The Christendom Graduate School offers its Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree in online-delivery format to distance students. The admissions requirements, courses and degree requirements are the same for online and on-campus students. Many of the online courses are based on videos pre-recorded in the classroom during actual class lectures; these asynchronous courses may be accessed by the online student at any time during the semester according to his own schedule. Other courses are live, real-time online courses to which the student must log on at a pre-set time each week for a live, interactive class experience with the professor and other students. Some courses use both formats: although lectures are pre-recorded, they are supplemented by live sessions for class discussion, student reports, or review.
The degree requirements for the MA degree are the same whether courses are taken in the classroom or online. The student may take all of his courses online or he may combine classroom courses with online courses in any combination that is convenient for him. Many find that attending the six-week residential summer session while working on online courses during the rest of the year allows them to finish the degree in a shorter time and also to experience the fellowship of a Catholic academic community that Christendom is famous for. All the required courses for the systematic theology, moral theology, and the evangelization and catechesis concentrations are available online. While students in the spirituality and consecrated life concentrations may take their core requirements online, the consecrated life and spirituality courses are only offered on campus during the residential summer program as part of the Vita Consecrata Institute. Online courses may be taken by non-degree students, such as those seeking a certificate, or casual or audit students studying for personal enrichment.
The Christendom Graduate School online classroom is a secure, pass-word-protected site to ensure student identity and privacy. Students receive a log-in code and password by email after they have registered for the online course, and they must use these each time they wish to access their courses. No one has access to the student’s work in the online course except the professor and the administrator who maintains the site. Exams for online courses are taken on the e-classroom site or are emailed to the professor. Christendom’s e-classroom is found at www.christendomonline.org.
Online courses are offered within the regular (fall, spring, and summer) semesters of the Graduate School. A full cycle of courses is offered each semester, so that students may complete the degree within four consecutive semesters, although they may of course study part-time and take longer to earn the degree. Students are expected to finish online courses by the end of the semester, and online students are subject to the same policy concerning course extensions as on-campus students.
The staff and faculty at the Christendom Graduate School are dedicated to making the online experience for distance students as close to the on-campus experience as possible. Students have ready access to their professors and to the office staff, and can ask questions, chat, get advice, or resolve problems, usually without delay.
Christendom online courses do not require expensive, specialized equipment or advanced computer skills. To take online courses at the Christendom Graduate School, students need:
- A computer with audio capacity (a sound card and speakers or headphones).
- A high-speed internet connection (not dial-up or satellite). We recommend DSL or Cable connection (with a minimum of 5 Mbps download speed if possible) to watch the online videos.
- The most recent version of Adobe Flash Player. This can be downloaded for free from Adobe’s website found online at http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/.
In addition to these requirements, live or real-time online courses (and those pre-recorded, asynchronous courses with some live, real-time interactive sessions) also require the following:
- A webcam, either built-in to the computer or purchased at an office/computer supply store or online for about $20 – 40.
- A headset with noise cancellation microphone (to avoid the echo and extraneous noise that result from using the computer’s built-in microphone). These usually cost about $10 and can be purchased at the same places as the webcam.
- High-speed DSL/cable internet connection (wired connection highly recommended over wireless) with a minimum of 5 Mbps download speed and 1.5 Mbps upload speed.
- A computer operating system of Microsoft Windows XP or higher (or Mac OS X 10.6.8 or higher for Macintosh/Apple operating systems), and 512 MB to 1 GB of RAM. Most computers purchased in the last 5 years meet these requirements.
- The supported browsers we recommend are Internet Explorer 7, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari5+
- If you are interested in using mobile devices for live online courses with Fr. Sebastian Carnazzo, please check the compatibility at https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/categories/201146643-Meetings-Webinars. Please make sure you have at least 3G or 4G/LTE in order to run smoothly. Students using a mobile device will likely have built-in camera and microphone; if not, they will need to purchase ones that are adapted to their device.
- If you wish to use a mobile device for the live interactive courses or sessions, a free Adobe Connect App enables you to run Adobe Connect from most smart phones and tablets. Most mobile devices have built-in camera and microphone; if not, you will need to purchase ones that are adapted to your device. For more information about the compatibility of your mobile device with Adobe Connect, please check the Adobe Connect specifications at http://www.adobe.com/products/adobeconnect/Adobe-Connect-9-0-tech-specs.html.
Library and Learning Resources
Research is an essential component of the graduate theology program at Christendom, and we are committed to assisting our online/distance students to access the resources they need. Among the ways in which we do this are the following:
- Professors provide all the course readings for online courses, either as included in the course materials of the virtual classroom, in the required texts which students purchase from the online bookstore, or in the form of internet resources. This ensures that even those students who do not live near an academic library have the resources they need for their course(s).
- Distance students can apply for a Christendom library card by simply requesting one in an email and providing minimal information, thus enabling them to use all services of the library.
- The catalog of the Christendom libraries is accessible on the Christendom website, and we ship requested books to online graduate students who have a Christendom library card, charging only the cost of secure shipping for this service.
- Christendom provides off-site access to the electronic resources of the Christendom libraries, allowing students to access journals and reference works via their home computers. These resources, along with video guides and instructions on how to use them, are available on the library web page at http://library.christendom.edu/library/.
- All graduate students may request that copies of journal articles from the Christendom library be sent to them via email by using the ILLiad (inter-library loan) service on the library home page. ILLiad also gives students access to library resources worldwide via interlibrary loan.
- Graduate students who wish to use an academic library in their local area may request the Dean of the Graduate School to write the librarian in support of this request.
- All graduate students are provided with the contact information of three Christendom librarians who are willing to assist them in their research.
- The Graduate Student Resource Center (http://graduate.christendom.edu/about/resources) contains links to two videos to aid students in their research, one on “The Research Paper” and another titled “Footnote and Bibliographic Form for Christendom Papers.”
- Extra help in drafting essays and papers is available for all students through St. Paul’s Writing Center. Sign-up for editorial feedback by contacting the St. Paul’s Library Assistant.