Areas of Concentration

Concurrent MAPh/MATh- Thomistic Studies
Program Requirements

St. Thomas Aquinas - Carlo Crivelli, 1476

"Desire of the knowledge of truth is peculiar to human nature."
- St. Thomas Aquinas

Program Requirements:

Students in the Concurrent MA (Philosophy)/MA (Theology) program with a concentration in Thomistic Studies, follow the normal course requirements for this concurrent degree program. Namely, they must take a total of 18 courses (54 semester units) and write a thesis (9 units) for a total of 63 units. In the Thomistic Studies concentration, the coursework is distributed as follows:


Core Courses (42 units)

Students in this concentration will receive the broadest exposure to the thought and methodology of St .Thomas Aquinas by taking the courses indicated here. Substitutions may be made upon approval from the coordinator of the Thomistic Studies concentration.

Systematic Philosophy (15 units)

Because the content in philosophy courses builds sequentially, students are strongly advised to follow the order listed below.

PH 1115 Logic
PH 1056 Philosophy of Nature
PH 2050 Metaphysics
PH 2040 Philosophical Anthropology
PH 1065 Theory of Knowledge

History of Philosophy (6 units)

PHHS 3315 History of Medieval Thought & Culture

A second course in the history of ancient, modern, or contemporary philosophy, or on a topic in the history of philosophy during any period.

Scripture (3 units)

One elective course in Biblical Studies or Biblical Interpretation.

Historical Theology (3 units)

HS 1105 History of Christianity I: Ancient and Medieval

or a suitable substitute approved by the academic advisor.

Systematic Theology (9 units)

Students may choose from any of the following topics, or may propose other suitable ST courses to the coordinator of the Thomistic Studies concentration.

ST 1710 Theology: Method & Structure
ST 2232 Historical Development of Christology
ST 2300 Trinity
STPH 3095 One Creator God
ST 3128 Theological Anthropology
ST 2000 Introduction to Sacraments

Moral Theology (3 units)

CE 2045 Fundamental Moral Theology

Non-Christian Religion (3 units)

While students may choose any course in this area, one with a strong anthropological component is recommended.

Electives (12 units)

These courses are offered as a sampling of future offerings which will have a strong thomistic component. Students may propose other suitable courses to the coordinator of the Thomistic Studies concentration.

PH 4061 Epistemology: Medieval Thought
ST 4075 Eschatology
ST 3000 Advanced Topics in Sacraments
STHS 4034 Medieval Texts
ST 2330 Angels & Demons
PH 4211 Thomas Aquinas on Truth
PHCE 4012 Natural Law
PH 2900 Philosophy of Society
PH 2030 Philosophy of Aristotle
PHHS 4020 Plato
HSPH 4410 Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy
PHST 5415 Does God Exist?
PHST 4810 Free Will

Possible future course offerings:

F 2011 Thomas Aquinas on the Passions in Christ and Christians
S 2012 Early Controversies around Thomas Aquinas
S 2013 Models of Thomism
Epistemology in Contemporary Thomism
Thomistic Anthopology
Theological Virtues

Thesis/Defense (9 units)

The thesis will focus on a philosophical, theological, or historical issue in the study of St. Thomas, the Thomistic School, or Thomism as related to contemporary theology or philosophy. Writing the thesis is a fundamental learning experience in which the student employs and sharpens research, language, analytic, and writing skills. The defense provides an opportunity to demonstrate not only acquired knowledge and insight but also oral communication skills.

See the Student Forms page for all forms related to the thesis.

Proposal - Students in the concurrent MA program must present a proposal for the thesis to be reviewed by the entire Faculty. The proposal must demonstrate the ability to organize a project of philosophical and theological inquiry into a brief, coherent statement. The proposal is written in consultation with a proposed thesis coordinator. Each student presents the proposal, along with the signed "MA Thesis Petition Form" (see next paragraph) to the Academic Dean at least one week before the Faculty meeting at which it is to be discussed. Faculty meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the academic year (except January).

Using the DSPT "MA Thesis Petition Form," the student nominates a coordinator and two readers for the thesis. These must be approved by the Faculty, which may, at its discretion, make substitutions in light of the nature of the thesis. It is the responsibility of the coordinator to assist the student in the writing of the thesis in whatever way is deemed appropriate. The coordinator cannot be changed without the approval of the Faculty. 

Thesis - The thesis is to be about one-hundred twenty (120) pages in length and written according to the standards prescribed in the latest edition of A Manual for the Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations, by Kate Turabian external link. A comprehensive bibliography of the appropriate sources and modern treatments of the subject matter of the thesis should be included in the final copy. Each thesis is to be defended and passed by the posted GTU deadline of the intended year of graduation (see the GTU Academic Calendar external link for the specific date). Students are responsible to see that a copy of the thesis to be defended is in the readers' and coordinator's hands at least three weeks before the scheduled defense. Members of a committee are not obliged to meet during breaks in the academic calendar. Upon approval and successful oral defense of the thesis, the required copies suitable for binding and approved by the GTU Library are to be submitted. Students in the concurrent DSPT MATh program submit three copies to the DSPT Registrar. Students in the Concurrent GTU Common M.A. program submit two copies to the to the Academic Secretary in the GTU Student Affairs Office and two copies to the DSPT Registrar. Please see the Academic Calendar for the current deadline.

Oral Defense - The oral defense of the thesis will be conducted by the coordinator and the assigned readers. The defense shall not exceed one and one half hours in length. A student, whose thesis and oral defense are deemed outstanding by all three examiners, may be granted the degree "with honors."

Foreign Language Requirement

Whereas students in other DSPT MA programs may choose the research langague, students in the Thomistic Studies concentration must demonstrate reading and comprehension proficiency in Latin. Students are expected to fulfill this language requirement by the beginning of the third semester in the program. DSPT policy for certifying language proficiency is based upon the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) policy for the GTU Common MA and is described in detail in the DSPT Student Handbook pdf.

The experience of so many centuries has shown and every passing day more clearly proves the truth of the statement made by Our Predecessor John XXII: "He (Thomas Aquinas) enlightened the Church more than all the other Doctors together; a man can derive more profit from his books in one year than from a lifetime spent in pondering the philosophy of others." - Pope Pius X