Concurrent MA in Philosophy & Theology
Following the intellectual synthesis of St. Thomas Aquinas, DSPT offers a highly distinctive study option: the Concurrent Master of Arts. This three-year program results in two complete MA degrees upon graduation. Enrollment in this option provides comprehensive training in both philosophy and theology, offering students an opportunity for in-depth research that incorporates both fields.
Concurrent MA students receive a grounding in historical and systematic philosophy, Scripture, historical theology, systematic theology and moral theology. The capstone for this program is a 120-page thesis. As our most rigorous and rewarding study option, admission to the Concurrent MA is offered to the most qualified applicants.
DSPT is committed to creating a learning environment that engenders conversations between philosophy and theology. While philosophical thinking frequently anticipates the work of theology and derives a number of its questions from theological sources, theology, for its part, typically draws many of its concepts and methods from philosophy. Both fields deal with matters of fundamental and universal interest, including the source, end, and meaning of all existence.
DSPT’s courses recognize this interrelationship and interpenetration between philosophy and theology, without confusing the distinctiveness of each. Thus, the entire atmosphere at DSPT is suffused, as it were, with this cross-disciplinary approach.
Over and above this context, there is the opportunity for students who are uniquely qualified to engage in a more rigorous and intentional interdisciplinary study. The concurrent MA option allows students to select a thesis topic that particularly lends itself to integration of philosophy and theology. A student matriculated in a DSPT (or GTU) MA program may wish to apply for the concurrent MA option for any of the following reasons:
to explore a complex topic with roots in both philosophy and theology with a view towards applying for a focused doctoral program in either, or in a third, related field;
to broaden professional skills for employment as a teacher at the secondary level by gaining expertise in two complementary academic fields.
The concurrent MA option allows students to complete two degrees in a three-year period, with an extensive thesis (see below). Both degrees are conferred in their integrity after a three-year plan of studies comprising a total of 63-semester units: 54 units of coursework, plus 6 units for the Academic Forum and 3 units of “In Thesis” work.
In no case can the two degrees be completed in less than 6 semesters. The maximum time permitted for the completion of the program is six years computed from the date of initial registration.
All students are required to maintain a 3.0 GPA. A grade of “B” (3.0) or better is necessary in all courses used to
satisfy core requirements in the program.
The concurrent MAPh/MATh option requires a total of 18 courses: 8 in philosophy and 10 in theology. In addition to those courses, students must also complete the Academic Forum (6 units) and In Thesis (3 units). The following distribution requirements for both programs must be observed:
- Academic Forum Intro 1 & 2 – 3 units
- Systematic Philosophy – 12 units (at least four of the following):
- Philosophy of Nature
- Philosophical Anthropology
- Theory of Knowledge
- Philosophical Ethics
- History of Philosophy – 6 units (at least two of the following):
- History of Ancient
- History of Medieval
- History of Modern
- History of Contemporary
- Scripture – 3 units
- Intro to Sacred Scripture, or courses coded OT, NT, or BS
- History of the Church – 6 units
- Church History I, or course coded HS
- Church History II, or course coded HS
- Systematic Theology – 3 units
- Theology Nature and Method, or courses coded ST
- Moral Theology – 3 units
- Fundamental Moral Theology, or courses coded CE
- Interreligious or Non-Christian Religion – 3 units
- Electives – 18 units
- Academic Forum Capstone 1 & 2 – 3 units
- In Thesis – 3 units
At least one-third of the total coursework must be taken at DSPT, and students are encouraged to take up to one-third of the coursework from outside DSPT. At least one-half of the coursework must be from offerings above the introductory (1000) level. At least two courses must be at the advanced (4000) level or above.
Areas of Concentration
Students must take four courses in a chosen area of concentration in theology, which may be any combination of both required and elective courses from that area. Students should consult carefully with their academic advisor to ensure that they understand and can meet these concentration requirements. Some areas of concentration further specify what courses must be taken.
Foreign Language Certification
Students in the Concurrent MA Program must demonstrate reading proficiency and comprehension skills in a foreign language.
Academic Forum Capstone
In the Academic Forum Capstone, required for the MAPh/MATh program, students participate in discussions that help them develop their thesis, sharing their research and preliminary conclusions for feedback, culminating in a final presentation.
Thesis and Oral Defense
Promotion to the degrees of Master of Arts (Philosophy) and Master of Arts (Theology) [or GTU MA] requires the successful completion of a written thesis of about one hundred and twenty pages (approx. 30,000 words) in length and an oral defense of the thesis. By successfully arguing for their conclusion (“thesis”) in a clear and convincing manner, supported by appropriate primary and secondary source materials, including any relevant current discussions, they demonstrate a capacity for scholarly philosophical and theological research.