Master of Arts (M.A.) in Theology

The M.A. in Theology at Ave Maria University challenges students to open their minds and heart to Jesus Christ, humanity’s one True Teacher. Guided by a highly qualified faculty, M.A. students at Ave Maria University will study the wisdom of Sacred Scripture, the Church Fathers, Thomas Aquinas, and the Magisterial teachings of the Church.

Graduates of the M.A. Program are well prepared either to begin doctoral studies or procure employment in pastoral, diocesan, and educational institutions.

Sedes Sapientiae, ora pro nobis!

Thank you for visiting Ave Maria University website in order to learn more about our M.A. in theology. AMU is committed to the renewal and deepening of genuinely Catholic spiritual, intellectual, and cultural life. To enter our graduate theological programs is to embark on an exacting and exciting venture to deepen both one’s contemplative union with the Triune God and one’s understanding of the great truths of the Catholic faith.

To study theology challenges us to open our minds and hearts to Jesus Christ, the one Teacher who illumines everything by his very being as the Word of the Father in the Holy Spirit. To study Catholic theology is to realize that the Word Incarnate and the Holy Spirit inspired Sacred Scripture and continue to guide the Magisterium of the Church, whose Tradition directs us as we reach up to the great minds and hearts of the many saints and scholars who over the millennia have contributed to the quest for genuine holiness, wisdom, science, scholarship, and art.

If you decide to join our graduate program, it is their lives and writings that you will study. Fidelity to Catholic truth demands more—not less—commitment to deepening and broadening one’s intelligence to appreciate the unity of theological and philosophical wisdom, too often forgotten in the many specializations and fragmentations of contemporary academic culture. Our program emphasizes a contemplative pattern of study that initiates students into the great tradition of speculative wisdom, with its unifying theoretical vision of the whole of God’s creative and redemptive presence.

Dr. Dauphinais

  • Faithful and intellectually challenging 48-credit M.A. program in Theology, which is normally completed in two academic years.
  • Accomplished faculty with prestigious records of publication.
  • Each member of the faculty possesses the ecclesiastical mandatum.
  • Small class sizes, affordable tuition, and competitive merit-based scholarships.
  • Excellent placement rates in doctoral programs, diocesan employment, and educational institutions.
  • World class theological and philosophical library.
  • Dynamic campus life with spiritual and service opportunities and vibrant community among graduate students.
  • Easy on-line application.
  • Ave Maria University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Ave Maria University.

Year One
Fall Semester
THEO 501 Old Testament
THEO 523 Triune God
THEO 552 Fundamental Moral Theology*

Spring Semester
THEO 502 New Testament
THEO 525 Christ and His Church
THEO 527 Sacraments*

Year Two
Fall Semester
THEO 553 Systematic Theology & Eschatology
Graduate Theology Elective
Graduate Theology Elective

Spring Semester
THEO 599 M.A. Thesis
Graduate Theology Elective
Graduate Theology Elective

*With the approval of the program director, THEO 552 and/or THEO 527 can be deferred to Year Two and replaced with electives. Students who enter the program with little or no Latin should take THEO 509 Theological Latin I and 510 Theological Latin II as electives during Year One.

Ave Maria University offers a 4+1, B.A., M.A. program for undergraduate majors in theology.

Interested students should receive permission to enter the five-year (4+1) program from the director of the undergraduate program in theology during their junior year and begin planning their coursework with their advisor at that time. Students in the B.A., M.A. five-year program will begin taking graduate-level courses during their junior and senior year. Students are encouraged to complete a minor in Philosophy or Classics by the end of the fourth year, but are still eligible for the five-year program without the minor.

A formal application to the Master’s program is to be completed in the fall of the senior year. Students do not become degree- seeking M.A. students until they have been accepted into the M.A. program and have completed their B.A. degree.

The successful completion of the B.A. component of the five-year program includes: the completion of 128 credits of coursework satisfying all Ave Maria University core requirements and course requirements specific to the five-year program by the end of the fourth year of study (with a 16-credit cap on graduate level credits taken before the successful completion of the B.A.). The successful completion of the M.A. component of the five-year program includes: the successful completion of 32 additional credit hours while enrolled at the graduate-level and of requirements specified by the five-year plan (48 total graduate-level credit hours during the 5 years). As a result, students in the five-year program will earn both a B.A. and an M.A. in Theology (classes in bold).

For priority consideration for scholarships and for housing, applications should be received by February 1.  Later applications, however, will still be accepted.

Applicants to the M.A. Program must possess a bachelor’s degree and must submit the following:

• Official GRE Score Report from ETS (optional)
• Seal-bearing transcripts (from all institutions attended)
• Completed application (online)

International applicants must also submit official TOEFL score results.

Upload  the following three documents (.pdf or docx) when submitting the application:

  1. 1. Professional and Academic Experience
  2. 2. Statement of intent (500-words): brief intellectual autobiography, academic/research interests and goals, and Christian-ecclesial commitment
  3. 3. Writing sample of a theological and/or philosophical character of at least five to eight pages.

• Two letters of recommendation

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning on December 1.  In order to receive priority consideration for scholarships and housing, applications should be received by February 1.  Later applications, however, will continue to be reviewed.

A limited number of merit-based scholarships will be offered to outstanding applicants.

A $150 enrollment fee (non-refundable) is required after acceptance into the program.

Fees paid by personal check should be made payable to  “Ave Maria University” and mailed to the Graduate Enrollment Office.

Questions regarding the Graduate Theology Program should be directed to or by calling Grace De Salvo  at 239-280-1629

GRE Score Reports, Official Transcripts, Letters of Recommendation need to be sent directly from the testing service, educational institution, and individual reference to:

Graduate Enrollment Office
Ave Maria University
5050 Ave Maria Blvd.
Ave Maria, FL 34142

The requirements listed below are typically completed during a two-year residency. All required courses and most electives are 4 credit hours each.

• 48 credit hours of graduate theology courses, maintaining a GPA of 2.7 or higher
• Eight required courses (32 credits): THEO 501, 502, 523, 525, 527, 533, 552 and 599
• Four electives (16 credits), subject to approval of the program director (500-level courses in Theological Latin, Theological Greek, or Theological Hebrew may be taken as electives)
• Latin reading proficiency, demonstrated by the proficiency exam or approved AMU courses (with a grade of B- or higher)
• M.A. Thesis (THEO 599), including oral presentation, on an approved topic

Students normally enter the program with some undergraduate coursework in theology and philosophy. Those judged to have significant lacunae in their prior academic formation will be directed to take courses that complement the M.A. curriculum. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the sacramental and spiritual life of the university as an integral element in their theological formation.

Continuance in the program is subject to faculty review each semester. Students must be in good academic standing (GPA of 2.7 or higher) to maintain any scholarship or financial aid.

Gerald Boersma, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Theology
Education: Ph.D., Theology and Religion, University of Durham; M.A., Theology, Ave Maria University; B.A., Religious Studies, Trinity Western University
Office: Henkels Academic Building 3003
Phone: (239) 304-7910
Curriculum Vitae: Download

Fr. Romanus Cessario, S.T.D.

Adam Cardinal Maida Professor of Theology
Education: B.A., St. Stephen’s College; M.A., St. Stephen’s College; S.T.L., Dominican House of Studies; S.T.B., Dominican House of Studies; S.T.D., University de Fribourg; S.T.M., The Order of Preachers, Santa Sabina, Rome
Office: Henkels 3026
Phone: (239) 304-7935

Michael Dauphinais, Ph.D.

Fr. Matthew L. Lamb Professor of Catholic Theology & Chair of the Theology Department
Education: B.S.E., Duke University; M.T.S. Duke Divinity School; Ph.D., University of Notre Dame
Office: Henkels 3005
Phone: (239) 280-2538
Fax: (239) 280-1637
Curriculum Vitae: Download

Fr. Robert Garrity

Assistant Professor of Theology
Education: B.A., English Literature, Aurora University, Illinois. M.A., S.T.L., Theology, The Catholic University of America220 / Directories. J.C.L., Canon Law, The Catholic University of America S.T.D., Theology, The Catholic University of America
Office: Henkels 2068
Phone: (239) 280-2424
Fax: (239) 280-1637
Curriculum Vitae: Download

Daniel Lendman, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Theology
Education: B.A., Liberal Arts, Thomas Aquinas College; M.A., Philosophy, Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology; S.T.M., Theology, International Theological Insitute; S.T.L., Systematic Theology, International Theological Insitute; Ph.D., Systematic Theology, Ave Maria University
Office: Henkels 3029
Phone: (239) 304-7934

Steven Long, Ph.D.

Professor of Theology
Education: B.A., M.A., University of Toledo; Ph.D., Catholic University of America
Office: Henkels 3007
Phone: (239) 280-1664
Fax: (239) 280-1637

Fr. Guy Mansini, S.T.D.

Max Seckler Chair of Theology
Education: B.A., Philosophy, Saint Meinrad College; M. Div., Theology, Saint Meinrad School of Theology; M.A., Religious Studies, Indiana University; M.A., Philosophy, Marquette University; S.T.D., Pontifical Gregorian University
Office: Henkels 3009
Phone: (239) 280-2594

Roger Nutt, S.T.D

Provost, Associate Professor of Theology
Education: B.E.S., Literature and Philosophy, St. Cloud State University.M.A., Theology and Christian Ministry, Franciscan University of Steubenville. S.T.B., S.T.L., S.T.D., Sacred Theology, The Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome
Office: Henkels 3056
Phone: (239) 280-1603
Fax: (239) 280-1637
Curriculum Vitae: Download

T. Adam Van Wart, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Theology
Education: Ph.D., Religious Studies, Southern Methodist University, M.T.S., Theology, Duke University, Th.M., Systematic Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary, M.A., Counseling, Dallas Theological Seminary, B.S. Psychology, Texas Christian University
Office: Henkel’s Academic Building 3008
Phone: (239) 304-7825
Curriculum Vitae: Download

Jeffery M. Walkey, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Theology
Education: Ph.D., Religious Studies Marquette University; M.T.S., Theological Studies, Duke Divinity School; B.S., Management, Purdue University
Office: Henkel’s Academic Building 3004
Phone: (239) 304-7363
Curriculum Vitae: Download

Dr. Gerald Boersma, Program Director: (239) 304-7910
Grace De Salvo, Administrative Assistant: (239) 280-1629


Graduate Enrollment Office
Ave Maria University
5050 Ave Maria Blvd.
Ave Maria, FL 34142