Master of Arts Degree Curriculum

The Master of Arts degree in Catholic Studies requires students to complete 10 courses (30 credits) and one master's essay (3 credits) for a total of 33 credits.

All Students in the program take two required courses:

CSMA 500 Catholic Thought and Culture I

CSMA 501 Catholic Thought and Culture II

These two courses provide students with an introduction to the sweep of two thousand years of Catholic thought and culture, but also introduce students to the interdisciplinary way of thinking central to Catholic Studies.

Students are also required to take one course in each of four core areas: theology, philosophy, history, and art.

Courses that satisfy the area requirements are grounded in a particular area of study, but engage that area explicitly in its relationship to other areas of study. Thus, students have an opportunity to consider a given area with some precision, while seeing it situated in the larger frame of Catholic Studies. The MA program offers area courses on both introductory and more advanced levels. Students work with the Director in determining which courses are most fitting to the student’s program of study in satisfying the area requirements.

Catholic Studies also offers symposia on specific thinkers, works, or topics. These courses are not area courses, but rather bring many areas to bear on the thinker, work, or topic under consideration.

Students may select their elective courses beyond the two required courses and the three required areas from other area courses or from the symposia.

Under the supervision of a faculty adviser, all students complete a master's essay as the final, qualifying project for the degree. The master's essay gives students an opportunity to develop research, critical thinking, and writing skills and deepen their mastery of areas of Catholic Studies that are particularly intriguing to them. The completed paper, approximately 25-30 pages, will be evaluated by a committee of three faculty members who will hold a formal conversation about it with the student. Normally, students complete the master's essay during their last semester of study.

Summer-Only Program: Students who are not available to study during the academic year or who, because of work or family considerations, cannot relocate to the Twin Cities for the duration of their studies, can opt to complete the program requirements through summer-only courses. Typically, two courses are offered each summer during a six-week session, with each class meeting during daytime hours twice a week.

Joint Degree in Law: In the joint JD-MA program offered by the Department of Catholic Studies and the St. Thomas School of Law, students earn two graduate degrees (in Law and Catholic Studies, respectively; a total of 97 credits), in less time than it would take to earn the two degrees separately. Full-time students can expect to complete the joint program in three and one-half to four years of study. Students must apply for each program separately and meet all admissions requirements in both Law and Catholic Studies. Students typically enroll in the School of Law before applying for the Master of Arts degree in Catholic Studies.  Catholic Studies elective requirements are waived for JDMA students.  For more information, contact Dr. Erika Kidd (Catholic Studies) or Dr. Elizabeth Schiltz (School of Law).

Rome: In partnership with the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum), Catholic Studies graduate students are given the option of studying in Rome for one semester. For more information, please refer to the Rome information for graduate students.