The doctoral program in religious education prepares highly specialized professionals for leadership in religious education. Multidisciplinary fields of study intersect in the doctoral curriculum. The program is intended to nurture sound scholarship by encouraging students to develop and demonstrate erudition, reflection and research skills in their academic work, examinations, dissertations and vocational experiences. Questions of faith and theology are examined with an eye toward enhancing the general quality of religious education. The interaction of teaching, learning and theology is at the core of the program. Doctoral students grapple with the central texts and questions of theological, philosophical, historical, psychological, sociological and religious thought.
Doctoral studies in this field help prepare professionals committed to public service through
the character development and the transmission of religious heritage. The program seeks to provide students with the knowledge and skills to work as religious education professionals in various settings: colleges and universities, schools, congregations, dioceses and public service organizations.
In keeping with Fordham University’s Jesuit mission, the program gives special, though not exclusive, attention to the Christian and Catholic religious tradition. A major concern, in keeping with the mission of Jesuit education, is to explore the social role that religious education can play in dealing with pivotal contemporary cultural movements, including ecology, feminism, multiculturalism, and peace and justice, as these areas intersect with theological issues, such as faith enculturation and spirituality.
Master of Arts in Religious Education
The Master of Arts degree provides a deepened understanding of core theological disciplines and opportunities to explore the various arts of pastoral ministry. The degree is designed for those serving the church or preparing for employment at parish, school and diocesan levels. Those seeking personal enrichment through the study of Christian faith are also welcome to apply. Students focus their studies on theological research and are required to complete a research paper.
In consultation with an academic adviser, students select theological courses in the core areas of biblical studies, systematic studies and liturgical/spiritual studies. Students also choose from a wide variety of pastorally oriented courses in religious education, spirituality and spiritual direction, pastoral care and counseling, family ministry, parish education and leadership, pastoral liturgy, youth ministry and social ministry. Students accepted into the M.A. degree program are required to complete a research paper that focuses on a particular pastoral issue or concern and integrates insights and theological methods of inquiry from throughout their program of study.