Master of Arts (MA) in Theology

The Master of Arts in Theology prepares students for teaching, for further study toward a doctorate degree in theology or for other ministries. Aquinas students may choose one of six concentrations: Biblical Studies, Historical Studies, Systematic Theology, Moral Theology, Liturgical Theology or Spirituality.

Degree Program Outcomes for the M.A. in Theology

How do I satisfy the degree requirements?

Candidates for the Master of Arts in Theology are required to complete 36 hours of coursework and a written and oral comprehensive examination. Students choose either the thesis and foreign language option or the non-thesis option.

If I want to go on for a Ph.D., which option is best?

The thesis and foreign language option is recommended for students who plan to pursue doctoral studies. The thesis is 50-75 pages in length, and up to six hours of credit may be undertaken toward thesis research. Language study should begin early and extend beyond one-semester reading courses, to ensure competency in a language before undertaking doctoral studies.

Which options best suit future ministers and secondary teachers?

The non-thesis option, which allows for two additional courses instead of a thesis and language study. Under direction of a professor in the area of concentration, students develop a major paper, approximately 25 pages in length, of publishable quality and demonstrating appropriate methodology and content.

Aquinas Institute of Theology and Saint Louis University offer a dual M.A./Ph.D. program for students focused specifically in health care ethics with a Catholic concentration. For more information regarding this program, click here.

How do I apply?

Contact the Office of Admissions and follow the instructions contained in the Application for Admission.


Applicants to the master's program in theology must possess a bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a recognized institution. In addition, applicants must have obtained 12 undergraduate credits in theology and philosophy, taken together. Deficiencies in undergraduate study may be made up at Aquinas. A student needing to make up deficiencies will be informed at the time of admission and will arrange to make up the deficiencies with the advice of the academic adviser or the Dean.

Program Content

36 hours in specific graduate-level courses are required for successful completion of the MA program. Equivalent substitutions for any of the courses may be made depending on the student's previous study and/or goals with the approval of the Academic Dean.

MA Course Requirements

Course Title Credit Hours
Integrative Studies
Proseminar 3
Major Paper or Thesis -
Comprehensive Exam -
Biblical Studies
Bible Interpretation 3
Scripture Elective 3
Historical Studies
Church History I: Patristic and Medieval 3
Church History II: Reformation to Post-Modern Era 3
Systematic Theology
Introduction to Theology and Theological Method 3
Moral Theology
Foundations of Catholic Morality 3


Ph.D. Course Requirements:

To find the curriculum requirements for the Doctoral studies portion of the dual M.A./Ph.D. program, visit Saint Louis University’s M.A./Ph.D curriculum web page.