Master of Arts: Theology

Faith seeking understanding.
—Anselm of Canterbury, Prosologion

About the Program

Through faith we believe what God has revealed and seek to understand and live by these truths. To study theology is to set our sights on God—with all of our hearts and minds—so that by knowing God we may better love him and our neighbor. We seek to hear God’s word in Sacred Scripture, in the tradition of the Church, and in the Church’s dogma. The more clearly we hear and understand that word, the more clearly and faithfully we can speak it back to God in worship, proclaim it in evangelization, and put it into practice in our lives of discipleship.

Four Pillars

1. Theological Formation:

The formation offered here is faithful and rigorous, grounded in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, the Church Fathers, the lives and witnesses of the saints, the Second Vatican Council, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

2. Spiritual Formation:

Students receive a vital spiritual formation that will enrich their own personal encounter with Christ and h is Church—and prepare them for the challenges and spiritual realities of lay ecclesial service.

3. Pastoral and Catechetical Formation:

Anchored in the pastoral vision of the Second Vatican Council, our balanced pastoral and catechetical formation equips students to hand on the truth of Jesus Christ.

4. Human Formation:

Students receive the tools and skills to be effective leaders for the New Evangelization. Highlights include key moral virtues for lay ecclesial leadership, communication and management techniques, and awareness and understanding of ecclesial life and structures.

Three Pillars

The course of study in the Graduate School of Theology leads to the Master of Arts degree in Theology; it is available on our campus in Denver or via distance education. The program consists of three pillars:

1. Sacred Scripture

Students learn to express the narrative of salvation history, explain the biblical foundations of Catholic doctrine, interpret the texts in light of tradition, and substantiate the reliability of Sacred Scripture.

2. Sacred Doctrine

Each of our students develops a foundational knowledge of the Catholic Church’s dogmatic, sacramental, moral, and spiritual teaching as exemplified by the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

3. History and Mission

Students come to grasp the main themes of Church history, particularly in the West, with special emphasis on evangelization and on the saints and martyrs as teachers and models.
Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts in Theology is awarded upon the completion of twelve courses and a comprehensive examination. Eight of the courses are required, and four are electives.

Students may use one of their four electives to write a master’s thesis. Full-time students may complete the degree in four semesters over two academic years. Part-time students typically complete the program in four years.

Students are expected to take the required courses in the following order:

Salvation History


This course helps students to understand the unity of God’s plan of salvation from Creation to the Second Coming. By a thorough overview of the Old and New Testaments, this course introduces Catholic exegetical approaches and theological interpretation, aiding students in reading Scripture as the Word of God. Students engage some comparative primary texts and grapple with historiographical questions that help them to demonstrate the reliability of the Bible. With a special focus on the themes of covenant and mission, the course illustrates how Jesus fulfills God’s promises and how He invites His followers to share in His work of evangelization.

3 Credit Hours

The Creed: The Trinity, Christ, and the Church


This course presents a synthetic summary of the symbolum fidei, the Christian Creed, with particular reference to its effective presentation in catechesis. The presentation follows that of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, making reference to other statements in minor creeds and magisterial documents, with particular emphasis given to the relevant portions of the Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas. Throughout the course the unity and coherence of the fides quae are stressed.

3 Credit Hours

The Church in the Ancient and Medieval World


The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “[t]he Church is in history, but at the same time she transcends it” (CCC 770). This course invites students to pursue deeper understanding of this teaching by means of an introduction to the basic contours of the Church’s historical pilgrimage from the Ascension of Christ to the fourteenth century. Taking political, cultural, and social circumstances into account, the course approaches this history primarily in terms of evangelization, that is, the reception, embodiment, articulation, and transmission of the inexhaustible Mystery of the Gospel. The course focuses on Christianity’s initial expansion, the emergence of distinctively Christian modes of thought and life, and reconfigurations of Christian culture in response to new challenges.

Jesus and the Gospels


Among all the books of the Bible, the Gospels have “a special preeminence,” according to the Second Vatican Council, “for they are the principal witness for the life and teaching of the incarnate Word” (Dei Verbum, 18). This course examines Jesus’ life and mission in light of the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John. Students engage insights from historical research into the life of Jesus and the world of first-century Judaism as well as gain a deeper understanding of the Gospels as narrative. In addition, the Gospels are also studied for their perennial theological and spiritual significance.

3 Credit Hours

Mystagogy: Liturgy and the Sacraments


Mystagogy is the ancient practice of learning to “see” the invisible Mystery made present in the visible signs of the sacraments. In this course, the Catechismand other sources of mystagogical practice serve as guides for a deeper knowledge of the plan of God made present in these wonderful gifts. After a theological and liturgical study of Christian worship, we gaze into each of the seven sacramental mysteries, learning to decode the signs they employ to dispose us better to receive what they reveal and communicate. In addition to the Catechism, texts considered include Ratzinger, Spirit of the Liturgy, and Corbon, Wellsprings of Worship.

3 Credit Hours

The Church and Modernity


The fall of Constantinople (1453), the publication of Gutenberg’s Bible (1454), and the discovery of the Americas (1492) signaled the end of the era of Latin Christendom and the beginning of the age we call modern. This period has been shaped by the founding and steady growth of a secular replacement for Christendom, first in Europe, then in North America, and, concurrently, the spread of the Gospel and the growth of the Church in the East and the Global South. This course will offer a narrative of the modern period down to the present, with special emphasis on the progress of evangelization, the saints and martyrs as teachers and models of Catholic thought and life, and the Church’s response to secularism.

Pauline Literature


This course considers the life and writings of St. Paul, exploring his Jewish origins, life-changing conversion, and vocation. Students encounter St. Paul’s writings in context and understood both as essential to the Church’s teaching and in light of varying exegetical approaches through the centuries. Students see St. Paul as a rabbi and a theologian, and also as a catalyst in the early Church, who simultaneously criticizes and utilizes the Greco-Roman and Jewish worldviews in his proclamation of the gospel. This course treats St. Paul’s mastery of rhetoric and his pastoral sensitivity in a way that prepares students to formulate effective strategies for evangelization.

Moral and Spiritual Theology


Through an investigation of human personhood and the vocation to love and beatitude, this course helps students to understand moral action and the habits of character it establishes. Students examine the Biblical foundation of Catholic moral teaching with particular attention given to the Sermon on the Mount, the new life realized in us by the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the virtues of Christian living. The course treats the dynamics of the moral law, sin, repentance, and grace, as well as prayer and the stages of the spiritual life.

Graduate Bulletin

Read more and see full course listings in our graduate bulletin

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Additional Degrees

Master of Arts: Theology with Concentration in Sacred Scripture

Put on the mind of Christ.
—1 Corinthians 2:16
View Degree

Master of Arts: Leadership for the New Evangelization

So also I send you.
—John 20:21
View Degree

"This education and formation has changed my life...

...I am eternally grateful for what the Augustine Institute has done for my soul, my family and my apostolate. If you feel called to further your education and theological studies, I cannot recommend anything better than the Augustine Institute.

MA Theology, Alumna ’17

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...service to the new evangelization, helping equip my students to engage post-modernity and propose the timeless teachings of Christ in a timely way for our age.”

Visiting Professor of Theology

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the education and human formation we received as students at the Augustine Institute. From the outstanding professors to the rich curriculum, everything lends itself to the development of the intellect and the zeal to bring Jesus Christ to the world. I would highly recommend the Augustine Institute to anyone looking to achieve excellence in knowledge, wisdom and virtue.”

MA Theology, ’15

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Archdiocese of Philadelphia