Religious Education (M.A.)

This degree is offered either online or on campus, depending on the chosen concentration. Please consult the Concentrations tab for details.


The Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in religious education degree provides a deepened understanding of core theological disciplines and opportunities to explore the various arts of pastoral ministry. The degree is designed for those already serving in ministry and those preparing to seek employment in ministerial settings. Those seeking personal enrichment through the study of religious education are also welcomed to study within the Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in religious education program.

 
 

The Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in religious education is 36 credits and requires the selection of one of the following concentrations

  • Adult, Family, and Community 

  • Generalist 

  • Youth and Young Adult 

All concentrations can be completed on campus or a combination of on campus and online. In addition, the Youth and Young Adult concentration can also be completed exclusively online. All concentrations require the completion of a final project.

Course Requirements (All Concentrations)

The course requirements as laid out below are for on-campus or hybrid students. Modifications for online students are noted in footnote 1.

Course Title Credits
Religious Education Courses 1
REGR 6102Foundations of Religious Education3
REGR 6140Curriculum and Religious Education3
REGR 6120Education for Peace and Justice3
Two Religious Education Electives 26
Religious Studies Requirements
RLGR 6010Old Testament3
RLGR 6011New Testament3
Two Religious Studies Electives 3,16
Concentration Courses 49
Total Credits36

Religious Education Electives

Students may not double count a concentration course as a REED elective.

Course Title Credits
PCGR 6310Human Growth and Development3
REGR 6125Moral Education/Develop 13
REGR 6130Theological Issues: Religious Education and Ministry3
REGR 6143Imagination: Ministry and Religious Education3
REGR 6170Spirituality and Arts3
REGR 6180Rel & Educ Dev of Child3
REGR 6182Community, Family & Rel Ed3
REGR 6202Youth & Young Adult Ministry3
REGR 6220Ministry & Leadership3
REGR 6580Adult Learning & Development3
REGR 7230Spec Issues in Religious Ed3

Concentration-Specific Requirements

Adult, Family, and Community Concentration Requirements

In addition to the general M.A. course, the following are required:

Course Title Credits
REGR 6182Community, Family & Rel Ed3
REGR 6188Religious Education and Human Development3
REGR 6580Adult Learning & Development3
Total Credits9

Youth and Young Adult Ministry Concentration Requirements

In addition to the general M.A. course, the following are required:

Course Title Credits
REGR 6188Religious Education and Human Development3
REGR 6202Youth & Young Adult Ministry3
REGR 6204Special Questions: Youth and Young Adult Ministry3
Total Credits9

Generalist Concentration Requirements

In addition to the general M.A. course, students in the generalist concentration are required to take three courses from the following options:

Course Title Credits
REGR 6180Rel & Educ Dev of Child3
REGR 6182Community, Family & Rel Ed3
REGR 6188Religious Education and Human Development3
REGR 6202Youth & Young Adult Ministry3
REGR 6220Ministry & Leadership3
REGR 6580Adult Learning & Development3
REGR 7230Spec Issues in Religious Ed3
PCGR 6310Human Growth and Development3

Final Project 

In addition to the requirements above, all religious education students are required to complete a final project. To complete the final project, all students in the M.A. program are given the following options: 

  • complete a 25- to 45-page pastoral project with either an in-ministry or a for-ministry focus, or

  • complete a 25- to 45-page integration paper, or

  • complete a 60-page major research paper. Students are to choose this option in consultation with a final project adviser of their choosing.

Task: Choose a significant theological/ministerial issue affecting the pastoral life of the church today. Drawing upon your own ministry and experience, and informed by theological and, when appropriate, interdisciplinary scholarship, write a final project that addresses this issue.

Pastoral Project Option

a. In-Ministry Focus

The in-ministry focus Pastoral Project provides an opportunity to demonstrate a practical sense of how to create and implement a pastoral program for your current ministry. Your project may take the following form:

  • A written discussion of the purpose of the project, including a description of the pastoral need that will be addressed by your project and what you hope to accomplish

  • A description of the pastoral project (this should be the longest section of your project)

  • A brief reflection on the educational or ministerial dynamics of your project

  • Implementation of the project in your ministry

  • An evaluation of how your project has been applied in your current ministry

b. For-Ministry Focus

The for-ministry focus is different from the in-ministry focus because it does not require you to implement the project in your current ministry. It may, however, take the form of a 25 to 45 page for-ministry pastoral project with the following parts:

  • A written discussion of the purpose of the project, including a description of the pastoral need that will be addressed by your project and what you hope to accomplish

  • A description of the pastoral project (this should be the longest section of your project)

  • A brief reflection on the educational or ministerial dynamics of your project

Integration Paper Option

The integration paper option provides an opportunity for you to explore related theological and ministerial issues and to reflect on these issues in the light of your own life and ministry. The integration paper is not exclusively focused on ministry. Rather, the first part of the integration paper is a scholarly theological reflection. The integration option is well-suited for students who 1) are not going on for Ph.D. studies and who are not and will not be involved in ecclesial ministry, and 2) want to do address a significant theological issue but want to do so from a ministerial perspective. It should take the form of a 25- to45-page personal ministerial-integration project with three parts:

  1. A 10- to 15-page theological reflection paper addressing a significant theological issue (for example, a student might address the issue of why full participation is the ultimate norm of the Church’s liturgy or how Karl Rahner’s understanding of personhood informs his theology of childhood)

  2. A 10- to 15-page ministerial reflection paper addressing some aspect of the religious educational or ministerial concerns raised by the theological issue explored in the theological reflection paper (for example, a person might write about the continuing relevance of liturgical catechesis or how Karl’s Rahner’s theology of childhood can inform and enliven the religious education of children today)

  3. A five- to 15-page personal ministerial integration paper in which you reflect on your own life and ministry or possible future ministry in light of what you have written in the first two papers

Major Research Paper Option 

The major research paper option provides an opportunity for those with demonstrated research and writing abilities to explore a theological issue and the religious educational or ministerial implications of this issue in depth. Your major paper may take the following form:

  1. Identify a significant theological issue

  2. Provide an account of why this is an important issue in the church today

  3. Discuss the issue drawing from biblical, theological, and, when appropriate, interdisciplinary resources

  4. Explore some of the religious educational or ministerial dimensions or implications of the issue 

  5. Make a contribution to the scholarship about this issue

Mentorship

Mentors of the M.A. final project are any of the full-time faculty in the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education that the student chooses. Ordinarily, there is one mentor for the final project, although either the student or the mentor may ask for a second mentor as the situation warrants. It is the role of the mentor, who need not be the director of one's concentration, to help the student develop a formal proposal for the final project, to approve that formal proposal, to offer suggestions, to give feedback on the writing as needed, and to approve the final copy. It is not the role of the mentor to correct for grammar, spelling, and the manual of style; these particulars are the responsibility of the student, with assistance provided by the Writing Center at the Rose Hill Campus. 

Proposal

The formal proposal, which must be approved by the mentor and the dean, contains the following elements: title page, brief explanation of what the research paper is about and why it is being undertaken, outline of the specific chapters or sections, and a representative sample of bibliography or references.

The formal proposal, four or five typed, double-spaced pages in length, including title page, is ideally submitted upon completion of 18 credits of coursework to allow time for students to refine research plans while they are in class on a regular basis.

Manual of Style

The major research paper, as well as all course papers, needs to be written according to The Chicago Manual of Style (University of Chicago Press). 

 

Generalist Concentration

The Religious Education M.A. (Generalist) is offered on campus.

Most religious educators and pastoral ministers are pastoral generalists. While they may have particular areas of responsibility (such as overseeing parish programs for the religious education of children and youth, or running a campus ministry service and social ministry program), they interact with people in a wide array of situations and are called upon to be pastoral caregivers, catechetical leaders, spiritual guides, prayer leaders, and to minister to people in a variety of other ways. The Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in religious education, generalist concentration, provides students with an opportunity to take a range of courses in religious education and pastoral ministry. Students develop a foundational understanding of educating in faith and the various ministries of the church.

Additional information about this concentration can be found in the Requirements tab.


Adult, Family, and Community Concentration

The Religious Education M.A. (Adult, Family, and Community) is offered on campus.

The Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in religious education with a concentration in adult, family, and community religious education strives to provide students with a broad and inclusive vision of religious education and a foundation for encouraging a religious-education consciousness, that is, an outlook and practice (a habitus) of lifelong and life-wide religious learning. The concentration meets the needs of those serving or preparing to serve as directors of religious education (DREs) or parish catechetical leaders, and others who work or who are preparing to work with children, parents, and teachers in school, parish, and home settings. It also serves students preparing for educational ministry with adults in parishes, dioceses, retreat houses, and spiritual-life centers.

Additional information about this concentration can be found in the Requirements tab.


Youth and Young Adult Ministry Concentration

The Religious Education M.A. (Youth and Young Adult Ministry) is offered online.

Beginning with the guidelines for the formation of lay ecclesial ministers outlined in Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, the Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in religious education, youth and young adult ministry program, addresses students' needs for human and personal formation, spiritual formation, intellectual formation, and pastoral formation. People turn to the studies in this area to prepare them to be (or to provide ongoing education in their work as) religion teachers in Catholic school and college campus ministers. The Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in religious education with a concentration in youth and young adult ministry focuses on understanding adolescent and young adult religious, spiritual, moral, and psychological development. Students choose from among courses in community, family, and religious education; curriculum and religious education; adult learning and development, and other areas of religious education and pastoral studies. Students are asked to direct their studies in either religious education or pastoral studies as they prepare for a career path as either religious education/catechesis with youth and young adults in parishes, schools, college and university campuses, and dioceses, or Jesuit volunteer corps members. 

Additional information about this concentration can be found in the Requirements tab.