I am interested in the M.A. in Catholic Pastoral and Educational Studies offered by the Maryvale Institute, a distance learning institution located in Birmingham, UK. I am wondering if anyone has had any experience with this program. After exploring the Maryvale web site, I am getting a sense that the program is intended for those who are involved with catechism instruction specifically rather than those who wish to pursue theological studies in general. Thank you.
I have visited Maryvale Institute and can confirm that it is a very good, orthodox Catholic institution. The programs of study are very serious, but are designed to be done on your own time. I would highly recommend the institution. Regarding specific questions, you might be better off contacting them directly. Perhaps you could e-mail or telephone them or even go and visit. Regarding pure theology versus catechetics, any program will need a bit of both, but you are not going to simply receive a catechetical "bag of tricks" or sociological techniques in any of their programs, as all of them have a strong doctrinal content. They concentrate a lot on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is one of the main theological tools that we are blessed to have today. THis is precisely the criterion that Pope Benedict has used to define whether those Anglicans desiring to enter the Catholic Church have a true Catholic Faith. Therefore any study on this will be a sure foundation for any further studies in theology.
Fr. Neil Xavier O'Donoghue, Ph.D.
Prefect of Studies
Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary
672 Passaic Avenue
Kearny, New Jersey 07032
Tel. (201) 997-3220 Fax. (201) 997-5552
Thanks very much for your helpful reply.
I emailed them and this is the response I got.
**Thank you for your enquiry and questions, and I’m sure it would indeed be a good idea to put up information on destinations of students.
I can give you a bit of a picture of our student group. Currently, around half of the 30 doctoral students we have are from the US, and of these around half are lay men and women. I think that the outcomes are very various - some are not pusuing for career-related reasons; some work in university/college settings and are needing/wating to gain a doctorate; some work professionally for the Church in diocesan positions; some want to move into college teaching and need the doctorate for that. So it is a mixture.
Your question about a value of a UK doctorate is obviously important. As far as I can see the English doctorate is well-received in the US. It differs from the US doctoral scheme in being a thesis-only approach, of 100,000 words. So, no taught element. This is the traditional English approach. Interestingly, the concept of ‘distance-ed doctorates’ is not really used because in the humanities here, in particular, doctoral candidates tend to work mainly as loners. The key is regular supervisory contact and this is achievable in a number of ways - face-to-face and also more remotely, and Maryvale asks for both of these kinds of contact modes. Then the student cohort is brought together for two weeks each year.
Do get back in touch if a discussion of your particular interests and needs would be helpful.
With warm wishes in Christ,