Master of Arts in Theology

Dr. Bradley Beach, Chair
Dr. Chris Seeman, Program Director

Program Philosophy

By its very nature, theology involves graduate-level learning, teaching and scholarship. As faith seeking understanding, theological reflection presupposes comprehensive, in-depth exploration of divine revelation and the Church’s ongoing engagement with it. As a dialogue between faith and reason, it generates new insights into sacred mystery. As a response to our baptismal call to apply our gifts to the building up of Christ’s body and the evangelization of the world, it obligates us to communicate those insights as competent scholars and to live out their implications as servant-leaders.

Because the one Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church, “which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him” (Lumen Gentium 8), theology must be informed by and faithful to the Church’s magisterium. By the same token, because “many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside” the visible structure of the Church and her teachings (ibid.), it must also be ecumenical in scope, dialogical in approach, and ready to embrace truth wherever it may be found (Unitatis Redintegratio; Nostra Aetate; Fides et Ratio). Finally, because it is never an end in itself but rather a means of deepening Christian discipleship, sound theological education must advance the Church’s mission “of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel” (Gaudium et Spes 4).

Although all are called “to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity” (Lumen Gentium 40), each of us responds to this call differently in accordance with the vocation and gifts which the Holy Spirit assigns us. The purpose of a theology program is to help clarify that vocation and activate those gifts. Therefore, while all theology students share a common core of learning experiences, they also have the responsibility, in consultation with an academic adviser, of individualizing their curriculum to support their own distinctive form of servant-leadership.

Program Goals

The overarching goal of the Master of Arts in Theology is to form intentional Christian disciples who will use their knowledge and skills to serve the Church and advance its mission in the world. The program helps students realize this goal in three stages:

  1. A core curriculum that provides comprehensive, in-depth knowledge of Scripture and Tradition and cultivates foundational skills of theological reflection

  2. A concentration curriculum that develops specific, interdisciplinary competencies in Pastoral Ministry, Religious Education, or Parish Administration—or, for those who plan to go on to doctoral-level work, elective topics that will support their continued academic development

  3. A culminating assignment (a thesis or project) that integrates, demonstrates, and applies the knowledge, skills, and competencies acquired over the course of the program

A student who successfully completes the program will be able to:

  • Integrate Sacred Scripture, critically and ecclesially, as a source of divine revelation and as a foundation for communal and individual prayer

  • Demonstrate the synthesis of Sacred Tradition as a source of divine revelation in the historical development of Christian theology in general, and of dogmatic beliefs in particular

  • Apply theological research and scholarship in a manner appropriate to one’s audience

  • Apply the moral teachings of the Catholic Church in challenging, nuanced, and ambiguous circumstances

  • Demonstrate pastoral skills necessary for effective leadership in the Church in a variety of concrete and specific ways, employing relevant, creative and effective catechetical and instructional models

  • Integrate their personal “story” with the story of salvation through a synthesis of their life lived in the sacramental, liturgical, catechetical and overall spiritual life of and in the Church

Master of Arts in Theology Academic Guidelines

With permission of the Director of the Graduate Program in Theology, a maximum of three courses or nine semester credits of graduate work may be transferred from other accredited institutions, provided the work is "B" quality or better. The remainder of the course work for the master’s degree must be earned at Walsh University. Usually no transfer of credit will be allowed for courses taken more than five years prior to matriculation in the graduate program.

Permission to register for a course without formal admission to the Master of Arts in Theology program may be granted to a non-matriculated college graduate by the Director of the Graduate Program in Theology.  A maximum of six graduate credit hours may be taken prior to admission to the M.A. program.  Once application is complete and approved a student may continue course work.

Admission Policy

Persons with bachelor’s degrees from accredited colleges, with promising scholastic standing and with personal and professional potential will be considered for admission to the Master of Arts in Theology program. New students planning to take graduate courses should contact the Program Director at least six weeks before classes begin.

Requirements for admission as a matriculated student in the Master of Arts in Theology program include:

Completed application form, accompanied by a non-refundable application/registration fee of $25.

Official transcript(s) of undergraduate and all other graduate study sent directly from the applicant’s college(s) to Walsh University Admissions Office.

Recommendations by three persons qualified to appraise scholastic aptitude, personal and professional promise.

  • One affidavit of good moral character
  • A minimum of a 3.0 grade point average at the undergraduate level (4.0 scale).
  • Interview with the Program Director.
  • Evidence of proficiency in written English. Student will be required to produce a writing proficiency sample.
  • Miller’s Analogy 40 or GRE Scores.

An applicant who has completed the admission process but does not satisfy the admissions criteria may be granted a conditional acceptance.  To convert the conditional acceptance to full acceptance, the conditionally accepted student must successfully complete all the admissions criteria. A conditionally accepted student may complete a maximum of 6 credit hours in the program.

Registration Procedures

Students who are fully admitted to the program may register by either of the following procedures:

Call 330-490-7367 to reserve a place in a class.  You will be asked to provide your name, address, telephone number and social security number.  You will process the official registration at the first class meeting.

Complete the registration form provided with each semester’s Schedule of Classes and return it in person, by mail or fax (330-490-7372) or use the online registration process.

Categories Of Graduate Students

  • NON-MATRICULATED: A non-matriculated student is a student enrolled in a graduate course who has not completed admission requirements or does not intend to pursue a graduate degree but wishes to enroll in graduate coursework for professional development. A non-matriculated student may apply for transfer as a matriculated student. No more than 6 semester hours taken as a non-matriculated student may be applied toward the master’s degree.

  • MATRICULATED: A matriculated student is a degree-seeking student who has met all admission requirements for the degree program.

  • CANDIDATE: A candidate is a matriculated student who has successfully completed at least one half of the coursework for the degree program with a cumulative quality point average of 3.0 or higher (based upon a 4.0 scale).

Academic Advising

Upon admission to the master’s program, the student is assigned to a graduate faculty member who will then work with the student to develop a plan that will allow the student to progress through the program as efficiently as possible. Students are encouraged to meet with their advisors prior to registration each semester to confirm their program plan.

THEOLOGY B.A./M.A. PROGRAM

The B.A./M.A. program is designed to provide high-achieving students an accelerated path to theological literacy and professional competency in service to the Church—especially in fields such as Pastoral Ministry, Religious Education and Parish Administration—or as preparation for doctoral-level research. B.A./M.A. coursework integration results in a streamlined educational program wherein students can earn their M.A. in approximately 6 years.

In addition to meeting separate admission requirements for the B.A./M.A. program (beyond general admission to the university), students must maintain a 3.3 GPA in their undergraduate coursework, and follow all undergraduate and graduate academic policies and procedures to remain in good standing in the program. With the permission of their advisor, B.A./M.A. students take three graduate courses during the last three semesters of their undergraduate degree program: THEO 679, THEO 680 and THEO 681. Upon completion of the undergraduate requirements for the B.A. portion of the program, students will be awarded the degree of Bachelor of Arts. An official Change of Status form must be filed with the Division of Philosophy and Theology to change the student status from undergraduate to graduate. Upon completion of all graduation requirements, students will be awarded the Master of Arts.

The Master's level program in Theology requires a curriculum of 36 hours. The Core courses consist of 24 credit hours. In addition to completing the core courses the student may choose one of the following options:

  • Thesis Option: The student may choose six credit hours from courses offered in a particular theological concentration, and opt for a six-hour thesis to attain a master’s degree.

OR

  • Concentration Option: The student may choose one of three concentrations (Parish Administration, Religious Education or Pastoral Ministry), choosing three courses offered in a particular theological concentration (3 credits each), and a three-hour capstone Integration Project that relates to and applies in a practical way to the track in which the student has chosen to concentrate.
Core graduate courses required (24 hours)
THEO 670Catholic Tradition3
THEO 679Christology and the Trinity3
THEO 680Catholic Moral Life3
THEO 681Ecclesiology3
Theology Electives
THEO 682Old Testament Scriptures3
THEO 683New Testament Scriptures3
THEO 690Spiritual Foundations3
THEO 691Liturgy and Sacraments3
THEO 600Spec Topics in Ecclesial Lead3
THEO 610Spec Topics in Moral Theology3
THEO 620Spec Topics in App Pract Theo3
THEO 630Special Topics in Scripture2,3
THEO 640Special Topics in Theology3
For those not opting for the 6 hr. thesis, please select one of the three concentrations below (choosing three courses from a particular concentration in addition to a 3 hr. capstone Integration Project).
Religious Education Concentration
Cetechesis
Lay Ecclesial Leadership
Psychology of Learning
Creat Approach Individ Instruc
Teach Strateg in Nursing Educ
Pastoral Ministry Concentration
Lay Ecclesial Leadership
CPE: Eccl Leader/Pastoral Care
DV:Intro Counsel/Counsel Prof
Lifepsan Development
Group Process
Parish Administration Concentration
Parish Administration
Lay Ecclesial Leadership
Not-For-Profit Accounting
Services Marketing
Culminating Assignment
THEO 701Integration Project3
THEO 702Integration Thesis6
Total Hours47-48