Theology (MA)

Graduate Program (MA)

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 applied) empower students through constructive theological reflection and responsible social action.


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

Master of Arts in Theology take the foundational courses plus 15 semester hours in elective courses

Our applied degrees take the foundational courses, THEO 690 Discernment and Integration: Capstone Course, and the corresponding track courses:

Sample Courses

THEO 514 - SP 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 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. Students will explore the possible ways to respond to migration with faith, charity, and justice.

THEO 624 - Theological Imagination - This course explores the fertile boundaries between human life and sacred mystery with attention to questions of meaning, hope, and social transformation in history.

THEO 645 - Pastoral Counseling: Theory & Practice - This course surveys the theories of pastoral counseling that resulted from dialogues between psychology and theology in the 20th and 21st centuries to provide students a spectrum of theoretical lens to conceptualize various pastoral care giving situations.

THEO 690 - Discernment and Integration - This course reviews Ignatian principles of discernment and moves them into practice in various realms: life choices, daily life, professional development, work-family balance, and engagement of social issues.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition, per credit hour Cost
College of Arts & Sciences - MA $640
Pastoral and Ministry Rate $345
Catholic Educators Rate $345
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 2019-20 school year, and include classes from Summer 2019 though Spring 2020. These amounts are updated to the most recent amounts available. For the full listing, please visit

Theology Options

General MA in Theology

General MA in Theology

The Master of Arts in Theology requires the satisfactory completion of 30 semester hours of coursework, all of which must be taken at the graduate level. (An applicant may begin coursework as a non-degree student before being officially accepted into the degree program. A maximum of six credit hours taken as a non-degree student may be applied toward the degree program.)

There are 15 semester hours of required courses for all MA students. These are:

  • THEO 503 Liberating Bible
  • THEO 520 Journey through Christianity I
  • THEO 524 Journey through Christianity II
  • One course in ethics
  • One course in systematic theology

Students in the Master of Arts in Theology take the core courses plus 15 semester hours in elective courses.

MA in Theology Website

Applied Degrees: Spirituality and Social Justice

Applied Degrees: Spirituality and Social Justice

The Institute for Spirituality and Social Justice provides a university context for personal and social renewal, ethical analysis, a deeper social imagination, and the spiritual resources of our wisdom traditions to prepare people to contribute effectively to a more just, more humane world.

The Institute offers Master's degrees in theology with specializations in three tracks:


solid foundation

Students receive a strong grounding in the critical sub-specialties of theology, including courses in scripture, history of Christianity, ethics, and systematics. Electives allow for courses in comparative traditions, spirituality and applied theology.

space for reflection

Theological studies require us to develop skills in reflection and integration in light if our lived experience. Wherever your future career path takes you, graduate studies in theology will help you to gain habits of thinking deeply and living with greater imagination and intention.


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.

Xavier by the numbers









M.A. in Theology Program

Students studying for the MA in Theology gain the historical awareness and professional resources necessary to enter or advance in careers such as teaching, ministry or writing; doctoral work; or to promote their personal spiritual development.

Optional concentrations support careers in:

  • Religious education
  • Pastoral administration
  • Social and environmental justice
  • Non-profit agencies
  • Health care

Convenient, Flexible

  • Small evening classes.
  • Course schedule accommodates full-time or part-time working students.
  • Begin courses in the summer, fall or spring.
  • Special scholarship fund may provide tuition assistance.

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