Master's Degree in Theology?


#1

Anyone here have a Master’s degree in Theology? I am thinking about entering a Master’s program in Theological studies after 20 years in another unrelated field. It will take time to earn the Master’s and it is something I feel drawn towards, but I am not sure of all the ways that one can use such a degree for another career. Any ideas or thoughts would be appreciated. I feel as though God wants me to work towards such a degree to use the degree to help others. But I am stumped as to what I might do in six years or so if I do finish a Master’s program.


#2

It would be a good degree to have if you plan on writing books in the field. You should take a couple of Seminary courses to see if it’s something you really want to do.


#3

[quote=Journeyman]I feel as though God wants me to work towards such a degree to use the degree to help others. But I am stumped as to what I might do in six years or so if I do finish a Master’s program.
[/quote]

(assuming, by your handle ‘journeyman’ that you are male…) You might just find yourself lying face-down on a cold marble floor as you are being ordained a deacon.


#4

[quote=Journeyman]Anyone here have a Master’s degree in Theology? I am thinking about entering a Master’s program in Theological studies after 20 years in another unrelated field. It will take time to earn the Master’s and it is something I feel drawn towards, but I am not sure of all the ways that one can use such a degree for another career. Any ideas or thoughts would be appreciated. I feel as though God wants me to work towards such a degree to use the degree to help others. But I am stumped as to what I might do in six years or so if I do finish a Master’s program.
[/quote]

There is someone here named “Itsjustdave” who has one, he can help you.


#5

You could teach the subject?


#6

I’ve just applied to the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s distance learning program because I know that the theology program is sound. In order to get residency requirement, I will have to go there two summers for just 3 weeks each time. They have compacted several classes into 3 weeks in order to facilitate these summer sessions. The rest are taken at home via video taped sessions.

I did this because I do not fully trust the professors at my home town seminary yet (Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit). I started to take theology about 20 years ago there and ran into an unsuspected pocket of heavy progressiveness and feminism. I’m a traditional, orthodox minded female so that did not mix very well. A freind studying for the diaconate was pressing me to become a female deacon (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was not out yet). The priest-professor was using Fr. Richard McBrien’'s “Catholicism” (most likely 1st or 2nd edition) which the USCCB had written several letters against and stated it is not to be used for Introductory Theology classes. But, they not only used it, they were clinging fast to the ideologies expressed in the book. After the professor made a less than charitable remark about the Rosary and people who say it, I dropped the class. It was just 3 weeks after it started.

Finding a solid Catholic seminary or university to learn theology is difficult. I don’t know about you, but I am going to study theology because I love the Church and I’m not interested in picking apart the faith in a dissenting manner. Yet so many programs do just this. I want a program that will teach me about the Magisterium and how to defend it not a program that encourages students to challenge the Magisterium.

Steubenville is well known for it’s affiliation with Charismatics, but I am told by many that the theology, material, and professors are very solid. In fact, Scott Hahn is on the graduate program faculty there.

I plan to write and would love to teach, however, the only place close enough for me to teach Catholic theology is at Sacred Heart Seminary. I understand it has made about a 60-70% improvement since I went there, but Bishop Bruskewicz and company have recently showed up for “the visit”. Also, because it is a seminary, I would be required to have an STL (Sacred Theology Licentiate), minimum, to teach there (typically follows a masters or is incorporated, I believe). When I get done with Steubenville, I may consider going back to Sacred Heart for their STL, if I see certain faces are no longer there. To teach at a seminary or pontifical univeristy you need the STL.

I too would be interested to know what else I could do with it.

More on the Steubenville program.

I’d say study thoroughly any theology program you are considering. Some, unfortunately, are actually teaching heresy and getting away with it (for now). The web is a good place to learn the good, the bad and the ugly about any prospective program.


#7

Incidentally, here is an interesting read, albeit from 1998. See if your hometown is listed under orthodox or progressive. I like their distinction between the two:

For the purposes of its study HLI defined an “orthodox” diocese as one that had exhibited a “general predisposition of fidelity towards the Magisterium since Vatican II.”

The term “progressive” was applied to a diocese exhibiting “a general predisposition towards liberal activism and systematic toleration towards dissent from the magisterium since Vatican II”.

And further down it reads:

HLI found the following 15 dioceses to be in the “orthodox” category: Amarillo, Texas; Arlington, Virginia; Atlanta, Georgia; Baltimore, Maryland; Corpus Christi, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Fargo, North Dakota; Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana; Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska; Peoria, Illinois; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Steubenville, Ohio; and Wichita, Kansas.

The following 15 dioceses were considered to be in the “progressive” category: Chicago, Illinois; Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan; Los Angeles, California; Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; New Ulm, Minnesota; Phoenix, Arizona; Portland, Maine; Rockville Centre, New York; San Bernadino, San Diego and San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; and Tucson, Arizona.

It would be good to read the rest of it, but I don’t want to get into thread drift. A book which goes deeper into the disparity of vocations between orthodox and progressive diocese (the latter seeing a significant decline), is the book “Goodbye, Good Men” by Michael S. Rose. While it gets into the problems with the gay subculture in seminaries, it also goes into detail how orthodox young men have been filtered out of the seminary by progressives, revealing why there is such a difference in vocations between the two kinds of diocese. I highly recommend the book as you will see just how important it is to find the right school for your theology degree.

Maybe you are lucky enough to live in one of the “orthodox” cities.

One caveat, is that some of these cities may have changed since 1998 - for the good, or the bad. It’s truly necessary to research the university and program to see where it stands.


#8

Why not!

My MS is not in theology… rather, I “stumbled into” a program at a Catholic college in pastoral counseling. The college library was fabulous. 220 books on or about or by Thomas Aquinas alone!

But my life work was in engineering design and human factors design and innovative financing of capital projects…

So it was quite a different focus… And then I had 20 years of experience with career counseling on top of all that…

Go for it.

One program to investigate is your diocese program for permanent deacons. Every diocese has one. It may have all or some of the elements of a Masters in theology.

What can you do with it? Why not leave it up to God and your guardian angel.

joanwanderson.com/

Go to that Web site for some stories about angelic interventions.

Read a good book on discernment: “Weeds Among the Wheat” by Rev. Thomas Green, SJ.

Plant yourself before Jesus-in-the-Monstrance … do a Holy Hour on a regular (weekly) basis…or even daily if possible… let His Grace “irradiate” you. Just close your eyes and be open.

“Lord, carry me, hold me in Your arms, forgive my my sins, and make me the way You want me to be.”


#9

I am also looking to further my education and am looking at three areas:
[list]
*]Priesthood
*]Diaconate
*]Teaching (Part time adult)
[/list]I have looked at Franciscan University of Steubenville’s and International Catholic University (Which is part of Holy Apostles College and Seminary), but I am also looking at Sacred Heart in Detroit (Maybe Brendan can shed some light on its orthodoxy).
PF


#10

My first choice would be Franciscan distance learning, because my second choice is San Antonio, 4hrs away (St. Mary’s, not the Oblates). I have heard from Detroiters that Sacred Heart is turning around and in fact some good bishops have put it back on their list of acceptable seminaries, that their professors are orthodox although there are still one or two people in leadership that are problematic. Any one from Detroit comment? Have not heard from Sue lately. Janet Smith is on their faculty.

I am already functioning as a DRE, although I cannot use that title (I am a “catechetical leader”) and if I thought the degree would get me more money I would go for it, but it won’t. but frankly I already have an MA and at my time in life I don’t have the energy for another degree, especially as it would take time and energy away from my job. My reason for not doing it earlier is that I do not trust any of the popular theology programs available. What I will probably do is return to the St. John Bosco summer catechetical conference at Steubenville and complete the DRE track.

What theology program does your diocese approve for those considering priesthood? for deaconate formation? If you are planning this, or to be a DRE, or to teach, you will have problems in your diocese if the program is not approved.


#11

[quote=Lux_et_veritas]I’ve just applied to the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s distance learning program because I know that the theology program is sound. In order to get residency requirement, I will have to go there two summers for just 3 weeks each time. They have compacted several classes into 3 weeks in order to facilitate these summer sessions. The rest are taken at home via video taped sessions.

I did this because I do not fully trust the professors at my home town seminary yet (Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit). I started to take theology about 20 years ago there and ran into an unsuspected pocket of heavy progressiveness and feminism. I’m a traditional, orthodox minded female so that did not mix very well. A freind studying for the diaconate was pressing me to become a female deacon (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was not out yet). The priest-professor was using Fr. Richard McBrien’'s “Catholicism” (most likely 1st or 2nd edition) which the USCCB had written several letters against and stated it is not to be used for Introductory Theology classes. But, they not only used it, they were clinging fast to the ideologies expressed in the book. After the professor made a less than charitable remark about the Rosary and people who say it, I dropped the class. It was just 3 weeks after it started.

Finding a solid Catholic seminary or university to learn theology is difficult. I don’t know about you, but I am going to study theology because I love the Church and I’m not interested in picking apart the faith in a dissenting manner. Yet so many programs do just this. I want a program that will teach me about the Magisterium and how to defend it not a program that encourages students to challenge the Magisterium.

Steubenville is well known for it’s affiliation with Charismatics, but I am told by many that the theology, material, and professors are very solid. In fact, Scott Hahn is on the graduate program faculty there.

I plan to write and would love to teach, however, the only place close enough for me to teach Catholic theology is at Sacred Heart Seminary. I understand it has made about a 60-70% improvement since I went there, but Bishop Bruskewicz and company have recently showed up for “the visit”. Also, because it is a seminary, I would be required to have an STL (Sacred Theology Licentiate), minimum, to teach there (typically follows a masters or is incorporated, I believe). When I get done with Steubenville, I may consider going back to Sacred Heart for their STL, if I see certain faces are no longer there. To teach at a seminary or pontifical univeristy you need the STL.

I too would be interested to know what else I could do with it.

More on the Steubenville program.

I’d say study thoroughly any theology program you are considering. Some, unfortunately, are actually teaching heresy and getting away with it (for now). The web is a good place to learn the good, the bad and the ugly about any prospective program.
[/quote]

I have my M.A. in Counseling from Franciscan. It was a great experience!


#12

[quote=puzzleannie]My first choice would be Franciscan distance learning, because my second choice is San Antonio, 4hrs away (St. Mary’s, not the Oblates). I have heard from Detroiters that Sacred Heart is turning around and in fact some good bishops have put it back on their list of acceptable seminaries, that their professors are orthodox although there are still one or two people in leadership that are problematic. Any one from Detroit comment? Have not heard from Sue lately. Janet Smith is on their faculty.
[/quote]

I don’t recommend St. Mary’s in San Antonio, but that’s just my opinion.


#13

[quote=Journeyman]Anyone here have a Master’s degree in Theology? I am thinking about entering a Master’s program in Theological studies after 20 years in another unrelated field. It will take time to earn the Master’s and it is something I feel drawn towards, but I am not sure of all the ways that one can use such a degree for another career. Any ideas or thoughts would be appreciated. I feel as though God wants me to work towards such a degree to use the degree to help others. But I am stumped as to what I might do in six years or so if I do finish a Master’s program.
[/quote]

There are several options available to you, depending on your background and interests. Many seminaries offer non-ordination track Master’s programs, and there are many, many Catholic colleges and universities which do. A basic Master of Arts (Theology) is typically about a 30-36 hour program. A Master of Theological Studies is typically about a 60 -72 hour program. A Master of Divinity is typically about a 90-108 hour program. Some schools offer other options as well. It largely depends on what you want to do with the degree.

I teach theology at a Catholic university; PM me if you’d like to chat more.

Blessings,


#14

Thanks to all for the great replies. My diocese does not have a seminary and there is no good Catholic college within 90 mins of here. I was considering the Master’s program at Catholic Distance University, but lately have started looking into Franciscan University also, as it appears to have a more comprehensive program.

I figure I might just end up starting into the program and see where it leads me over the next few years. I would have to take some prerequisite undergraduate classes in Theology before getting into the graduate classes.

Lux_et_veritas----Do you have to take any of the prerequisite classes at FUS? Right now I think that I will apply to FUS in the next few weeks. I would be interested in how things go for you. I also want to learn the orthodox version of Catholicism.

As far as the diaconate program in my diocese, it is less strenuous than a Master’s program and it would allow me to do one thing—be a Deacon. That is fine, but I want to have other options also, such as writing or teaching. I have learned so much about the faith the last few years. It made me realize how much the average Catholic does not know and I want to be part of the new evangelization to get the average Catholic more learned in their faith.


#15

[quote=Journeyman]Thanks to all for the great replies. My diocese does not have a seminary and there is no good Catholic college within 90 mins of here. I was considering the Master’s program at Catholic Distance University, but lately have started looking into Franciscan University also, as it appears to have a more comprehensive program.

I figure I might just end up starting into the program and see where it leads me over the next few years. I would have to take some prerequisite undergraduate classes in Theology before getting into the graduate classes.

Lux_et_veritas----Do you have to take any of the prerequisite classes at FUS? Right now I think that I will apply to FUS in the next few weeks. I would be interested in how things go for you. I also want to learn the orthodox version of Catholicism.

As far as the diaconate program in my diocese, it is less strenuous than a Master’s program and it would allow me to do one thing—be a Deacon. That is fine, but I want to have other options also, such as writing or teaching. I have learned so much about the faith the last few years. It made me realize how much the average Catholic does not know and I want to be part of the new evangelization to get the average Catholic more learned in their faith.
[/quote]

Because I have a bachelor of science, with no philosophy or theology, I have to pretty much take all of the prerequisite classes before beginning any masters level courses. It seems to me that it was a total of 6 classes for me.

I emailed them at the distance learning center there and explained that based on a simple assessment, I am assuming I would need all of those classes and that I was concerned about having to get them locally (for reasons already stated above).

I got a reply back that all of the classes required for entrance are available in the same format as the masters classes. That was a welcome relief to me. Hopefully, they are cheaper than the regular classes.

I too looked at Catholic Distance University and I think it is a great program. However, I also noticed it was over 100 more per class.

Come to think of it, I did not verify whether the classes were around 600 or if it was 600 per credit hour. I’ll have to check unless someone else cares to. That alone will limit how many classes I can take in a given year, more than the workload.

Maybe some time, we’ll meet up during one of those 3 week on-campus courses in a future summer.

I encourage you to contact them via email and work through any questions. They’ve been quite responsive with all of mine.

My pastor and one other priest have sent in their recommendations and I have to get one more from a co-worker who has known me longer. I work for a large automotive company and I’m sure they would rather see me getting a technical masters. Since I’m not using their tuition money, I figure it’s none of their business what I do with my spare time so for that reason, did not want to ask any bosses for recommendations. The 3rd reference has known me for 15 years, is retired, and active in many of the same Catholic activities as I am.

This will be complete after the first of the year and they have received all of my transcripts thus far.

There is a threat of a large layoff in January (permanent) so if I’m still employed, I hope to begin in February. You can set your own schedule.

Also noteworthy, is that while they want people to finish in 6 months (each course), I’ve been told that some finish it in far less time - like more traditional time periods (if they can afford many classes per year). But, I was also told that the school understands that there may be circumstances that would require some to go beyond the 6 months and that extensions can be requested. Ditto with the limit on the number of years you can take to get it done.

It will be difficult for me to give up 3 weeks vacation in the summer, but that’s the cross I’ll bear for a solid, orthodox master’s degree. How sad that we can’t go to Catholic institutions in our own backyards. Or, at least feel comfortable going there. I have personally asked some at Sacred Heart Major Seminary for a list of “safe” instructors. The list was smaller than I had hoped. I thought I could weave around the progressive ones that remain, but right out of the shoot I would have had to take introductory theology with a priest I prefer to stay far away from. I need to get him back into my prayers.


#16

[quote=Lux_et_veritas]It will be difficult for me to give up 3 weeks vacation in the summer, but that’s the cross I’ll bear for a solid, orthodox master’s degree. How sad that we can’t go to Catholic institutions in our own backyards. Or, at least feel comfortable going there. I have personally asked some at Sacred Heart Major Seminary for a list of “safe” instructors. The list was smaller than I had hoped. I .
[/quote]

what about Orchard Lake St. Mary’s do they offer advanced degrees?


#17

Could I ask what a DRE is? I did a google search “what is DRE” and I’m sure it’s not what I found :o


#18

[quote=Mijoy2]Could I ask what a DRE is? I did a google search “what is DRE” and I’m sure it’s not what I found :o
[/quote]

Director of Religious Education


#19

[quote=puzzleannie]what about Orchard Lake St. Mary’s do they offer advanced degrees?
[/quote]

Unfortunately, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s is no longer in existence under that name. I could only find this on its recent history:

St. Mary’s was a college in dire financial straits when Monaghan purchased the school in 2000. The rejuvenated college was well on its way to becoming an orthodox bastion with a renewed liberal arts curriculum and student life thanks to Ave Maria’s timely intervention. Less than three years later, however, while negotiating an exit grant to see the college on its way to an independent future, the marriage between Ave Maria and St. Mary’s was annulled when Monaghan abandoned the college to Madonna University.

Full article by Michael S. Rose

Once Madonna took over, I had no idea what to expect. If it had remained part of Ave Maria University, it would have been well worth the drive and I would have felt confident with the orthodoxy.

It’s really sad Monoghan pulled out of Michigan.


#20

I have a BD and an MTh taken at the University of Wales, in a college that no longer exists.

It was Y Coleg Diwinyddol Unedig (The United Theological College of the Presbyterian Church of Wales) which served both as a centre for academic degrees and the training college for Presbyterian ministers (with the congregationalists 2 doors up the street).

My own MTh is pretty useless really and of no practical help to me. The final dissertation in it was about the theology of the Separatist Martyrs of 1593 which isn’t useful in daily Catholic life! The Separatists were wonderful though, being the first Christians in a millennium to promote religious freedom in any systematic way. Whereas Catholics and Protestants were all still saying you had to belong to a certain church by virtue of your nationality and were persecuting anyone who said otherwise, the Separatists said that the Church is a covenanting community of believers/disciples - that joining is by choice not by someone forcing you. Their ideas were forgotten and then picked up on in the 17th Century and these ideas laid the groundwork for the religious freedom that the Western World enjoys today.

Hopefully in a few years I’ll have the time and funds to take up studying again, this time through a Catholic College in England that offers excellent distance learning Catholic theology degrees.


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