FAQs

Q. Do I have to be Roman Catholic, or come from a Roman Catholic school, to be admitted?

A. No. Our students come from a diversity of denominational backgrounds, including Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, and other traditions. The faculty and student body are predominantly Roman Catholic, as is the thrust of the curricular offerings, yet from that standpoint the program is intentionally ecumenical in nature, and encourages all students interested in the study of theology to apply.

Q. Is the MA in Theology Degree good preparation for the PhD program or to teach theology at the graduate level?

A. No.  It does not normally prepare one for or lead to a PhD; the MTS does.  We run this program primarily in the summers with an additional allowance for on-line credits during the school year. 

Q. Who makes the admissions decisions for the MA Program?

A. The area coordinators in consultation with the degree director make the admissions decisions.

Q. Is the admissions process competitive?

A. The M.A. degree program does not have tuition scholarships for which students compete. Thus, the number of students admitted to the degree program is not restricted to the availability of scholarship funds. The M.A. admission process is construed in such a manner as to determine which applicants are likely capable of doing the work. The GRE scores, for example, are good indicators of the likely success of a student to complete successfully the comprehensive exam.

Q. What are the requirements to begin the MA in Theology program?

A. 6 credits of pre-requisites in Theology are required before becoming degree-seeking. Students applying to start the Summer session will apply in the Spring here, https://app.applyyourself.com/AYApplicantLogin/fl_ApplicantLogin.asp?id=nd-grad​ (applications are due April 15). We strongly encourage degree-seeking students to begin in the summer.

Q: How many credits will transfer in from another Theology degree?

A: 9 credits can transfer from a completed degree, 5 years old or less.  6 credits can be transferred from an incomplete degree, 5 years old or less.

Q:  Can I start in the Fall or in the Spring?

A:  The bulk of all required MA courses are taken on campus in the Summer, however, starting in the Fall or Spring is best suited for students who intend to remain non-degree seeking or who need to acquire the 6 credits of pre-requisites in Theology to transfer into the degree-seeking program.  Non-degree seeking students should visit this website for steps to admission here, https://summersession.nd.edu/admitted-student-checklist .

Q. How does the faculty and committee weigh the various aspects of my application, i.e., GRE scores, GPA and transcripts, letters of recommendation, and personal statement?

A. The core of the application is the profile created by the statement of intent, the letters of recommendation, and the GRE scores. Assuming the GRE and GPA meet our minimum standards, these are the most important parts of the application, and are decisive in terms of our admissions decisions. You should therefore draft your statement and choose your recommenders with care, so that we have the most clear and vivid sense of what kind of student you would be in our program. You may have up to four letters of recommendation.  The letters should speak to your ability to work in theology at the masters’ level.

Q: How many years are GRE scores good for?

A: 5 years

Q. What are you looking for in the Statement of Intent?

A. Your statement of intent should be no more than two double-spaced typewritten pages, in normal font (Times New Roman 12).   In it, you should give us a clear and vivid understanding of how you came to be interested in the study of theology, why you want to pursue it at the graduate level, why you are interested in the area of study to which you are applying (i.e., Biblical Studies), and why you want to pursue the M.A. (Theology) degree at Notre Dame (in contrast to any other school).   A successful statement of intent will make the case that you clearly fit in the M.A. program at Notre Dame, and that you will both benefit from study here, and will make a positive contribution to the program.

Q. Is it necessary to have a major in theology or religion to be a serious applicant to the M.A. Program?

A. One of the advantages of the M.A. Program is that it allows us to admit students who have little prior experience in theology Applicants must have at least 6 credits in theology or religious studies before applying to the degree program. Indeed, we have had very successful students who come to us with math or science backgrounds or who are working in those fields, as well as students who come with backgrounds in theology and/or philosophy.  We have found that the diversity of backgrounds in the student body leads to a greater amount of peer learning.

Q. Once I receive my letter of acceptance from the Graduate School, what do I need to do?

A. The Graduate School requires that you write a letter to them indicating that you either accept or reject the offer of acceptance.

Q. I am an international student, not a citizen of the United States. Is there anything I need to do if I am accepted to the M.A. Program?

A. International students need to apply for a visa to come to this country to study. This office advises all international students on matters related to maintaining immigration status and offers other services such as issuance of I-20/DS-2019, and assistance in applying for employment authorization and change of status. http://issa.nd.edu/.

Q: When can I begin applying as a non-degree student?

A: To apply for the summer session you will apply at http://summersession.nd.edu/apply/summer-session-application/ . You can begin applying in March. You will apply as a non-degree seeking graduate student.  If you want to apply for either the Fall or Spring online class you will apply as a departmental non-degree student at https://app.applyyourself.com/AYApplicantLogin/fl_ApplicantLogin.asp?id=nd-grad.

Q: How do I receive Advanced Standing credit coming into the program?

A: Please contact the Program Director.

Q: How long will be an application be held in the system, and what happens to scores, recommendation letters, etc?

A: Scores less than five years old are accessible through banner. If the applicant accepted the offer we should still have access to hard copies of files. Files are archived every year.  Applications that were submitted before 2010 are no longer in the system.

Q. Although I am interested in the possibility of doctoral work in the future, I am not sure I want to go on for a Ph.D. right away after the M.A. Should I still apply to the program?

A. If you are thinking about pursuing a Ph.D. after the M.A. degree, we strongly encourage you to consider pursuing the M.T.S. degree which is structured to provide the best preparation for those who wish to pursue a Ph.D. degree.

Q. I would like information regarding on-campus graduate student housing. Whom should I contact?

A. All inquiries should be directed to the Housing Office, as our program does not handle housing. Please call the Office of Residence Life & Housing at (574) 631-5878 for more information

Q: What is the best time to arrive for the summer session?

A: You can move into the dorms on Sunday, the day before the session begins.

Q. Will a master's thesis be required?

A. The M.A. does not have a thesis requirement, as that usually necessitates a reduction in course load.