Program of Study

Academic Formation

Notre Dame has one of the largest faculties of Catholic theology in the world, and it was ranked in the top five graduate programs in Religion by the National Research Council’s Assessment of Research Doctoral Programs in 2009.

Master of Divinity students benefit from studying with this faculty alongside a diverse body of graduate students in the Department’s other graduate programs.

Human and Spiritual Formation

Notre Dame offers the most comprehensive human and spiritual formation for lay ecclesial ministry in the country.

Based on the elements and goals for formation found in Co-workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, we understand formation as conforming ourselves ever more closely to God.

Structurally, lay human and spiritual formation centers around:

  • Weekly community formation nights
  • individual personal formation plans
  • regular one-on-one formation meetings with the Director of Human and Spiritual Formation
  • spiritual direction
  • programmatic retreats
  • days of reflection during the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent
  • peer review
  • fine arts and media-based formation options

All formation in the program happens in the context of community. Learning to form intentional community implicitly and explicitly capacitates us for relationship. Right relationship is essential not only to personal growth in holiness but also to ministry in, with, and for the Church.

Field Education

Field education serves as an integral complement to the theological and pastoral education of ministry students, as well as to their spiritual and human formation and vocational preparation.

Field education provides those preparing for ministry multiple and varied opportunities for acquiring ministerial skills within supervised and mentored contexts, for integrating their ministerial experiences through seminar-based theological reflection, and ultimately for developing their ministerial identities.

Categories of Ministry Placements (with multiple and varied sites within each category) include the following:

  • Catechetical Ministries (Parish, Diocesan, University)
  • Catholic Press and Media Ministries
  • College Campus Ministries
  • College Theology Teaching
  • High School Campus Ministry
  • High School Theology Teaching
  • Hispanic and Multicultural Ministries (Parish, Diocesan, University)
  • Hospice Chaplaincy
  • Hospital Chaplaincy
  • Liturgical and Music Ministries (Parish or University)
  • Pilgrimage and Immersion Initiatives
  • Residence Hall Ministry
  • Social Justice/Social Service/Social Advocacy Ministries