Master of Arts in Theology

Courses & Requirements

ODU's Master in Theology curriculum covers the foundational aspects of Catholic theology including scripture, tradition, patristics, sacraments, Christology, Trinity, and Catholic social teaching.

M.A. in Theology Requirements

  • Students must be accepted as degree seeking in the Master of Arts in Theology program.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Graduate Certificate Requirements
Students admitted to the MA in Theology program may desire to complete a Graduate Certificate in Theology rather than the MA degree. Students must complete THL 510 and 12 additional semester credits at the 500 or 600 level, and have a 3.000 or higher grade point average.

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, and moral theology. Students who complete 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.

    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.

View course descriptions for pre- and co-requisites.

Required Courses Credits
THL 510 Introduction to Theology   3
THL 700 Integrative Seminar  3
Select one course from the following:
   THL 525 Prophetic Literature
   THL 550 Synoptic Gospels and Acts
Select two courses from the following:
   THL 600 Trinitarian Theology
   THL 610 Christology
   THL 630 Ecclesiology
Select one course from the following:
   THL 650 Moral Theology
   THL 655 Catholic Social Teaching
 Select 18 additional credits of graduate level THL coursework  18
 Total Credits Required 36 

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