The curriculum at Christendom, centered upon Christ as professed in the baptismal faith of the Church, is designed to enable students to penetrate the truths of the Faith, to hand on an authentic understanding of the basics of sacred theology, and to continue their study of theology with competence. In a curriculum that systematically integrates instruction in theology, philosophy, morals, Sacred Scripture, catechetics, and spirituality, each course contributes to the formation of the catechist and theologian. Theology courses provide an academic study of core areas of the Faith, while those in philosophy establish the preambles of the Faith and the nature of the human person. The Word of God gets in-depth penetration in Scripture courses; spirituality and morality courses reflect on the meaning of life in Christ; and evangelization and catechesis courses focus on both the content and methods of the Church’s missionary and catechetical tradition.
Christendom College acknowledges in its curriculum the essential role played by St. Thomas Aquinas in Catholic theology. Courses in philosophy and theology are taught according to the spirit, method, and principles of the Common Doctor. The graduate-level courses at Christendom presuppose a general knowledge of the Catholic Faith as presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The curriculum delves into the mysteries of the Faith using as primary sources Sacred Scripture, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and magisterial and conciliar documents, especially those of Vatican II, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI. At Christendom the study of theology proceeds within the Faith, being, as St. Thomas Aquinas says, “the science of those things which can be concluded from the articles of Faith.”
Students matriculating in the Master of Arts in Theological Studies program choose to concentrate their studies in systematic theology, moral theology, evangelization and catechesis, spirituality, or theology of the consecrated life. All students take certain core courses which are foundational to the various concentrations. Three of these are in dogmatic theology (God the Father, Christology, Holy Spirit & Ecclesiology), one is in Moral Theology, two are in Scripture (Old Testament and New Testament), and another two are in philosophy (Philosophy of God and Man, and Philosophical Errors).
The purpose of the required philosophy courses is to assist students in a philosophical understanding of God, his creation, the nature of the human person, and certain philosophical errors which influence contemporary thought and scholarship, with the ultimate aims of providing a philosophical foundation for theological studies and of enabling students to present the Faith more reasonably and effectively.
The systematic theology concentration allows a student to study the articles of faith more deeply than in the core requirements, by studying them from the vantage point of the writings of the Fathers of the Church, and also historically, by way of the challenges to the Faith encountered in the Church’s history. Following the mandate of Jesus “to teach all nations,” the concentration in evangelization and catechesis equips the student with the history and theology of the Church’s evangelization tradition, along with the practical skills needed to direct successfully a parish’s efforts to extend the Kingdom of God through various faith formation programs and activities. The moral theology concentration aims to train theologians who are steeped in an understanding of the Christian moral tradition, especially as it applies to contemporary moral questions, so they can explain and defend the Church’s moral teaching. The theology of the consecrated life concentration focuses on various aspects of the religious life as reflected in the missions and life of the Church. It is designed for, and limited to, persons called to the consecrated life who attend the summer Vita Consecrata Institute. The spirituality concentration aids the student in developing his own spiritual life and also trains him to act as spiritual guide or mentor to others. Although spirituality courses are only offered in conjunction with the summer Vita Consecrata Institute, they are open to lay persons in addition to religious and clergy.
The MA curriculum is identical for online/distance students and for local/classroom students. Individual online courses are also as identical as possible to the classroom versions, and in most cases include video recordings of onsite classes. Students may take all of their courses online, or they may combine online and on-site courses in any combination. Degree requirements are the same for all students, whether local or distance.
The curriculum at the Christendom Graduate School is a flexible one, without any prescribed order in which courses must be taken. Students may begin in any semester, may enroll either full-time or part-time, and may combine both on-campus and online courses as they choose. Forty-two credits are required for the master’s degree and for the Apostolic Catechetical Diplomas.
PREREQUISITE COURSE: Students entering the Master’s program or either Apostolic Catechetical Diploma program without sufficient previous coursework in theology must successfully complete THEO 590: Introduction to Theology, preferably at the beginning of their studies. This course is graded on a pass/fail basis and the credits earned do not count in the required credit total for the Master of Arts degree or the Apostolic Diploma.
LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT: MA students concentrating in systematic or moral theology must demonstrate an ability to read Latin as part of their degree requirements. To satisfy this requirement, students may take a competency exam or complete LATN 501: Introduction to Ecclesiastical Latin. There is no language requirement for the consecrated life, spirituality, and evangelization and catechesis concentrations.