The Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS) seeks to provide students with a thorough understanding of theology that simultaneously increases knowledge of the faith and incites the humble adoration of the mysteries of divine revelation. There are two tracks within the MATS program: an all-course track and a thesis track. The MATS program is well-designed for those who wish to engage in further study and/or the art of teaching, either in a school or parish environment. A student can take this degree in Catholic theology online or on campus.
Students engage theology broadly while choosing a specific focus in Biblical, Historical, Systematic, or Pastoral Theology for in-depth study. This focused and integrated program prepares students for theological scholarship, teaching ministries, and cultural engagement in service to the Church.
A student who completes the MATS can expect:
- To demonstrate an understanding of the foundations of Catholic theology
- To achieve rigorous competency in a focused area of theological study
- To integrate theological reflection, spiritual devotion, and academic research
- To articulate Catholic theology in a manner that both draws on received tradition and engages contemporary culture.
15 courses (45 credits)
- Foundational Courses:
- C215 Introduction to Theological Studies
- D214 – Spiritual Formation
- Courses in Area of Concentration (Area A: Biblical Theology, Area B: Historical Theology, Area C: Systematic Theology, Area D: Pastoral Theology):
- Course I
- Course II
- Course III
- Course IV
- Course V
- Course VI
- Course VII
- Course VIII
- Courses in Other Areas (at least one from each area outside of concentration):
- A/B/C/D-Area Elective I
- A/B/C/D-Area Elective II
- A/B/C/D-Area Elective III
- A/B/C/D-Area Elective* IV
- A/B/C/D-Area Elective* V
*In the thesis track, A/B/C/D-Area Electives IV and V are replaced with Thesis I and Thesis II.
C215 Introduction to Theological Studies
This course orients students to the various aspects of theological studies and the way theology functions in a faith community. Key issues such as faith, revelation, scripture, tradition, human experience, and worship are explored with an eye to how they are integrated into the entire discipline of theology. The course aims at helping the student develop a framework in which to understand how one engages in critical theological reflection in light of human experience in general and pastoral/ministerial life in particular.
D214 Spiritual Formation
This course provides a broad introduction to the ways in which people appropriate the mystery of faith, the process entailed in that appropriation, and an overview of the history of that process and the types of experience which have emerged in that history. Students can achieve reflective understanding of their own practice, develop it more consciously and be enabled to appreciate and assist others in this area of ministry.
I350 Introduction to Research
A basic introduction to the process and issues of theological research with particular attention to (a) methodologies, (b) strategies, and (c) skills for those preparing to write their thesis. Students will become familiar with various approaches to research in general and theological research in particular. Students will acquire a variety of skills ranging from compiling research bibliography to evaluating scholarly work and writing a thesis proposal.
A student can take any of these courses in Catholic theology online or in person. A complete list of courses that can be used as electives towards the Master of Arts in Theological Studies can be found here.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What can I do with a Masters in Catholic Theology?St. Bernard's Master of Arts in Theological Studies program prepares you for further graduate work, teaching positions, personal study and writing interests, and related work in non-academic fields. St. Bernard's MATS graduates have gone on to pursue Ph.D.’s, academic and popular writing, and teaching positions in theology and catechesis.
What are the prerequisites for a Masters in Theology?The prerequisites for a Masters in Theology at St. Bernard's include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5. No GRE is required. More information on prerequisites and the admissions process can be found here: https://www.stbernards.edu/admissions
Can I study theology online?Yes, St. Bernard's offers all courses online both synchronously (live via Zoom) and asynchronously (at your own pace) for those unable to attend in person. More information about studying online can be found here: https://www.stbernards.edu/distance-learning-and-online-education
What is the difference between a Master of Theology and Master of Divinity?The difference between a Master of Theology and Master of Divinity at St. Bernard's is that an MATS prepares you for a teaching or academic career, while an MDiv prepares you for leadership and ministry roles in the Church and nonprofit organizations. More on our MDiv program can be read here: https://www.stbernards.edu/master-of-divinity
How long is a Masters in Theology?A Masters in Theology at St. Bernard's typically amounts to 2 years when completed on a full-time basis. Completing the program part-time usually takes around 3 to 4 years. Our programs are flexible and can be completed at a pace that works for you!