Theology Programs

Master of Divinity Detailed Program Description

Students currently enrolled in the Master of Divinity program must consult the DSPT Student Handbook pdf for program details.


The Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree is a three-year program which requires 72 semester units of coursework as outlined below. In order to fulfill the requirements of the Ratio Studiorum, students of the Western Dominican Province must take an additional 18 units of coursework (Complementary Curriculum). Those students who are from other religious communities or dioceses must follow the specific directives of their community superior or bishop. Qualified students may wish to apply this additional year of coursework towards a concurrent MDiv/MA (Theology) degree. In addition to the required coursework, students must also complete all of the assessment portfolio requirements as described in the DSPT Student Handbook pdf. The maximum time permitted for the completion of the MDiv program is eight years, computed from the date of initial registration. Students are required to maintain a 2.3 grade point average.

Preparatory Coursework. The MDiv program presupposes a basic foundation in philosophy such as that provided in the DSPT philosophy program. Consequently, it is highly recommended that all applicants to the MDiv program complete 18 semester units of philosophy as indicated in the Program Requirements Checklist pdf. Applicants to the MDiv program who lack this philosophy background may complete the work by first enrolling as a Special Student and indicating such in the MDiv application.

Coursework. All MDiv students must take at least one-third of the total required coursework from DSPT, and are encouraged to take one-third from outside DSPT. The following list provides an overview of the course requirements. Details can be found in the M.Div. Program Requirements Checklist pdf. Unless otherwise noted, all MDiv courses are offered annually. Some courses cycle on a regular basis. Students should consult the Three Year Course Schedule for Theology pdf for the most recent schedule of cycled courses. Students may fulfill these course requirements through similar course offerings at other GTU schools, if available. However, students should consult first with their Faculty advisor to determine that these alternative courses meet DSPT program requirements.

Introduction to Theology and Ministry (12 units)

  • BSSP 1066, Basics: Biblical Studies and Biblical Spirituality pdf – Students must take two of these modules or the equivalent before taking required OT courses.
  • NT 1003, Introduction to New Testament (or equivalent) (3) - Students must take this course before taking required NT courses.
  • Pastoral Counseling (3)
  • Introduction to Field Ministry (3)

History of the Church - 6 units

  • History of Christianity I (3)
  • History of Christianity II (3)

Sacred Scripture - 12 units (6 units in each OT & NT)

  • Pentateuch (3)
  • Prophets (3), Wisdom (3), or other thematic course offering
  • Any two of the three NT offerings in Synoptic Gospels (3), Johannine Corpus (3), or Pauline Corpus (3)

Systematic Theology - 27 units

Dogmatic Theology

  • Theology: Nature and Method (3)
  • Historical Development of Christology (3)
  • Trinity (A) (3)
  • Theology of Sacraments (B) (3)
  • Ecclesiology (B) (3)
  • Theological Anthropology (A) (3)

Moral Theology

  • Fundamental Moral Theology (3)
  • Roman Catholic Sexual Ethics (B) (3)
  • Roman Catholic Social Teaching (B) (3)

Pastoral Theology - 15 units

  • Preaching (3)
  • Liturgy (3)
  • Canon Law/ Marriage (3)
  • Confessional Ministry (A) (1.5)
  • Celebration of the Sacraments (A) (1.5)
  • FE 2150, Pastoral Ministry Internship (3)
Pastoral Formation. Ministry and public leadership are essential to the role of the Catholic priest. While many courses provide opportunities to integrate theological principles with practical apostolates or ministry situations, the pastoral theology courses focus closely on this integration. More specifically, the Field Education program helps students build these fundamental skills in three ways: 1) direct ministry experience, with 2) regular onsite supervision, that together promote 3) regular theological reflection.

The Field Education curriculum organizes this three-fold work according to the following norms: approximately 40 hours total of work from these three areas is equivalent to 1 credit unit. Students normally engage in 4-6 hours of ministry per week, plus regular onsite supervision. In the first year, students also participate in regular class sessions which introduce basic skills for theological reflection and provide peer opportunity to practice those skills. The second year of Field Education is fulfilled through a year-long pastoral ministry internship (FE 2150). 

The Director of Field Education advises students in their field education work and supervises this aspect of the student's program, including the integration of apostolic work, on-site supervision, and theological reflection seminars. Through seminars and dialogue with on-site Supervisors, the Field Education Director enables supervisors to better assist students under their direction.

A ministry learning contract for supervised ministry which is done during the program along with a written summary report from the onsite supervisor on the student's performance is submitted to the student's advisor by the Field Ed instructor.

Students should follow the guidelines for FE 2150 as described in the GTU Course Schedule. The Academic Dean will determine the final criteria which must be fulfilled to receive academic credit for the year-long supervised ministry.

MDiv Complementary Curriculum allows clerical students to complete the four years of theological study canonically required for ordination in the Roman Catholic Church as outlined in the Program of Priestly Formation (PPF) pdf and the formation documents of the Western Dominican Province. Students take an additional 18 units of course­work as follows: 3 units in Sacred Scripture, 12 units in systematic theology, and a 3 unit preaching course.
MDiv students may also enroll concurrently in a MA (Theology) degree program, completing both degrees in a minimum of four years. For details, see the program description under Concurrent M.Div./MA (Theology). Alternatively, they may enroll in a concurrent MDiv/STL program in collaboration with the Jesuit School of Theology. Interested student should consult with the Academic Dean.