The University of St. Thomas

College of Arts & Sciences | Department of Catholic Studies | Graduate Program

Frequently Asked Questions: Graduate

Frequently Asked Questions: Graduate

Frequently Asked Questions about the Catholic Studies Masters Degree

Q: As a Catholic Studies M.A. student, what are my options for taking electives?

A: Students have a variety of options when selecting electives. They include:

  • Courses offered in the M.A. in Catholic Studies program
  • Graduate courses offered by other departments and schools—English, Art History, Education, Business, Divinity, and Law—at the University of St. Thomas
  • Up to two undergraduate courses taken for graduate credit, which entail additional work approved by the instructor
  • Independent study courses designed in conjunction with a faculty member who serves as adviser for that course
  • Up to two transfer courses taken at other graduate institutions, subject to graduate committee approval
  • Students may take up to three electives outside of the M.A. in Catholic Studies program. All such courses must be approved by the instructor and the program director.
Q: Is it true that I can study in Rome as part of the M.A. program?
A: Yes! In partnership with the Angelicum (the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas), students can study abroad for an academic semester and take three elective courses to apply toward their M.A. degree. Students may live at UST’s Bernardi Residence on the banks of the Tiber River and a short walk from the Vatican, or they may find housing on their own.
Q: What is Catholic Studies?

A: Catholic Studies is the field of study that engages this question: what is the impact of the Incarnation on human thought and culture? As the Incarnation affects every aspect of human thought and culture, we pursue the answer to this question in an integrated and interdisciplinary way. With particular attention given to theology, philosophy, history and the arts, the graduate program in Catholic Studies recognizes the distinct perspectives and contributions of each discipline while striving to articulate the relationships of these disciplines one to another, relationships particularly enriched precisely in the light of the Incarnation.

Q: What can I do with a Master's degree in Catholic Studies?
A: A Master’s degree in Catholic Studies can serve any number of purposes. It can be a springboard to doctoral studies in fields such as theology, philosophy, history or literature. It can open up or expand opportunities to serve the Church in education or ministry. It can help you bring a Catholic understanding of the world to your profession or career. Or it can offer the simple satisfaction of personal, intellectual, and spiritual enrichment as part of a lifetime of learning.
Q: Who are your students?
A: Our students range from recent college graduates to those who have been out of school for some time. Most work full or part time jobs in fields such as business, teaching, engineering, nursing, communications, and parish-based ministry. A few already have advanced degrees in other fields. While some students are taking a full course load, the majority are studying part-time, taking one or two courses per semester.
Q: Why might a prospective student consider non-degree admission?
A:  Non-degree admisssion gives prospective students the opportunity to experience the program without making a full and immediate committment.  In this way, they can evaluate whether the program is right for them at this time in their lives.  Additionally, time in the non-degree program gives students the opportunity to craft a writing sample and cultivate relationships with professors, both of which will be valuable in the degree-seeking admission process.
Q: Does the Catholic Studies M.A. program offer financial aid?
A: M.A. students may apply for the Catholic Studies Fellowship, for a number of different scholarships, for research assistant positions, and for various grants and loans offered by the University. For more information, take a look at our full financial aid offerings.
Q: How does this program differ from a Master’s program in theology?
A: Theology is the reasoned investigation and articulation of divine revelation. As such, it is one of the disciplines that contributes to Catholic Studies. Catholic Studies, however, is a fundamentally integrating discipline centered on the impact of the Incarnation on human thought and culture.