Master of Arts in Theology

The MA in Theology provides a graduate-level foundation in central areas of theology. The degree is especially appropriate for those who wish to teach theology at the secondary level or prepare for doctoral-level studies in theology. The curriculum is designed to equip students for more specialized study in systematic theology, moral theology, or Biblical theology at the doctoral level. Elective offerings allow students to pursue some degree of specialization, in consultation with his or her academic advisor, as is appropriate to his or her particular goals and interests.

The MA Theology courses and course offerings are rooted in Duquesne University's Catholic identity and simultaneously attentive to the University's mission, which includes a commitment to ecumenical and global concerns. Through completing required courses, elective courses, and an optional six-credit thesis, students will accomplish these student learning outcomes at the curricular level:

  • Students will demonstrate comprehension of foundational areas of theology, including both Catholic and ecumenical perspectives.

  • Students will analyze and critically engage both classical and contemporary theological sources.

  • Students will present an integrated and self-appropriated stance regarding key questions and issues in theology.

  • Students will demonstrate general knowledge of selected ecumenical, interreligious, and/or global perspectives as these inform Christian theological reflection.

The degree program consists of 30 credit hoursStudents can fulfill these requirements in one of the following two ways:

- completing eight courses worth 3 credit hours each and completing a 6-credit thesis
- completing ten courses worth 3 credit hours each


Required Courses:

o THEO 509: New Testament (3 credit hours)
o THEO 510: Old Testament (3 credit hours)
o THEO 508: Foundations of Theology (3 credit hours)
o Seminar in Historical Christian Thought (3 credit hours)
o Seminar in Interreligious Dialogue or Comparative Religion (3 credit hours)
o Additional doctrine course from the following options (3 credit hours):
       THEO 520: Christology
       THEO 3XX/4XX/5XX: Doctrine of God
       THEO 531: Ecclesiology
       THEO 538: Sacraments

o Ethics course from the following options (3 credit hours):
       THEO 541: Theological Ethics
       THEO 543: Social

Ethics Elective Courses (3 credit hours each)

- Students writing a thesis will complete one of the courses below. Students who choose not to write a thesis will complete a second doctrine course from the list included above (THEO 520, THEO 3XX/4XX/5XX, THEO 531, THEO 538). Additionally students with the non-thesis option will complete two elective courses and may choose to substitute a 500- or 600-level course from another department for one of these courses (with advisor approval).

o THEO 5XX/6XX: Health Care Ethics
o THEO 3XX/4XX/5XX: Christian Personhood and Disability
o Additional elective offerings will be developed

Thesis Option (6 credits)

- Students are encouraged to complete an MA thesis. A complete description of the thesis requirements and expectations are laid out in a separate document.
- Students will enroll in 6 credit hours while completing their theses. Typically these credit hours will be completed in sequential semesters.

Visit the Graduate Course Descriptions page for a list of course titles, times, and instructors by semester.

Examples of Course Offerings

CATECHESIS OF ADULTS: A study of adulthood and catechesis to include: documents of the Church regarding the catechesis of adults, adult learning theories, the educational needs of adults, types of adults, and the types of responses possible to meet those needs on the parish level.

CATHOLIC SOCIAL THOUGHT:  An examination and evaluation of Catholic Church teaching on major social issues in the papal encyclicals, conciliar documents and Episcopal pronouncements from Leo XIII to the present day.

THEOLOGY OF THE SACRAMENTS: An analysis of the origin and development of the notion of sacramentality and of the seven rites that the Catholic tradition recognizes as sacraments; an evaluation of the various Christian meanings of "grace" in relation to sacrament.

Graduate Research Opportunities

At Duquesne University there are a number of opportunities for graduate students to pursue research and scholarship.          

Sponsored by Duquesne's Office of Research:

Duquesne University Graduate Student Research Symposium (GSRS)

"Open to Duquesne University graduate students from all disciplines, the GSRS allows students the opportunity to gain valuable experience presenting research, receive a mark of distinction for their CVs, practice for job interviews and/or future national conferences, and interact with peers and faculty from various disciplines."

Check the GSRS website for deadlines and additional information.

Professional Development

The Department of Theology recommends that graduate students engage in professional development opportunities during their studies, especially in the summers. Such opportunities might include paid positions, internships or volunteer work in which students apply the skills they are learning in their academic programs.

Additional Information

For information on the MA program in Theology, please contact:

Dr. Elizabeth Cochran, Director of Graduate Studies
Fisher Hall 620