The Master of Theological Studies Program (MTS)

§1. The Overall Purpose of the Master of Theological Studies Program 

The Contemplative Habit of “Faith Seeking Understanding”

The chief aim of the MTS program at Holy Spirit College is to impart to degree candidates a basic understanding of each area of Catholic sacred theology (for example, Scripture, creation, Christology, sacraments, ecclesiology). By working toward fulfilment of the degree requirements, students are able to cultivate a contemplative habit of prayerful study under the guidance of faculty members dedicated to transmitting the authentic Catholic intellectual tradition. Through the practice of “faith seeking understanding,” students will acquire a stable and unified foundation from which they may then proceed to conduct study in the specialized areas of theological inquiry.

§2. Goals of the Master of Theological Studies Program

The MTS program at Holy Spirit College is an academic program rather than a professional program. In accordance with the academic nature of this degree, the College has established a number of general academic goals which it strives to help students meet. 

(1) Broad Understanding with Historical Depth

A primary goal of the MTS program is for students to attain survey-level knowledge of the various theological disciplines comprising Catholic sacred theology. Such knowledge will include familiarity with a wide range of topics and also be historical in depth. For any theological doctrine or topic discussed in coursework, students will understand the development of that doctrine as well as how that topic interrelates with other theological areas of research. Familiarity with doctrinal interrelation contributes toward the realization of the overall purpose of the program stated above, namely, that students develop a contemplative understanding how the various particular areas of theological inquiry are integrated in an organic whole. 

(2) Technical Proficiency with Communicative Flexibility

A second goal is that students become familiar with the traditional vocabulary, distinctions, and technical notions employed in Catholic sacred theology, as well as with the contemporary issues and problems facing each area of sacred theology today. Students will be able to assess the meaning of such technical formulations in their historical contexts and re-express these theological judgments in a contemporary context informed by the intellectual issues and problems facing Christian theology today. 

(3) Scholarly Skills

Finally, the program maintains the goal of helping students realize the unique vocation of the academic theologian (as distinct from the catechist), particularly through the development of the scholarly skills necessary for high-level theological research. 

§3. Student Learning Outcomes in the Master of Theological Studies Program

In association with the general goals listed above, the MTS program at Holy Spirit College seeks to help students realize several specific learning outcomes when completing the degree requirements. 

First, with respect to the program goal of attaining a broad understanding of the theological disciplines with historical depth, successful students will illustrate academic aptitude in core theological areas, as well as the ability to interrelate these areas of theological inquiry.

Second, with respect to the program goal of attaining technical proficiency with communicative flexibility, successful students will be familiar with the historical development of Catholic sacred theology, its modes of expression, and how the vocabulary and notions it employs have been appropriated in order better to clarify and explicate the theological judgments communicated in this discipline. 

Third, with respect to the program goal of developing scholarly skills, students will be able to interact with scholarly theological literature, assess it critically, and author argumentative responses which evince an appreciation both of the primary sources of theological reflection (such as Scripture, the documents of the Magisterium, and important treatises in the Catholic theological tradition) as well as of the secondary sources informing contemporary academic dialogue on any issue under consideration.

§4. Outcome Assessment Strategies 

The College assesses whether the specific learning outcomes listed above have been attained.

Whether a student has met the first program goal and its associated outcomes is assessed by evaluating student performance on course assignments, particularly on course examinations. Student ability to interrelate the various areas of theological inquiry is evinced by successful completion of the summative requirement. 

Whether a student has met the second program goal and its associated outcomes is also assessed by course examinations, as well as by the authorship of research papers. The writing component of the MTS program at Holy Spirit College is extensive. Such course papers also serve to illustrate student communicative flexibility.

Whether a student has met the third program goal and its associated outcomes is also assessed by student authorship of course papers. 

The overall educational effectiveness of the program is assessed by evaluating student completion of a summative requirement.

The College assesses whether student needs and institutional goals are being met by review of institutional evaluations administered annually to students who are graduating. Part of the institutional review process includes disclosure of the percentage of students who complete the program as well as the percentage of students who find desired placement after graduation (either occupational placement or academic placement). This statistical data is publicized each year in the College Catalog.

§5. Program Content

The Holy Spirit College MTS program exposes students to diverse theological content in all the major areas of theological research. The program is primarily academic in nature rather than professional. The summative requirement which is completed at the end of student work toward the degree serves to illustrate the academic nature of the MTS degree. This requirement involves either completion of a short research project or illustrating mastery of all coursework through completion of a comprehensive exam.

§6. Location of the Master of Theological Studies Program

Courses for the Holy Spirit College MTS degree are offered primarily on the main campus of the College which is located at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in north Atlanta. At times, individual courses may be scheduled at satellite classroom facilities associated with other Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. By pursuing graduate education in Catholic sacred theology in a traditional classroom setting, students at the College participate in a community of learning where faculty and students have regular opportunities for substantive and personal interaction. With approval of the academic dean, a student may also pursue a directed reading under the guidance of a faculty member in order to obtain credit toward the MTS degree. 

§7. Duration of the Master of Theological Studies Program

The normal duration for the completion of the MTS degree at Holy Spirit College involves two years of coursework when registered with a full-time load of 9 credit hours per academic term. Please review the Holy Spirit College “Advanced Standing Policy” for additional information regarding accelerated completion of the degree requirements. 

§8. MTS Degree Requirements

Credit Distribution 

36 hrs. Total
27 hrs. Theology Core Courses
9 hrs. Electives

Other Degree Requirements 

Summative Requirement (Research Paper or Comprehensive Exam)

Recommended Full-Time Course Sequence Including Core Courses

Year One           Fall           THEO 500        Philosophy for Theology (3)  
                                              THEO 505        Introduction to Sacred Theology (1.5)
                                              THEO 510         Introduction to Scripture (3)
                                              THEO 515         Fundamental Theology (1.5)                       

                           Spring       THEO 550        Theology of Creation and Eschatology (3)
                                              THEO 560        Theological Anthropology (3)  
                                              THEO 570        Trinitarian Theology and Christology (3)

Year Two         Fall            THEO 600         Liturgy and Sacraments (3)  
                                                -                         Elective (3) or (1.5 x 2)  
                                                -                         Elective (3) or (1.5 x 2) 

                          Spring       THEO 650         Moral Theology (3)  
                                             THEO 670          Theological Research (Practicum) (3)  
                                                -                         Elective (3) or (1.5 x 2)


                                             THEO 610            Canon Law (3)
                                             THEO 615            Patristics (1.5)
                                             THEO 620            Theological Latin I (3)
                                             THEO 625            Introduction to Catholic Spirituality (1.5)
                                             THEO 630            Ecclesiology (3)
                                             THEO 635            Mariology (1.5)  
                                             THEO 655            Marriage and Family – Theology of the Body (1.5)
                                             THEO 660            Theological Latin II (3)
                                             THEO 675             Bioethics (1.5)
                                             THEO 680            Directed Reading (3)
                                             THEO 685            Directed Reading (1.5)
                                             THEO 690            Special Topic (3)
                                             THEO 695            Special Topic (1.5)   

Please note that (a) not all core courses recommended here may be available each semester pending adequate student registrations and faculty member availability, and (b) other exigencies may require the College to deviate from this sequence when scheduling courses. For specific scheduling details, please refer to the course offering list publicized for the academic term under consideration.

With administrative approval, THEO 505 Introduction to Sacred Theology may be exempted without credit and replaced with an additional 1.5 credit hour elective. 

Any course may be offered during the summer term pending faculty member availability.​

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