write a Master’s level thesis ranging from 60 to 80 pages. After completion the student will present the thesis in a public presentation. The student must be enrolled in THL 720 at the time of the final presentation.
      • For the Non-Thesis option, the student will complete a minimum of 33 semester hours of coursework and enroll in THL 700 Integrative seminar. At the end of the seminar will be a public presentation of the student’s work.
    • Students must complete their program within seven (7) years of acceptance.
    • Students must complete an Application for Graduation according to the dates published in the Academic Calendar. (Application forms are available through ODU Online.)
    • Students must make satisfactory payment of all tuition, graduation fee, library fines, and other financial obligation
  • Curriculum
    The curriculum for the MA in Theology has been developed from the competency goals identified by three key associations for ministry; namely, the National Association for Lay Ministry, the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, Inc., and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership.

    Rev. Joseph T. Merkt, S.T.D., in Common Formation Goals for Ministry, has summarized the competency-based certification standards for these organizations. Three competency areas are delineated: theological,
    professional, and personal.
    • The theological competency goals form the centerpiece of the ODU curriculum. ODU offers courses in biblical, historical, systematic, pastoral theology, and a thesis option. Students whocomplete this program will be prepared for further academic study as well as for ministry.
    • The professional competency goals that contribute to success in ministry are addressed through various electives. There are Special Topics courses (THL 685), opportunities for Independent Study (THL 686), and an Internship in Ministry (THL 697).
    • The personal competency goals are central to the preparation of candidates for ministry, but are not an immediately visible aspect of the program of studies. This aspect of the program is primarily addressed in the opportunities provided for retreats, mentoring, spiritual direction, etc.
      For the students choosing a Non-Thesis option, these competencies will be assessed through the portfolio requirements (see THL 700). One section of the portfolio will be devoted to documentation of meetings with mentors (or similar activities) and reflective essays that address these issues.
    All three sets of competencies identified by the pertinent national associations for ministry are the focus of the required Integrative Seminar (THL 700).

    Upon completion of the Master of Arts in Theology a student will have acquired not only a deeper understanding of the theological insights of Catholic Christianity, but will also have addressed his or her personal appropriation of this tradition as well as its ministerial implications.
  • Course Requirements - Thesis Option
    Required Courses Credits
    THL 510 Introduction to Theology   3
    THL 630 Ecclesiology   3
    THL 720 Thesis Research  6
    Select one course from the following:
       THL 525 Prophetic Literature
       THL 550 Synoptic Gospels and Acts
     3
    Select one course from the following:
       THL 600 Trinitarian Theology
       THL 610 Christology 
     3
    Select one course from the following:
       THL 650 Moral Theology
       THL 655 Catholic Social Teaching
     3
     Select 15 additional credits of graduate level THL coursework  15
     Total Credits Required 36 
  • Course Requirements - Non-Thesis Option
    Required Courses Credits
    THL 510 Introduction to Theology   3
    THL 630 Ecclesiology   3
    THL 700 Integrative Seminar  3
    Select one course from the following:
       THL 525 Prophetic Literature
       THL 550 Synoptic Gospels and Acts
     3
    Select one course from the following:
       THL 600 Trinitarian Theology
       THL 610 Christology 
     3
    Select one course from the following:
       THL 650 Moral Theology
       THL 655 Catholic Social Teaching
     3
     Select 18 additional credits of graduate level THL coursework  15
     Total Credits Required 36