Master of Arts (MA) in Theology

Program Overview

Aquinas Institute of Theology’s Master of Arts in Theology (MA) is an intellectually rigorous, 36 credit hour course of study that prepares students for work in a variety of academic settings, including pursuing doctoral degrees, teaching in high schools, and leading educational and non–profit ministries. The degree provides students with the opportunity to gain a solid foundation in academic theological studies. Over the course of the degree, students develop advanced skills in the areas of theological research, analysis, and synthesis.

Inquire or Apply

Click here to apply. 

  Fall Applications Spring Applications
Priority & International Deadline March 1 October 15
Final Deadline August 1 December 1

Have questions about the program or want to learn more? E-mail the Director of Recruitment and Admissions at or click here to schedule an appointment for a phone or Skype conversation.

Program Details & Length

Coursework exposes students to major areas within the academic field, including Scripture studies, historical theology, systematic theology, and moral theology. This flexible degree includes 12 credits of electives, allowing students to customize their course of study to meet their specific areas of interest. This program is accessible to synchronous online learners. Here, students participate in classes as they happen in St. Louis via a video conferencing service and are an active part of the conversation and learning environment. 

The community at Aquinas Institute of Theology offers a wealth of programs within theology and ministry. The experience of Master of Arts in Theology students is enriched by engagement with these diverse communities of scholars through theological reflection and reciprocal learning. 

Full-time students (12 credit hours per semester) can complete the MA degree in two years, while part–time students can take up to six years to complete the program.

Who is the Program For?

The MA in Theology is designed for both lay and ordained students from all Christian traditions seeking to deepen their academic education in theology and further develop their own intellectual and spiritual lives. 

The program is recommended for students who wish to approach their future and current work through an academic lens. Though students are not required to take ministerial and pastoral training in the program, students are invited to participate in the opportunities for spiritual reflection, public service, and community engagement offered by Aquinas Institute.

Career Opportunities

Students who hold an MA from Aquinas have gone on to further theological study in top theology PhD programs at schools in the United States and Europe. They also teach theology in high schools across the country. Many serve in parishes or dioceses in teaching capacities or lead non–profits. Some have also gone used the theological insight gained from completing the MA degree in other professional fields such as healthcare, law, and business.

Program Content

The M.A. in Theology includes 36 credit-hours of graduate-level courses designed to fulfill the degree program outcomes and prepare students to become leaders in the field of theology.

Course Title Credit Hours
Integrative Studies
Proseminar 3
Scripture Studies
Biblical Interpretation 3
Scripture Elective 3
Historical Theology
Church History I 3
Church History II 3
Systematic Theology
Introduction to Theology and Theological Method 3
Christology 3
Moral Theology
Foundations of Catholic Morality 3
Student's choice 12
Non Credit Requirements
Foreign Language Reading Comprehension (Modern or Ancient)  -
Comprehensive Exam -
Thesis Project -

Language Requirement

Students must demonstrate reading competency in a foreign language, either modern or ancient, by the time of graduation. This requirement may be fulfilled in several ways:

  • Demonstrating reading competency by passing a language exam at Aquinas;
  • Successful completion of a graduate-level language course;
  • Completion of an undergraduate major in a foreign language;
  • When English is a second language.

Comprehensive Exam and Thesis

At the end of their course of study, students complete a written comprehensive exam. Here, students demonstrate their scholarly competency to engage reflectively and critically across the discipline of theology.
Students complete their study by engaging in independent scholarly research in the thesis project. Accompanied by a faculty mentor, students select and research a topic of personal interest. This culminates in the student’s production of an original piece of scholarly research suitable for publication, which is presented to the Aquinas community.

Joint M.A./Ph.D. in Health Care Ethics

For those interested in going straight into doctoral studies, Aquinas Institute and Saint Louis University together offer a Joint M.A. in Theology and Doctor of Philosophy in Health Care Ethics. This program has slightly different requirements than our regular Master of Arts in Theology, and benefits from our collaborative relationship with Saint Louis University.

Program Format

The Master of Arts in Theology can be completed either residentially in St. Louis or synchronously online. Here, students join classes as they are happening in real-time via a video conferencing service. 

Application Requirements & Admission Criteria

Below is a summary of application requirements and admission criteria. For detailed information on these requirements, click here.

Application Requirements

  • Online application
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume/CV
  • Personal assessment
  • Reflection paper
  • Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
  • Interview
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • $50 application fee

Admission Criteria

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • 12 credit hours in theology or philosophy (deficiencies may be made up at Aquinas)