Christian Spirituality (M.A.)

This program is offered online or on campus.


The Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in Christian spirituality provides preparation for work in general Christian ministry, in spiritual direction, or in preparation for an academic career in teaching. The program can also assist those who wish to complement their personal spiritual journey with an academic foundation in scripture, theology, and spirituality. Graduates of the program will have a competent understanding of methods of studying Christian spirituality along with its biblical, scriptural, and theological foundations.

Each student must pick one of three concentrations: spiritual direction, generalist, or research. Research and generalist concentrators may complete their degree entirely online, on campus, or as a hybrid program. Spiritual direction concentrators must complete their degree on campus or as a hybrid program. Intensive summer courses are also available. Scholarships and grants are available for qualified applicants.

Programs in Christian spirituality are also available at the certificate and Doctor of Ministry levels.

Spiritual Direction Concentration

Coursework in the spiritual direction concentration prepares you for work in retreat, campus ministry, and spiritual direction settings. It allows students to use electives to prepare for their certification as a spiritual director. Students also have access to Fordham's excellent retreat and campus ministry programming. In addition, it may be completed on campus or as a hybrid program. Some direction courses will require a residence on campus, as well as a year long field work practicum in the New York City area (one Saturday per month, plus online meetings).

In addition to the general requirements for the Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in Christian spirituality, students must also complete :

Course Title Credits
SPGR 7870Spiritual Direction: Theology and Practice3
PCGR 6440Pastoral Counseling Skills3
SPGR 7740
SPGR 7741
Spiritual Direction Practicum I
and Spiritual Direction Practicum II 1
6
Total Credits12

In addition, concentrators must complete a comprehensive examination or M.A. thesis.


Generalist Concentration

This concentration allows for a broad program of study on Christian spirituality for those who do not wish to focus on research or spiritual direction. This concentration may be completed entirely online, entirely on campus or through a mix of both.

In addition to the general requirements for the Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in Christian spirituality, students must also complete:

Course Title Credits
Two Spirituality electives 16
Two Free electives 26
Total Credits12

In addition, concentrators must complete a comprehensive examination or M.A. thesis.

Generalist (Spirituality) electives

Courses in this group have the CSGE attribute.

Course Title Credits
PCGR 6380Theology of Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Care3
PCGR 6410Psychology and Religion/Spirituality3
PMGR 6617Latinx Spirituality3
REGR 6170Spirituality and Arts3
SPGR 7760Christian Spirituality and Leadership3
SPGR 7870Spiritual Direction: Theology and Practice3
SPGR 7888Special Topics: Spirituality3

Research Concentration

The research concentration prepares students for Doctoral programs and careers in higher education teaching Christian Spirituality. Students have access to renowned faculty and all the resources of Fordham's other schools, centers and institutes. In addition, this concentration may be completed entirely online, entirely on campus or through a mix of both.

In addition to the general requirements for the Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in Christian spirituality, students must also complete all the requirements for the generalist concentration, with the following additions:

Completion of an M.A. Thesis

Requires students to complete a master's thesis, which would take the same form as the current research-oriented, Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in religious education 60-page "Major Paper."

Demonstrated Ability in a Second Language

Requires students to demonstrate competency in a second language in preparation for the research of the thesis. The master's thesis must employ a language which is relevant to the subject being researched, and a language which is a second language for the student. Language competency is demonstrated by the successful completion of a language examination.

The Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in Christian spirituality requires 36 credits for completion, including the selection of a concentration. Online and on-campus program options are specific to the selected concentration and are described in the concentrations tab.

Course Requirements (All Concentrations)

Course Title Credits
SPGR 6834Methods in Christian Spirituality3
SPGR 6702
SPGR 6703
History of Christian Spirituality I
and History of Christian Spirituality II
6
SPGR 6830Discernment in the Christian Tradition3
RLGR 6010Old Testament3
RLGR 6011New Testament3
One course in Theological Anthropology or Christology:3
Christology
Theology of Human Person
One course in Sacramental Spirituality or Ecclesiology:3
Sacramental Spirituality
Church and Society
Completion of a Concentration12
Total Credits36

Thesis Capstone or Comprehensive Examination Requirement (All Concentrations)

Students in the Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in Christian spirituality program may choose to pursue either a thesis capstone or comprehensive examination option to complete their degree.

About the Thesis Capstone 

Students contemplating post-M.A. studies in Christian spirituality or theology are encouraged to consider the Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in Christian spirituality thesis capstone option. This capstone requires completing a major research paper in the academic discipline of Christian spirituality, under the guidance of a Christian spirituality faculty mentor. The research paper is typically 60 pages (including bibliography) and must conform to the most recent “Turabian” manual.

Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in Christian spirituality students must apply for acceptance into the thesis capstone option. The student application includes a (1) completed cover form; (2) a completed Research Readiness Review [RRR] form, along with the original 20-page research paper under review; and (3) proof of competency in a research language other than English, typically one of the following: French, German, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Greek, or Hebrew.

Students may petition for faculty permission to substitute an alternate research language. Translation knowledge of a research language may be indicated by exam (see the assistant dean for possible dates and locations) or coursework (two semesters of university-level courses within the past six years with a grade of B+ or higher).
Students graduating in May must submit their MACS thesis option application on or before January 20. Students are advised to first consult with a Christian Spirituality faculty member well in advance of the application deadline. 

Comprehensive Examination Requirement

The Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in Christian spirituality comprehensive examination typically takes place over two days in April of each year. There are written and oral components to the examination. The list below provides a sample of the kind of materials covered on this exam; this is not a definitive list of what the examination will encompass:

  1. Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in Christian Spirituality Comprehensive Exam Capstone Explanation

  2. Sample Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in Christian Spirituality Comprehensive Exam Questions (Friday morning)

  3. Sample Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in Christian Spirituality Comprehensive Exam Case Studies (Friday afternoon)

    1. Spiritual Direction Verbatim

    2. Spiritual Discernment Case Study

  4. Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in Christian Spirituality Comprehensive Exam Bibliographies

    1. Historical Approaches (East and West)

      1. Primary Texts

      2. Secondary Texts

    2. Spiritual Direction

    3. Spiritual Discernment

    4. Topics in Christian Spirituality