Theology (MA)

Graduate Program (MA)

Our graduate theology program at Xavier University 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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International Admission


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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 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-impact-impact 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.

THEO 645 - Pastoral Counseling: Theory and 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.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition, per credit hour Cost
College of Arts & Sciences - MA $665
Catholic Educators 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.

Theology Options

Graduate Studies in Theology

Graduate Studies in Theology

Offering graduate classes and programming in theology, pastoral ministry, biblical studies and more, the Institute for Spirituality and social-impact-impact Justice empowers individual growth and communal work towards a more just, more humane world.

Graduate Studies in Theology Website

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 504 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

Specializations: Spirituality and social-impact-impact Justice

Applied Degrees: Spirituality and Social Justice

The Institute for Spirituality and social-impact-impact Justice provides a university context for those interested in gaining or deepening their theological knowledge in social-impact-impact justice, biblical studies, and spirituality through ethical analysis and the construction of a deeper social-impact-impact imagination. Working with the spiritual resources of our wisdom traditions, the Institute prepares people to contribute effectively to a more just, more humane world. Many of our graduate students seek personal enrichment; preparation for a variety of career options including employment opportunities in counseling, teaching, and the church; and preparation to pursue doctoral work.


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-impact-impact 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:

  • Religious education
  • Pastoral ministry
  • Campus and youth ministry
  • social-impact-impact 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-impact-impact and religious ministries, and volunteers
  • Scholarship fund may provide tuition assistance

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