Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology

MA Theology Program Requirements - Thesis Option

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Required Areas - 3 units each

  • Philosophical Studies
  • Biblical Studies
  • Historical Theology
  • Systematic Theology
  • Moral Theology
  • Non-Christian Religion

Electives - 24 units

In consultation with your academic advisor and in keeping with the emphasis of your program, 24 elective units may be chosen. These units may be taken at DSPT, throughout any of the GTU member schools or centers of the GTU, and/or at UC Berkeley.

Area of Concentration

As a member of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU), DSPT participates in various focused areas of concentration in theological disciplines that utilize the expertise of consortial (both DSPT and GTU) faculty. In general, students must take four courses in the chosen area of concentration, which may be any combination of both required and elective courses. Students should consult carefully with their academic advisor so as to ensure that they understand and can meet these concentration requirements. Some areas of concentration further specify what courses must be taken.

Thesis Units

6 units of “In thesis” allows students time for research and writing towards the completion of a thesis and an oral defense. Students are expected to use the definition of a “credit hour” as the basis for determining their own personal schedules. For example, if taking 3.0 units of “In Thesis,” students should expect to allocate a minimum of 9 hours per week to thesis work.

Goals and Outcomes

In addition to the stated institutional goals, students develop:

  1. a foundational knowledge of the fundamental areas of theological inquiry in the Roman Catholic tradition (Biblical Studies, historical theology, dogmatic theology, and moral theology);

  2. a specialized knowledge of one area of theological inquiry (area of concentration) chosen by the student;

  3. the ability to communicate this knowledge effectively through scholarly writing;

  4. the ability to communicate this knowledge effectively through oral presentations and discussions;

  5. the ability to integrate contemporary theological issues with the tradition of the Catholic Church, and where possible with the theological tradition of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Students demonstrate competence in these goals by:

  1. attaining a grade of B+ or better in the required core courses in four fundamental areas;
  2. producing a thesis proposal which articulates and effectively communicates clear goals & outcomes for the proposed thesis;

  3. produce a well-written thesis that meets specified criteria, e.g. theological knowledge, writing skills, etc.;

  4. use the oral defense to demonstrate their skills for collaborative learning. While working with faculty on the proposal & thesis and in the oral defense itself, students demonstrate an ability:

    • to listen attentively to input from faculty on questions or points of disagreement, and

    • to formulate responses which incorporate issues raised.

Related Links


stay on track

  • The best place for you to find details about the MATh program requirements is in section IV of the Student Handbook.
  • MATh Program Checklist - review with your advisor at the beginning of each semester.
  • Admissions Requirements - Includes Statement of Purpose, Transcripts, GPA, Academic Writing Sample, GRE Scores, TOEFL/IELTS and Letters of Recommendation.
  • The Research Readiness Paper must be completed by the first semester in your program. 
  • Foreign Language Certification must be complete by the third semester of your program. Refer to the GTU MA Handbook.
  • The Thesis Proposal Petition must be submitted by the third semester in your program. 


Aaron Anderson
Director of Admissions

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