MA in Theology

MA in Theology

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If you are ready to open your mind and heart to Jesus Christ, humanity’s one True Teacher, guided by a highly qualified faculty, we invite you to consider an M.A. in Theology from Ave Maria University. By studying the wisdom of Sacred Scripture, the Church Fathers, Thomas Aquinas and the Magisterial teachings of the Church in an authentically Catholic learning environment, you will be abundantly prepared for pastoral, diocesan or educational jobs, or to move on to doctoral studies.

Careers: Director of Religious Education, Diocesan Leader, Theology Teacher, Religious Life

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So That in all Things God May Be Glorified

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. 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.

light bulbFast Fact: All theology faculty have the ecclesiastical mandatum, meaning they are recognized by Church authority as being in full communion of the Catholic Church.


MA in Theology

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Skills you will gain with

A MA in Theology DEGREE

  1. A deeper knowledge of Catholic doctrine and practice. Dive into particular areas of Church teaching that interest you, and examine their scriptural and historical foundations. Engage your mind in the pursuit of wisdom through faith and reason.
  2. Research and critical thinking skills. Many of our theology courses have research papers that challenge you to dig deeper into specific theological topics and compare and evaluate the insights of different theologians.
  3. Practical ways of growing closer to God. Your ultimate goal in life is not your career (though that’s still important), but getting to heaven! By studying theology you’re learning more about God, the source of all love and joy!
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A look into the


Gerald Boersma, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Theology

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

Fr. Romanus Cessario, S.T.D.

Adam Cardinal Maida Professor of Theology

Father Romanus CessarioEducation: 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 DauphinaisEducation: B.S., Engineering, Duke University; M.T.S., Theology, Duke Divinity School; Ph.D., Systematic Theology, University of Notre Dame
Office: Henkels 3005
Phone: (239) 280-2538

Fr. Robert Garrity, S.T.D.

Associate Professor of Theology

Father Robert GarrityEducation: B.A., English Literature, Aurora University; M.A., Theology, Catholic University of America; S.T.L., Theology, Catholic University of America; 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
Curriculum Vitae: Download

Daniel Lendman, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Theology

Daniel LendmanEducation: 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

Dr longEducation: B.A., Philosophy, University of Toledo; M.A., Philosophy, University of Toledo; Ph.D., Philosophy, The Catholic University of America
Office: Henkels 3007
Phone: (239) 280-1664

Fr. Guy Mansini, S.T.D.

Max Seckler Chair of Theology

mansiniEducation: 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.L., S.T.D.

Provost, Professor of Theology

Roger NuttEducation: B.E.S., Literature & Philosophy, St. Cloud State University; M.A., Theology & Christian Ministry, Franciscan University of Steubenville; S.T.B., Sacred Theology, Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, S.T.L., Sacred Theology, Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas; S.T.D., Sacred Theology, Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas
Office: Henkels 3056
Phone: (239) 280-1603
Curriculum Vitae: Download

T. Adam Van Wart, Ph.D.


van wartEducation: B.S., Psychology, Texas Christian University; M.A., Counseling, Dallas Theological Seminary; Th.M., Systematic Theology Dallas Theological Seminary; M.T.S., Theology, Duke University; Ph.D., Religious Studies, Southern Methodist University
Office: Henkels 3008
Phone: (239) 304-7825
Curriculum Vitae: Download

Jeffrey Walkey, Ph.D.


Education: B.S., Management Purdue University; M.T.S. Theological Studies, Duke Divinity School; Ph.D. Religious Studies, Maquette University
Office: Henkels 3004
Phone: (239) 304-7363
Curriculum Vitae: Download

  • 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 documents (.pdf or docx) when submitting the application:

  • Professional and Academic Experience
  • Statement of intent (500-words): brief intellectual autobiography, academic/research interests and goals, and Christian-ecclesial commitment
  • 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 Megan Hare 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.

Dr. Gerald Boersma, Program Director: (239) 304-7910
Megan Hare, Administrative Assistant: (239) 280-1629


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

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