The Master of Arts in Historical and Systematic Theology is the basic graduate degree in general Roman Catholic theology. The program provides sound initiation in graduate theological studies by assisting students in acquiring the ability to "think theologically." The unique strength of the program lies in the broad and solid grounding in the Roman Catholic tradition which it affords the candidate.

To this end, it avoids a narrow specialization while still allowing a measure of preferential concentration and personal selection. This degree program provides a thorough and rigorous beginning in graduate theological studies and in preparation for ministry.


In addition and specific to the general requirements for obtaining a civil degree, the historical and systematic area requires the following:


  • At least 12 credit hours of undergraduate or graduate philosophy. Normally, these credits should be in four of the following areas: ancient philosophy, medieval philosophy, modern philosophy, epistemology, metaphysics, ethics.
  • At least 15 credit hours of undergraduate or graduate religious studies at a B grade level or above. These should include courses in the Old and New Testaments, church history, and systematic and moral theology. Upon review of the candidate's previous studies, it may be required that certain prerequisite courses be taken.
  • A demonstrated reading knowledge of Latin. Ordinarily, the Latin requirement should be satisfied during a student's first fall semester in the program.


  • TRS 660: History and Method in Theology (3 credits)
  • Nine credit hours in systematics
  • Three credit hours in Scripture
  • Three credit hours in moral theology
  • 12 credit hours of electives, with at least three hours from the following: canon law, catechetics/religious education, church history, liturgical studies, religion and culture, spirituality, or world religions.
  • A basic knowledge of either Latin or Greek
  • Theological reading knowledge of either German or a Romance language by passing an area exam in the language.
  • Comprehensive exam
  • In order to demonstrate graduate level research ability, an MA student must choose one of the following options: writing an MA thesis and taking 24 semester hours of course work or writing two research papers and taking 30 semester hours of course work.