Theology (MA)

Graduate Program (MA)

Our graduate theology program at Xavier University is offered through the The Institute for Spirituality and Social Justice. The Institute offers students a rich academic and engaged atmosphere in the Ignatian tradition where they pursue personal enrichment and the grounding for a variety of Christian vocations, career options, or future doctoral work. Rigorous classes presented in a variety of formats (online, evening, weekends, condensed 8-week) allow students to explore theology and topics of social justice, Biblical Studies, Spirituality, World Religions, and Youth/Campus Ministry.


We invite applications from students with a bachelor's degree and a solid academic background (cumulative undergraduate GPA of a 2.7 of better). No definite amount of previous study of theology is prerequisite for admission to the program, and students may vary considerably in their preparation. Ordinarily, applicants should have a background in the humanities, but each applicant will be considered individually. Applicants without a sufficient undergraduate background in theology or religious studies are normally required to take THEO 501 Introduction to the Study of Theology as a prerequisite for admission to the M.A. program.

Applications for this program are accepted throughout the year. You may begin the program in the summer, fall, or spring term.

To apply for official acceptance as a degree-seeking student, submit the following application materials to the Office of Graduate Admission (Xavier University, Attn: Admission Processing Center, 3800 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45207):

  • Completed application.
  • One official transcript (sent directly from the college/university to graduate services) of all previous undergraduate and graduate course work.
  • Official test scores from the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). The MAT is offered here at Xavier. For information about registering for the MAT, please call 513 745-3531. If you have previously taken the GRE and want to have your scores sent to Xavier, please contact GRE at 1 888 GRE-SCORE.
  • A statement of reasons and goals for enrolling in this program (1,000-2,000 words)
  • Two letters of recommendation (one which addresses your academic or professional abilities, one which addresses your personal character and suitability for graduate study in theology).

Once your file is complete, you will be contacted for an interview with either the graduate student advisor or the department chair. The interview will be a discussion of your background and preparation for the graduate study of theology. It is also an opportunity to address any questions which you might have about the program.

Applications are processed immediately upon receiving all of the necessary materials, and you will be notified of your status as soon as possible. The Admission Committee considers all of the information contained in the admission application, including prior grades, test scores, and evidence of potential for success in graduate study.

For further information about the M.A. in theology, including an application, please complete the web inquiry form. Questions regarding the application process may be e-mailed directly to the Office of Graduate Admission at

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Foundational Courses:

  • THEO 503 Liberating Bible
  • THEO 520 Journey Through Christianity I: Community, Authority and Expansion
  • THEO 524 Journey Through Christianity II: Reformations, Modernities and the Global Context
  • THEO 624 Theological Imagination: Approaches to the Sacred
  • THEO 547 Ethics in a Time of Planetary Crisis

The general MA in Theology takes the foundational courses plus 15 semester hours in elective courses.

Our specialized degrees take the foundational courses, THEO 690 Discernment and Integration: Capstone Course, and the corresponding courses for each concentration:

Sample Courses

THEO 504 - Liberating Bible - This class introduces methods of scripture study used to interpret both the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Scriptures. This introduction substantively addresses the relationship between biblical interpretation and Social justice questions regarding gender, race, class, and the environment.

THEO 514 - Spiritual Exercises For 21st Century - This team-taught course re-envisions Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises in light of recent New Testament scholarship and a contextual understanding of the sixteenth century, in which the Exercises were developed, with an eye to the global challenges and possibilities of our era.

THEO 520 - Journey Through Christianity I - This course is an introduction to the evolution of Christian thought from the first century to the late Middle Ages focusing in particular on the issues of community, authority and ecclesial expansion.

THEO 607 - Theology and Migration - In this course, students will reflect on the histories and the contemporary phenomena of migration. Students will seek to understand migration theologically, Biblically, historically, and ethically in the broader framework of divine hospitality.

THEO 622 – World Religions and the Environment - This course will explore the contributions of several world religious traditions towards constructing an environmental theology that can address our current global environmental crisis.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition, per credit hour Cost
College of Arts & Sciences - MA $665
Catholic Educators Rate $360
Pastoral or Social Justice Ministry Rate $360
Student Fee, per semester
Graduate Student Association Fee, degree seeking full-time $8
Graduate Student Association Fee, degree seeking part-time $4

The amounts listed are for the 2020-2021 academic year, and include classes from Summer 2020 though Spring 2021. For the full, official listing, please visit Xavier University reserves the right to correct any computational or clerical errors.

Options for Graduate Study

Offering graduate classes in theology, pastoral ministry, biblical studies and more, the Institute for Spirituality and Social Justice empowers individual growth and communal work towards a more just, more humane world. The Institute provides a university context for those interested in gaining or deepening their theological knowledge through ethical analysis, the construction of a deeper social imagination, and work with the spiritual resources of our wisdom traditions. Many of our graduate students seek personal enrichment; preparation for a variety of career options including employment opportunities in counseling, teaching, and ministry; and preparation to pursue doctoral work.

Students choose to study theology at Xavier University because of the diversity and expertise of its theology faculty, the grounding in the Ignatian tradition, and the approach that is ecumenical and inquiring in spirit. Xavier's variety of degrees (general and specialized) offered within the Institute for Spirituality and Social Justice empower students through constructive theological reflection and responsible social action. The General MA degree path is ideal for those who would like to pursue personal enrichment or future doctoral work.

MA in Theology Website

The specialized degrees in theology offered by the Institute for Spirituality and Social Justice are designed to bring together theory and practice, building on the traditions of spiritual discernment (Ignatian and others), theological reflection and purposeful action. These degrees educate adult learners towards work as knowledgeable, thoughtful and responsible professionals who improve their work environments and society as a whole. These specialized degrees prepare students for a variety of challenging and rewarding careers in sustainability, social ministry, and pastoral ministries- including youth and campus ministry and chaplaincy.

Xavier’s graduate program in theology supports any number of professional options, and our program provides flexible possibilities for innovative degrees. However, you may find yourself wanting a rigorous introduction to a very specific topic in the context of the unique space of support, stimulation, rigor and depth of our courses. Did you know you can register for up to two graduate courses without being a degree-seeking student? Or you can take a series of courses designed to support you with a Certificate in Theological Studies.

We encourage you to contact us with your interests.


solid foundation

Students receive a strong grounding in biblical studies, history of Christianity, ethics, and systematics. Electives allow for students to craft a unique degree path as they choose from a variety of courses in Social justice, spirituality, pastoral ministry, and world religions.

space for reflection

Whether students are looking for personal enrichment, preparation for a new career, or hoping to pursue doctoral work, graduate theological study empowers students with reflection and imagination that will enrich their work and life experience.


Each of us has a purpose in life—although it often takes a supportive learning community to refine that purpose. Xavier will help you understand your unique gifts and passions and, with the tools of Ignatian discernment, you will learn practices to help you live toward your life's purpose.

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M.A. in Theology Program

Theology graduate students gain the historical awareness, critical skills, and professional resources necessary to enter or advance in a variety of career options, such as teaching, ministry, or writing; doctoral work; or to promote their personal spiritual development.

Optional concentrations support careers in:

  • Campus and youth ministry
  • Pastoral ministry
  • Religious education
  • Social justice
  • Environmental justice
  • Non-profit agencies
  • Health care
  • Doctoral work

Convenient, Flexible

  • Small classes held at a variety of times (i.e. in the evenings, on the weekends, or online)
  • Multitude of class formats (i.e. weekly in person meetings, a condensed 8-week format, online, or a hybrid format which includes online and in person)
  • Course schedule accommodates full-time or part-time working students
  • Begin courses in the summer, fall, or spring
  • Special tuition rates for teachers, those working in Social and religious ministries, and volunteers
  • Scholarship fund may provide tuition assistance

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