MA (Theology)



The Master of Arts (MA) (Theology) provides serious study of Sacred Scripture, philosophy, theological concepts, moral principles, the sacramental system, spirituality, and Church history among other subjects.  The MA program is useful for individuals seeking careers in church work, who are already involved in teaching or religious education, or are preparing for a religious vocation.  Many students choose the MA, however, solely to increase their personal knowledge of the Catholic faith and in order to bring that knowledge to their families, careers, and individual lives.

Students in the MA program complete a core curriculum (24 credits) and select a concentration area (12 concentration credits) in one of four areas: Sacred Scripture, Philosophy/Theology, Ecclesial Service, or Catholic Culture.  In addition to coursework, students are also required to complete the following:

  • Two comprehensive exams
  • A thesis, which is a paper of approximately thirty pages on a topic related to the area of concentration, to be submitted after all course work is completed. Students enroll in Thesis Direction (THEO 697) and consult with an advisor. The thesis usually takes six months to complete.
  • The MA program at CDU is nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), which is recognized as a national accrediting agency by the U.S. Department of Education and is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The university is also certified as a degree granting institution by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the West Virginia Community and Technical College System.
  • Our distance learning format gives students the flexibility to study at times and places that best fit their schedules, eliminating the need to spend extended time on a college campus or driving to class each week.
  • CDU is dedicated to providing a program of faithful and systematic teachings of Sacred Scripture, the living tradition of the Church, and the authentic Magisterium, and the spiritual heritage of the Fathers, Doctors and Saints.
  • CDU is the right size university to meet your needs. We have more students than you'll find in the theology departments of most major universities - and yet, because theology is all we teach, we are small enough to know each student personally.
  • To assist students and ease any 'nervousness' about taking online classes, CDU offers a full-time online technical help desk and student center faculty assistance.
  • At CDU, distance learning does not mean isolated and impersonal. Our community-based online student center provides a place for prayer and spiritual support, lively discussions and general conversation, and program-specific question and answer desks.
  • CDU courses are written and taught by world-renowned Catholic theologians and scripture scholars.

By the end of the CDU MA program, a student:

  • Synthesizes the Church’s teaching on divine Revelation including Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church and how it bears on the Church’s mission of evangelization.
  • Exhibits a mature understanding of the Christian vocation in the world and a capacity to defend the Catholic faith in wider culture.
  • Demonstrates the ability to refer, in careful and appropriate ways, to Scriptural passages related to the fundamental teachings of the Church and in a demonstrated capacity, to apply various approaches to Scriptural interpretation as these have been recommended in the Constitution on Divine Revelation.
  • Engages in critical theological thinking through reflection and analysis of theological and philosophical concepts and texts.
  • Articulates the ethical and moral principles of  the Christian life and how they inform the growth of the Christian community.
  • Achieves an understanding of the principles of Scripture, moral theology, and Catholic Social Teachings and an ability to apply them to contemporary social, cultural, or biomedical issues.

 

  • Program Requirements: 36 credits- 24 Theology core credits, 12 Concentration credits, 2 sets of comprehensive exams, thesis
  • Program Time Limits: Five years to complete program
  • Application Process: Submit application, $25 application fee,an  official transcript of a Baccalaureate Degree or higher level degree from an appropriately accredited institution.
  • Acceptance:  Students must successfully complete 3-credit, eight week Theo 503, The Catholic Theological Tradition course with a 3.0 (B)  or higher. 
  • Transfer of Credits:  Maximum of six theology graduate credits in transfer that must have been earned no more than five years prior to transfer.  Transfer credit grade must be at least a 3.5 and submitted via an official transcript to be evaluated for transfer.  Acceptance of transfer credit is at the discretion of the academic dean who determines if transfer credits align with the CDU MA curriculum.

For descriptions of both required and elective courses, please consult the online course catalog.

Required Courses

It is recommended that courses be taken in the order as they appear in this chart.

Course Number Course Title Credits
THEO 503 The Catholic Theological Tradition- 8Wk 3
THEO 510 Revelation and Faith:Fundamental Theology 3
THEO 631 Introduction to Christology 3
THEO 551 Theology of the Sacraments 3
THEO 560 Fundamental Moral Theology 3
THEO 641 Theology of the Church 3
PHIL 508 Philosophy for Theology 3
SCRPT 530 Introduction to Scripture and Salvation History 3

More than a mere book, the Bible is a virtual library of texts dating from the earliest recorded history to the century following Christ's death. Students in this concentration will study the sacred texts and their relationship to other disciplines such as archeology, history, theology, and hermeneutics. This program emphasizes both an accurate reading of texts based on the best scholarship and the Bible's position as a living document in the Catholic tradition.

Students interested in the Sacred Scripture concentration will take 12 credit hours in their concentration area (at least 6 must be in Scripture).

Before selecting a concentration, students will need to get approval from an advisor. They should have completed the core curriculum and passed their first comprehensive exam before formally declaring a concentration.  This selection process should begin with an email to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Sacred Scripture Course List

For descriptions of both required and elective courses, please consult the online course catalog.

Course List
12 credits within the concentration, plus enrollment in Thesis Direction; students should take at least six (6) credits in scripture.
Course Number
Online Group Format
Course Title Credits
CHIST 514 Church History, Part I: Early Christians to Middle Ages (8wks) 3
CHIST 524 Church History, Part II: Renaissance to Modern Church (8wks) 3
CHIST 544 History of the Catholic Church in America (8wks) 3
GREEK 501 Biblical Greek I 3
GREEK 502 Biblical Greek II 3
LATIN 501 Latin I 3
LATIN 502 Latin II 3
SCRPT 515 Biblical Foundations (16wks) REQUIRED 3
SCRPT 520 Pentateuch (8wks) 3
SCRPT 540 Isaiah and the Prophets (8Wks) 3
SCRPT 570 The Letter to the Romans (8wks)  3
SCRPT 571 The Gospel of St. John (8wks) 3
SCRPT 576 The Letters of St. Paul 3
SCRPT 662 The Synoptic Gospels 3
SPIR 501 Applied Catholic Spirituality (8wks) 3
THEO 697 Thesis Direction ($400 tuition) 0





The Catholic Church possesses a highly sophisticated and elaborate tradition of reflection on the relations between faith and reason. In this concentration, students will be able to look deeply into the great figures in that tradition, from St. Paul to modern philosophers and theologians, with an eye towards both a more profound theoretical understanding as well as the application of theological and philosophical truths to some of the urgent ethical and social questions of the modern world.

Students interested in the Philosophy/Theology concentration will take 12 credit hours in their concentration area (at least 3 must be in Philosophy).

Before selecting a concentration, students will need to get approval from an advisor. They should have completed the core curriculum and passed their first comprehensive exam before formally declaring a concentration. This selection process should begin with an email to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Philosophy/Theology Course List

For descriptions of both required and elective courses, please consult the online course catalog.

Course List
12 credits within the concentration, plus enrollment in Thesis Direction; students should take at least 3 credits in philosophy.
Course Number
Online Group format
Course Title Credits
CHIST 514 Church History, Part I: Early Christians to Middle Ages (8wks) 3
CHIST 524 Church History, Part II: Renaissance to Modern Church (8wks) 3
GREEK 501 Biblical Greek I 3
GREEK 502 Biblical Greek II 3
LATIN 501 Latin I 3
LATIN 502 Latin II 3
PHIL 534 Philosophy of the Human Person 3
PHIL 648 Phenomenology: Truth of the World  3
SCRPT 515 Biblical Foundations (16 wks) 3
SCRPT 520 Pentateuch (8 wks) 3
SCRPT 540 Isaiah and the Prophets (8Wks) 3
SCRPT 570 The Letter to the Romans (8wks) 3
SCRPT 571 The Gospel of St. John (8wks) 3
SCRPT 576 The Letters of St. Paul 3
SCRPT 662 The Synoptic Gospels 3
SPIR 501 Applied Catholic Spirituality (8wks) 3
THEO 584 The Modern Crisis of Values and the Catholic Mind 3
THEO 618 Introduction to St Thomas Aquinas 3
THEO 640 Presenting the Faith in the Modern World: Dealing with Hard Questions (8wks) 3
THEO 682 Forming a Catholic World View: Catholic Social Teachings (8wks) REQUIRED 3
THEO 697 Thesis Direction ($400 tuition)  

This concentration is designed for people who currently work for or intend to work for the Catholic Church in a professional or volunteer capacity. Deacons, catechetical leaders, Catholic school principals and teachers, music and liturgy directors, pastoral associates, and those involved in social outreach programs will find this a rich and beneficial program in both theoretical and practical terms. Students who choose this concentration will work closely with a faculty advisor to make sure their studies correspond to their personal and professional goals.

Students interested in the Ecclesial Service concentration will take 12 credit hours in their concentration area.

Before selecting a concentration, students will need to get approval from an advisor. They should have completed the core curriculum and passed their first comprehensive exam before formally declaring a concentration. This selection process should begin with an email to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Ecclesial Service Course List

For descriptions of both required and elective courses, please consult the online course catalog.

Course List
12 credits within the concentration, plus enrollment in Thesis Direction.
Course Number
Online Group Format
Course Title Credits
CHIST 514 Church History, Part I: Early Christians to Middle Ages (8wks) 3
CHIST 524 Church History, Part II: Renaissance to Modern Church (8wks) 3
CHIST 544 History of the Catholic Church in America (8wks) 3
GREEK 501 Biblical Greek I 3
GREEK 502 Biblical Greek II 3
LATIN 501 Latin I 3
LATIN 502 Latin II 3
RELED 550 Principles of Ecclesial Service - REQUIRED 3
RELED 560 Principles of Catholic Education (8wks) 3
RELED 671 Leadership for Catholic Adult Faith Formation 3
SCRPT 515 Biblical Foundations (16wks) 3
SCRPT 520 Pentateuch (8wks) 3
SCRPT 540 Isaiah and the Prophets (8Wks) 3
SCRPT 570 The Letter to the Romans (8wks) 3
SCRPT 571 The Gospel of St. John (8wks) 3
SCRPT 576 The Letters of St. Paul 3
SCRPT 662 The Synoptic Gospels 3
SPIR 501 Applied Catholic Spirituality (8Wks) 3
THEO 640 Presenting the Faith in the Modern World: Dealing with Hard Questions (8wks) 3
THEO 682 Forming a Catholic World View: Catholic Social Teachings (8wks) 3
THEO 697 Thesis Direction ($400 tuition) 0

In music, sculpture and painting, literature, and architecture, the Catholic tradition has produced some of the world's greatest works of art. Students in this concentration will not only become more familiar with the great tradition, they will come to understand how the products of the religious imagination are connected with the great truths of the Faith over the various historical periods in which the Church has added to this proud heritage.

Students interested in the Catholic Culture concentration will take 12 credit hours in their concentration area.

Before selecting a concentration, students will need to get approval from an advisor. They should have completed the core curriculum and passed their first comprehensive exam before formally declaring a concentration. This selection process should begin with an email to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Catholic Culture Course List

For descriptions of both required and elective courses, please consult the online course catalog.

Course List
12 credits within the concentration, plus enrollment in Thesis Direction.
Course Number
Online Group Format
Course title Credits
CHIST 514 Church History, Part I: Early Christians to Middle Ages (8wks) 3
CHIST 524 Church History, Part II: Renaissance to Modern Church (8wks) 3
CHIST 544 History of the Catholic Church in America (8wks) 3
GREEK 501 Biblical Greek I 3
GREEK 502 Biblical Greek II 3
LATIN 501 Latin I 3
LATIN 502 Latin II 3
PHIL 534 Philosophy of the Human Person 3
SCRPT 515 Biblical Foundations (16wks) 3
SCRPT 520  Pentateuch (8wks) 3
SCRPT 540 Isaiah and the Prophets- (8Wks) 3
SCRPT 570 The Letter to the Romans (8wks) 3
SCRPT 571 The Gospel of St. John (8wks) 3
SCRPT 576 The Letters of St. Paul 3
SCRPT 662 The Synoptic Gospels 3
SPIR 501 Applied Catholic Spirituality (8wks) 3
THEO 584 The Modern Crisis of Values and the Catholic Mind 3
THEO 640 Presenting the Faith in the Modern World: Dealing with Hard Questions 3
THEO 682 Forming a Catholic World View: Catholic Social Teachings (8wks) 3
THEO 697 Thesis Direction ($400)  

"It was important for me to pursue a degree as a way to learn more about the Catholic faith and to grow in my relationship with God. The Bachelor completion program offered a systematic way of learning the faith while completing my Bachelor's degree, something I've wanted to finish for many years."

-Dawn Louise Johnson
BA in Theology