Master of Arts in Philosophy and Society

Train in Jesuit Formation to Analyze the Human Condition

Statue of Ignatius and book

Members of the Society of Jesus progress through four stages of initial formation: Novitiate; First Studies; Regency; and Theology Studies. The First Studies period of formation, to which Fordham’s M.A. in Philosophy and Society (MAPS) directly responds, comprises a three-year period of full-time graduate-level studies.

Through this program, you’ll analyze the human condition amidst and through the complex social, political, economic, and cultural contexts that characterize the contemporary global landscape. Our innovative and interdisciplinary curriculum leverages the best of the Catholic intellectual tradition and Fordham’s disciplinary strengths in philosophy, theology, the social and natural sciences, the arts, and the humanities to advance knowledge and learning that promote faith and social justice.

A central characteristic of the program is the integration of academic studies with contextually oriented ministry undertaken in solidarity with local communities (praxis-based learning).  You will establish ongoing relationships with community partners which include a well-established network of Bronx based non-profit/nongovernmental organizations; community advocacy groups; tenants' rights groups; and youth climate justice movements. It will also include an institutional partnership between Fordham, the Society of Jesus, and the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente (ITESO), Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara, Mexico, where you will spend six months working on language and taking courses with brother Jesuits at the ITESO.

Program Highlights

  • Develop skills for learned and collaborative ministry in the Church in a spirit of dialogue and cultural sensitivity.
  • Engage the realities of the contemporary world in intellectually rigorous ways, especially by understanding the Catholic intellectual tradition and growing in an awareness of the social justice dimensions of local and global challenges.
  • Engage in coursework that exposes you to religious pluralism and cultural analysis as well as opportunities for immersive study locally and internationally.
  • Learn to respond effectively to a Church and world that need well-formed minds and open hearts.

Program Basics

  • The curriculum includes courses in philosophy (at least 30 credits), theology (at least 24 credits), social/natural sciences, arts and humanities (at least 9 credits).  Successful completion of the degree requires 69 credits.
  • Beginning with introductory seminars in contextual learning and an integrative orientation to philosophical inquiry as a way of life, the program culminates in an integration seminar where students will synthesize their three-year interdisciplinary experience with an eye toward their future ministries.
  • The MAPS program meets Church and Society requirements for ordination to the Catholic priesthood.
  • Designed to be completed on a full-time basis over a 3-year period.
  • Courses will be delivered in a range of modalities (e.g., in-person, online, hybrid, semester-long courses, shorter modules, etc.).
  • The Ciszek Hall Jesuit Residential College provides the communal context within which all learning experiences will take place. This living and learning community will facilitate the academic, apostolic, spiritual, and personal integration required in this stage of First Studies.


  • Catholic priesthood
  • Teaching