Resources for Current Students

Dear MA-Theology Students,

It is with great pleasure that we introduce a few changes to the MA Program, which will come into full effect for students beginning the Program in Summer 2017. The changes are listed below. If you have questions about how they affect your progress within the Program, do not hesitate to contact Katie.

1. The Program is now a 36-credit Program. This is in effect for all students! However, being able to reduce the Program to 36 credits also meant eliminating Advanced Standing. Credits waived through Advanced Standing can no longer be applied to the 36 credits needed for completion.

2. The Program is going to move to a set of Core course requirements. These courses will begin to be offered in Summer 2017, and then continue to be offered on-line during the Academic Year. If you have started the Program under the Distribution Requirement, you may complete the Program under this same requirement.

3. Beginning in Fall 2017, we will double our on-line courses. One Core course and one elective will be offered each semester of the Academic Year.

4. Summer 2017 is the LAST summer for Comprehensive Exams. We will also pilot the first Capstone Course in Summer 2017. This will replace the Exam beginning in Summer 2018. The Capstone course is a 3-credit course, and will count toward the 36 credits needed for graduation. It should be taken as your final course. It is only offered in the summers. And is offered as a “hybrid”: 5 weeks of online work, 1 week of a residential seminar on Notre Dame’s campus. This residential seminar will be the final week of summer session each summer.

5. In sum, beginning this summer, one’s progress through the MA Program will look like this: 15 credits through Core Courses, 18 credits in elective courses, 3 credits from the Capstone. We require at least 12 of these credits to be taken on campus (including the final 3-credits for the Capstone). Summer Session will remain as robust as ever, and so you are also welcome to take more than 12 credits on campus as your progress through coursework to your degree.

See the links below for find more information on policies regarding the M.A. – Theology program.


For academic advising, please contact Program Director, Katie Cavadini


All degree and non-degree graduate students must both register and complete the ND Roll Call process each semester during the dates and times announced by the University Registrar. Any admitted student who fails to register and complete the ND Roll Call process for one semester or more must seek re-instatement from the department and then from the Graduate School upon return. (See section 3.5 Continuous Registration in the Academic Code of the Graduate School.) 


Please remember that these will remain tentative until 3-weeks prior to the start of the semester. Still, they may help you in thinking about your coursework in the coming months.  The academic year on-line courses work like this: 2 course are offered in the Fall semester and 2 in the Spring semester. One core course and one elective each semester.  We have two other options during the school year: 1. A two week course in Tucson, Arizona during our winter break. 2. A two week course in Israel every other year in late May/early June (the next course is in 2018 with Prof. Gabriel Reynolds).

Adding/Dropping Courses:

If you need to drop a course mid-semester after the 6th day of class during the Academic Year or the 2nd day of class during Summer Session, please contact the Program Director for approval to do so, and the MA Administrative Assistant for paperwork assistance. There will be a tuition charge on your student account for a course that is dropped after the 6th day of class during the Academic Year or the 2nd day of class during Summer Session.

Incomplete Policy:

Students will only receive an Incomplete grade with the instructor’s approval. Once given, the Incomplete grade will average as an “F” into the students’ GPA until it is changed upon successful completion of course requirements. If those requirements are not successfully met within 30 days after the semester ends, the Incomplete grade will be changed permanently into an F.

Leave of Absence:

For MA students requiring a Leave of Absence, here is a summary of options as laid out by the Graduate School. For exceptional reasons and on the recommendation of the program, a student in good academic standing may request a leave of absence for a maximum of two consecutive semesters. A request for a leave of absence must be made before the semester in which the leave is taken, and all leaves of absence must be approved by the Graduate School. If, for some urgent reason, a student is allowed to leave the University after the beginning of the semester, the withdrawal procedure must be followed. If the student does not return at the end of the leave of absence period, he or she is no longer considered a student at Notre Dame and must apply for readmission if he or she wishes to complete the program. The Academic Code of the Graduate School can be found here.

Capstone Course:

The capstone course is the final requirement for the MA degree and is intended to give students the opportunity to show the extent to which they have attained the goals of the degree. A capstone course, then, is on the cumulative result of the students’ study over the course of the degree program.

Here are the goals of the MA Program:

1) Students will be able to demonstrate a basic knowledge of the discipline of Theology
2) Students will be able to demonstrate a basic knowledge of the continuity and development of the Catholic theological tradition.
3) Students will have a capacity for graduate level writing.
4) Students will have the capacity to articulate their knowledge of theology with clarity and fluency.
5) Students will demonstrate the ability to integrate their knowledge for various educational purposes.

The capstone course will require students to demonstrate the degree to which they have mastered these goals. We will do this in two stages: one that is on-line, and the second in residence here at Notre Dame.

As a whole the course will follow one important theme in theology: the theme of creation, for example, or mercy. The chosen theme will help students consider how the different sub-fields of theology (biblical studies, historical theology, liturgical studies, moral theology, systematic theology, spirituality studies) work together. In sum, students will be asked to show they have an integrated view of an important theme that draws on the whole of theology and also takes into account the development of the tradition (goals 1 & 2).

The student's ability to synthesize and present theological material will be shown through an essay written as part of the capstone (goal 3). Each essay will give a detailed perspective on the chosen theme, approximately ten pages in length. Students can frame their essays for a particular educational purpose: as an adult education presentation; classroom lecture, etc. (goal 5). Essays are presented during our time together on campus in a twenty to twenty-five minute oral presentation, followed by a ten to fifteen minute Q/A period (goal 4). 

Comprehensive Exams
The Comprehensive Exam has two components: a written exam and an oral exam. During the 4-hour written exam, students will be asked to write essay answers to three of the five questions appearing on their exam.  This portion is given on the Monday of exam week. These written answers will then be distributed to the board (made up of 3 examiners), and will form the basis of the forty-minute oral exam on Wednesday or Thursday of the same week. During this oral exam, questions not answered by the student on the written exam may be addressed. Evaluation of the student’s performance will be made on the basis of both the written and oral exams.
The exam board, to be chosen by the M.A. Director, will be made up of two faculty from the area of concentration, and one faculty from another area. Students pursuing the general M.A. degree may have an exam board chosen from three different areas. The student may confidentially choose the inclusion of one member of the board (subject to availability), and the exclusion of one faculty member. Each member of the exam board will submit three questions, framed in light of the five topics proposed by the student, to the area advisor, who will then “populate” the Exam itself with five of those questions.  You will receive these 5 questions on the day of your written exam, but you will only be asked to write answers to 3 of them, as above.

The written portion of the exam will be administered on Monday, July 24th, 8:15 am-12:15 pm. A computer classroom in DeBartolo will be reserved for this portion of the exam. Students can pick-up exam packets in 131 Malloy at 8 am. The oral portion of the exam will be administered on Tuesday, July 25th-Thursday, July 27th. Schedule TBD.   If you will take your exam this summer, please remember to register for Theo 68802. If you plan to attend these sessions, please email Prof. Katie Cavadini at with your intentions. Also note that you need to have your exam topic selections approved by Katie no later than June 19th.  View a list of exam topics here. This set of topics for the Comprehensive Exam was revised in January, 2016. Two new topics were added: on the Apologetics of Love, and on Ignatian Spirituality. 

Summer Session 2017

Mass And Picnic July

Fellowship Events

We invite all M.A. students (non-degree and degree-seeking alike!) to this summer's set of Friday MA Masses. These are celebrated in our 'Mary, Seat of Wisdom' chapel (in Malloy) at 6 pm on June 23rd, June 30th, July 14th, and July 21st. 

On Friday, June 23rd and Friday, July 14th please join us after Mass for a Welcome Picnic in South Quad by the Woman at the Well Statue outside O'Shaugnessy Hall. For those finishing their degree this summer, save the evening of July 27th for a celebratory Mass and reception.

Auditing a Course

Auditing a course is not permitted during the summer sessions. Those students who take courses in Tucson, AZ or Israel at the Tantur Institute and would like to audit those courses must receive specific permission from the course instructor and will be subject to paying the full tuition amount rather than the reduced summer rates. The University does not allow for exceptions to this situation.  

Tuition and Fees

The tuition for Summer 2017 will be $705/credit hour, which is the reduced summer rate this year. The regular graduate tuition cost per credit hour is $2826 as shown here, A listing of fees including meal plans and housing can be found here, on the Summer Session webpage.

Courses and Syllabi

Summer Courses and Syllabi 

Student Life

ND Mobile Link provides essential information and services on your mobile device, with an interface optimized for on-the-go access.

Notre Dame Health Services where you will also find information on student health insurance.

The Notre Dame Graduate Student Union provides information on campus events and graduate student life at Notre Dame.