Distance Learning


General Requirements for the MA in Theology through Distance Learning

To provide a common basis for our M.A. Theology students, all students are required to complete four graduate theology foundation courses, preferably toward the beginning of the program. These courses are:

  • THE 601 Biblical Foundations
  • THE 602 Theological Foundations
  • THE 603 Historical Foundations
  • THE 604 Teachings of Vatican II

See descriptions of these courses

Students will also take eight graduate theology elective courses. These courses are divided into two categories: those with a primarily theological emphasis (700-level courses) and those focusing on the pastoral applicationof theology (pastoral emphasis, or 600-level courses). To insure a balanced education, students are required to choose at least two courses from each category of electives.

See information on the elective courses

The remaining four electives may be selected from either emphasis.

Grade Requirements

Master's students in theology must maintain a "B" average or above (3.0 QPA) to continue in the program.

If a student receives a C+ or below in a graduate course, this course will not count toward the fulfillment of degree requirements. The student must achieve a B- or better for all of the foundation courses (THE 601, 602, 603, and 604) or else that particular foundation course must be repeated and a grade of B- be achieved. For all other graduate courses in the MA in theology program the student may elect not to repeat a course that falls below the required standard (at least a B-). If the course is repeated and a higher grade is attained, this grade will replace the previous grade on the student’s transcript. If the course is not repeated, the grade for the course will be calculated as part of the student’s cumulative QPA and another course must be taken (with a grade above C+) to fulfill the degree requirement of 36 total credit hours.

Comprehensive Exam

The final curriculum requirement for the external M.A. Degree in Theology and Christian Ministry is a comprehensive examination, which each student will take at the end of the program after completion of 12 courses (36 credit hours). The examination will test the overall comprehension of the content of the specific courses each student has taken in the program and the student's ability to apply this knowledge creatively to various areas of Christian ministry and renewal. The comprehensive examination is administered a number of times each year at Franciscan University, or is proctored at off-campus sites for those obtaining the degree through Distance Learning.

Although there is no thesis required for completion of the degree and no foreign language requirements, those who are interested in writing, research, or pursuing further theological studies will be encouraged to engage in additional writing and/or in foreign language study, which is available on-campus at the University. The University offers adjunct courses in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, which do not count toward the degree but can be taken to supplement the student’s education. Please note that language courses taken on-campus do not satisfy the residency requirement.

Successful completion of 36 credit hours (12 courses) and the comprehensive examination is required for graduation. There is also a six-credit residency requirement. Students seeking an external M.A. Theology degree must complete six graduate theology credits on-campus (two courses). Students may fulfill this requirement by attending two 3-week summer sessions. Standard on-campus graduate tuition as listed in the schedule at the time of registration will apply to all courses taken on-campus.

Transfer Credit

Previously earned graduate theology credit from an accredited institution may be eligible for transfer into the MA Theology program (a maximum of six credits). Courses waived in lieu of the transferred credits would be decided by the director of Graduate Theology. Only courses taken before entry into the MA program will be considered for transfer. A written request for transfer of graduate credit should be submitted with the student's first course registration. Catalog descriptions for each course being considered for transfer must accompany the request.

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