Graduate Curriculum

An Intellectual Journey that Deepens Your Faith

graduate-studentThe 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 philosophy, Scripture, theology, morals, catechetics, and spirituality, each course contributes to the formation of the catechist and theologian. Philosophy courses provide a foundation for theological study and enable students to present the faith more reasonably and effectively. Scripture courses penetrate the Word of God in its richness.  Theology courses investigate core areas of the faith, while courses in spirituality and morals reflect upon the meaning of life in Christ. Courses in evangelization and catechesis focus on 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, sacred Scripture, evangelization and catechesis, spirituality, or theology of the consecrated life. All students take 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 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 by way of the challenges to the faith encountered in the Church’s history. The moral theology concentration aims to train theologians who are steeped in an understanding of the human person and the principles of Christian life, especially as these apply to contemporary moral questions. The sacred Scripture conentration forms students in the Word of God, providing them with a detailed knowledge of the narrative of salvation hisory and an appreciation for the unity of the canon of Scripture. The concentration in evangelization and catechesis, following the mandate of Jesus “to teach all nations,” equips students with knowledge of the history and theology of evangelization, apologetics, and a grasp of the Church’s public worship and sacramental life. 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 students in developing their own spiritual lives and also trains them to act as spiritual guides or mentors. 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. Online courses are identical in structure and content to their on-campus versions, and include video recordings of on-campus classes or livestreamed lectures. Students may take all of their courses online, or they may combine online and on-campus courses in any combination. Degree requirements are the same for all students, whether local or online.

The curriculum at the Christendom Graduate School is a flexible one, and in most cases there is not a strict sequence 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. Old Testament courses must be taken before New Testament courses. In general, students are urged to take their core Scripture and philosophy courses early in their program of studies, followed by God the Father, which is a foundational course within the curriculum as a whole. For those studying moral theology, the core Moral Theology course should be taken before other morals-concentration courses. For those studying systematic theology, Church History I should be taken before Church History II. 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 REQUIREMENTS: 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. Students concentrating in sacred Scripture must demonstrate the ability to read biblical Greek. To satisfy this requirement, students may take a competency exam or complete GREK 501: Introduction to Biblical Greek. Another biblical language may be substituted in lieu of Greek, with approval. There is no language requirement for the consecrated life, spirituality, and evangelization and catechesis concentrations.