Graduate Catalog

Master of Arts in Practical Theology and Ministry

The M.A. in Practical Theology and Ministry is designed to equip students for competent leadership in communities of faith. The program is an advanced degree in Theology and integrates theological formation with a lived practice of ministry. The program consists of a core curriculum in Biblical, Systematic, Liturgical, Moral, and Practical Theology. The Supervised Ministerial Formation component is designed to give students the theological and ministerial tools necessary for ecclesial ministry in a variety of ministerial settings. Participation in the Master of Arts in Practical Theology and Ministry degree program provides foundational theological education for ministerial competence in diverse communities of faith.

Program Objectives

The Program Objectives of the M.A. in Practical Theology and Ministry are designed to develop theological and ministerial competence through:

  • rigorous academic engagement in the areas of biblical, systematic, liturgical, and moral praxis and theology.
  • critical and constructive theological reflection and case study analysis.
  • engagement with diverse cross-cultural contexts and global worldview.
  • promotion of personal and spiritual maturity.
  • formation for the lay ecclesial minister.

Admission Requirements and Policies

  • Completed application form.
  • Application fee (or waiver).
  • Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited or internationally recognized institution with at least a 3.0 grade point average.
  • Sufficient undergraduate preparation or life experience, usually 18 hours of under-graduate theology or religious studies.
  • Theology Pre-Test.
  • Academic Writing Sample.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • An interview with the members of the Graduate Theology Committee (when possible).
  • See the College of Arts and Sciences requirements.
  • Provisional acceptance may be granted on an individual basis. See “Admission Requirements and Policies” section for the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Non-degree seeking acceptance: See “Admission Requirements and Policies” section for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Requirements for Graduation

Course Work

For completion of the M.A. in Practical Theology and Ministry degree, students must: 1) complete a minimum of 40 hours of course work (34 course credit hours and 6 Supervised Ministry credit hours), and 2) pass synthesis paper, written and oral comprehensive examinations.

Orientation Program

All new students are required to participate in an orientation program at the start of their studies. The orientation will provide: 1) an overview of the program, 2) an explanation of the various requirements and stages of the program, 3) information and guidance about the resources of Barry University, and 4) an opportunity to meet professors and students in order to be more fully integrated on a personal level in the M.A. in Practical Theology and Ministry program.

Supervised Ministry

During the program of study, with the assistance of the Director of Ministerial Formation, the student takes two courses in Supervised Ministry (6 credits) designed to address the four Pillars of Formation: Personal, Intellectual, Spiritual, and Ministerial, as outlined in Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord (USCCB).

Formation Plan

In conjunction with the Director of Ministerial Formation, the student in the M.A. in Practical Theology and Ministry develops a supervision schedule and Ministerial Formation Plan. This plan is based on the ministerial competencies of each student and their relevant life experiences.

Capstone Process

The Capstone Process for the Master of Arts in Practical Theology and Ministry consists of three components: a Synthesis Project, Written Comprehensive Examinations, and an Oral Examination on the contents of the thesis and the comprehensives.

The Synthesis Project includes application of Practical Theological Methodology to a ministerial situation and the sustained integration of at least one other theological discipline. It includes a 1‑credit Research Seminar conducted as an independent study by an assigned faculty member during one semester and not longer than two consecutive semesters or one full academic year. The Research Seminar culminates in the satisfactory completion of a twenty-five—thirty page Synthesis Project paper which must engage the four tasks of practical theology in sustained engagement with another theological discipline (Biblical, Systematic, Moral, Sacramental/Liturgical). The synthesis paper is assessed by examiners in the areas of theological methodology and the theological discipline used in the project.

Students also complete Written Comprehensive Examinations in the four theological disciplines not utilized in the Synthesis Project. Using historical critical method, as well as contemporary, contextual/practical theological perspectives, students are expected to integrate course content as well as other bibliographic resources into each theological area. The written exams are timed (one hour per question) and proctored by the Comprehensive Examination Committee of the Graduate Theology Committee.

Students then sit for Oral Examination on the contents of the Synthesis Project and the Written Comprehensives. This examination is conducted by at least three members of the Graduate Theology Committee and may take up to one and a half hours. Examiners question students on the theological content and methodology of the synthesis project and written examination.

Written and Oral Comprehensive Exams

The Department provides students with questions and a reading list for examinations in Hebrew Scriptures, New Testament, Systematic theology, Sacramental/Liturgical theology, and Moral theology with their matriculation into the program. Each of these areas of theology is examined from historical and practical perspectives. The student is expected to prepare all topic areas and questions for the comprehensive exams. On the day of the examination, the student is given one question from each area.

The oral examination is based on the responses to the written exams as well as on other topics and questions in the five areas. The oral examination lasts one hour and is conducted by at least three faculty examiners.

Transfer of Credit

A maximum of 6 graduate semester hours in Religious Studies or Theology may be transferred from another regionally accredited college or university. Such course work must be relevant to the discipline, with the students having earned a minimum of 3.0 within the seven-year time limitation of the degree. Transfer credit must have the approval of the Chair of the Department.

Time Limitations

A minimum of three years is required to complete the degree. Students pursuing the Master of Arts in Practical Theology and Ministry are permitted seven years from the date of initial matriculation to complete requirements. Degrees may be completed on a full- or part-time basis.

Master of Arts, Practical Theology and Ministry (40 Credits)

Required Courses


















Required Curriculum Distribution

-One Hebrew Scripture Course


-One New Testament Course


-One Liturgical/Sacramental Theology Course


-One Fundamental Morality Course


-Elective coursework