Since 1959, the Theology Department at St. Mary’s University has prepared lay men and women as well as members of religious communities to serve the Catholic Church in the Southwest. Since that time, our students have gone on to teach in Catholic parochial and high schools, to work in parish and diocesan administrative positions, and to serve as catechetical leaders. Others have gone on to pursue doctoral work and then teach in colleges and universities. No matter their interest, for more than 50 years students have encountered a program dedicated to the traditional Marianist values of the importance of theological education, servant leadership, and of Christian church communities living and growing in a family spirit.
The Theology Department at St. Mary’s is one of a very small number of institutions that offers a real-time and synchronous program to students through the internet. Students outside of San Antonio and across the country can participate with students in the classroom. These classes bring together a wide variety of students in an environment that is effective, creative, and communal. Students interact not only with the professor but also with each other. Through this program, the Theology Department continues the dedicated work initiated by the Society of Mary to foster critical reflection on the Catholic faith and work that is open to ecumenism and inter-faith dialogue.
The Masters of Arts in Theology at St. Mary’s is academically rigorous. It instructs students in the careful reading of theological texts and church documents, the importance of historical and philosophical influences on textual interpretation, and the use of essential research tools. In addition to this scholarly preparation, students consider how and why it is important to implement the results of theological research in creative and practical ways. Students are well prepared for doctoral work should they choose to pursue it.
The program itself contains 36 hours and seeks a broad formation for students. Unlike many graduate programs, the MA in Theology at St. Mary’s requires nine hours of scripture, which provides students with a deep investigation into traditional and contemporary interpretations. In addition to essential courses in areas such as the Church and Trinity, students take nine hours in Christian Life and Practice, where students encounter rich theological reflection on topics such as catechesis or the theology of lay ministry as well as Catholic moral and social teaching.
No one profile describes all our graduate students, but most have full-time jobs in the day and take courses one or two evenings a week toward the M.A. in Theology. (At two evenings per week the twelve required courses would take six semesters.) Students often use their degrees for various church ministries, religious education, or go on to pursue doctoral studies.
Theology at St. Mary’s is rooted in the Catholic tradition but welcomes students of all backgrounds who share our commitment to the compatibility of faith and reason and the need for a critical inquiry in the search of insight wherever it may be found.
All graduate students in Theology who are or will be involved in church ministry receive a 50% tuition grant.
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