The M.A. is the first academic degree in theology on the graduate level. As such, its primary purpose is to introduce students to the study of theology as an academic discipline. It seeks to provide a basic exposure to the different branches of the theological enterprise, while permitting more specialized concentration in an area of particular interest.
The Fordham M.A. specifies a core of six courses to be taken by every student. This core comprises two courses each from the biblical, historical, and systematic sections of the department, as follows:
THEO 5820 Introduction to the Old Testament
THEO 5890 Introduction to the New Testament
THEO 5300 History of Christianity I
THEO 5301 History of Christianity II
THEO 5620 Introduction to Systematic Theology
THEO 6700 Introduction to Theological Ethics
The remainder of the M.A. program is devoted to intensive work in one of the three sections of the department. This aspect of the program allows students to concentrate in an area of personal interest. Students plan the specifics of this part of the program in consultation with their section coordinators. In all, the M.A. program consists of ten courses for students concentrating in the historical or systematic areas and twelve courses for students concentrating in the biblical area.
Proficiency in either French or German is also required for the M.A. degree. The ability to read theology in a foreign language is important for two reasons: it makes the student a member of a community of theologians that is broader than English-speaking North Americans, and it enriches the theological imagination by offering access to different ways of speaking and hence of thinking.
In addition to the traditional route to the M.A., Fordham offers an accelerated M.A. program that allows Theology majors presently enrolled in Fordham College at Rose Hill and Fordham College at Lincoln Center an opportunity to attain both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Theology in five years. Graduate courses begin in the student’s senior year, providing her or him with advanced training and enriching the undergraduate experience. An additional year of study permits the student to complete all of the Theology Department’s requirements for the degree of Master of Arts. Additional information on the accelerated M.A. program is accessible here
Core Course Examinations
Every student is required to take a subject examination immediately at the end of each core course to fulfill the requirements of the M.A. degree, which is the same as the course’s final exam. These exams will be comprehensive in scope in the sense that they will cover the material studied over the duration of the semester. The faculty member who teaches the core course will prepare an exam that offers the student a choice of essay questions. Students will have two and a half hours to complete the exam.
Each M.A. student will select a paper written for one of their courses and will revise the paper to develop interdisciplinary dimensions of this work in light of conversations conducted with faculty members in two disciplines other than the one in which the paper was originally prepared (biblical, historical, systematic). The revised paper will be submitted during the last semester of course work to the professor who was the original recipient of the paper as well as the two faculty members who have been consulted concerning revisions. During the last month of the semester the student will arrange a one hour time period with the three faculty members involved in this project for an oral examination on the paper that will explore the interdisciplinary and integrative character of the work conducted.