Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology

MA Theology Program Requirements - Exam Option

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Core Area Requirements

Philosophical Studies: 6 units

Must include one course each in systematic and historical philosophy.

Biblical Studies: 6 units

Must include 6 units total in either Old Testament or New Testament studies as follows:  1) either a) the DSPT courses “BS 1066 Basics: Biblical Studies and Spirituality” (1.5 units) and “BS 1067 Basics: Biblical Studies and Spirituality” (1.5 units) for those interested in OT studies; OR b) the DSPT course “Introduction to New Testament,” and 2) a second DSPT course from the same field, i.e. OT or NT.

Historical Studies: 3 units

Systematic Theology: 6 units

Must include the DSPT course “Theology: Nature and Method,” and one other DSPT course in systematic theology (“ST” area code).

Moral Theology: 6 units

Must include the DSPT course “Fundamental Moral Theology,” and one other DSPT course in Christian Ethics (“CE” area code).

Interreligious: 3 units

Must include a course whose content focuses primarily on interreligious studies.

Electives - 18 units

In consultation with the academic advisor and in keeping with the area of concentration, 6 courses (18 units) are chosen. These units may be taken in any combinatino of course offerings at DSPT, any of the member schools or centers of the GTU, and/or at UC Berkeley.

Area of Concentration Requirement

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. Students must take four courses in the chosen area of concentration, which may be any combination of required and elective courses. A research paper of at least 20 pages must be written in one of these classes and must receive a grade of at least B+. 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.

Capstone Examination

In addition to choosing an area of concentration for coursework, students also choose an area for examination from one of the three following disciplines: Biblical Studies, Systematic Theology, or Moral Theology. Students must pass a three-hour, closed-book examination on two courses taken from the chosen examination area. The examination questions will be drawn from study questions provided by the DSPT faculty and will reflect the material of those specific courses. The required areas in which the student chooses to take the examination must be different from the area of concentration so as to assure a breadth of knowledge and the opportunity to integrate principles from different areas of theological inquiry. Students should consult the Student Handbook for further details about the examination.

Goals and Outcomes

In addition to the stated institutional goals, students in the MA Theology, exam option will develop:

  1. a foundational knowledge of the fundamental areas of theological inquiry in the Roman Catholic tradition (reflected in the required core areas);
  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 research and writing;
  4. the ability to integrate contemporary theological issues with the tradition of the Catholic Church, especially with the theological tradition of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Students demonstrate competence in these goals by:

  1. maintaining a B or better average in coursework throughout the program;
  2. passing a closed-book, written examination in a required area;
  3. producing a 20-page research paper in the area of concentration with a grade of B+ or better.

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Aaron Anderson
Director of Admissions

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