“Our Master of Arts in Spirituality aims to immerse the student in the deep wells of the Christian spiritual and mystical tradition as well as have him or her conversant with contemporary developments within Spirituality.”
Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI, President of Oblate School of Theology
Master of Arts in Spirituality
The Master of Arts in Spirituality is an ATS accredited graduate level academic program designed to help students from a variety of Christian religious traditions deepen their understanding of Christian spirituality. Students will study various classical and contemporary Christian spiritual and mystical traditions, movements, and figures. Graduates will be equipped to better understand their own spiritual journey and prepared to be valuable resources for spirituality and renewal centers, parish and retreat work, as well as other spirituality-related faith formation and educational programs in a culturally diverse and globalized world. Students will also be encouraged to participate in cohort integration groups. This program is available online of face-to-face.
The goal of the Master of Arts in Spirituality is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of Christian spirituality with an emphasis on significant classical and contemporary spiritual and mystical traditions.
Upon successful completion of the program students will be able…
- To present a summary overview of major historical periods within the history of Christian spirituality and mysticism by identifying relevant movements, schools of spirituality, and major figures.
- To demonstrate proficiency in at least one classical school of spirituality and one contemporary school of spirituality.
- To demonstrate a basic competency in the ministry of spiritual direction and accompaniment.
- To evaluate instances of Christian religious experience and dynamics of interior transformation as understood within the Christian spiritual tradition.
- To identify and discuss important classical and contemporary literature in the field of spirituality.
- To articulate the importance of spirituality and lived experience within religious traditions.
- To demonstrate a basic competency in a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of Christian spirituality.
- To integrate one’s personal spirituality with fundamental principles and insights from the Christian spiritual tradition.
This program is designed for individuals who are interested in pursuing sustained academic study within the discipline of Christian spirituality. Students must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. Completion of the GRE will be required to ensure that the student has the aptitude for graduate studies. The GRE requirement is waived for students who already have a master’s degree. Prerequisites include the completion of 9 hours of undergraduate theology and 9 hours of undergraduate philosophy. Applicants must submit three letters of reference indicating that the applicant has the requisite qualities necessary to complete the degree.
- The candidate can expect to complete the 36-credit program as a full-time student in 2 to 2 &1/2 years. A part-time student can expect the program to take 3 to 4 years. No more than twelve (12) graduate-level (MA) credit hours may be transferred into the program from another institution toward the degree.
- A student will be required to complete a final thesis/project to demonstrate the level to which the goals of the program have been achieved.
- A minimum grade point average of 3.0 is required for all courses applicable to the degree.
Core Courses (total of 19 credit hours)
RW 6100 MA Pro Seminar
TS 7369 An Overview of the History of Christian Spirituality
TS 7371 Classical Christian Writers I
TS 7373 Classical Christian Writers II
TS 7365 Reading Religious Experience and the Discernment of Spirits
TS 7376 Biblical Foundations of Spirituality
TS 7370 Fundamental Principles of Spiritual Direction (or)
TS 7370 Integration of Psychology and Spirituality
Elective Courses (total of 12 credit hours)
Thesis (total of 5 credit hours)
TS 9276 Research and Proposal Writing
TS 9377 MA (Spirituality) Thesis
Total 36 credit hours
I thoroughly enjoyed the MA Spirituality program. The topics were very interesting and provided the intellectual stimulation and rigor I was looking for. I have always wanted to do more study and this program, with the ability to participate online, was very timely for me. I also found writing the essays enjoyable. I was able to explore particular aspects of the subject that had caught my attention and was encouraged to apply what I was learning.
My faith has deepened over my four years of study. I have always approached my faith in a thoughtful way and this program has given me some helpful tools with which to assess the direction my thoughts take me in. I also feel more confident in expressing my beliefs, especially when I seem to be going against prevailing opinions. I think it has also helped me as I accompany people on their spiritual journeys and as I prepare sermons.
I have found the faculty I have dealt with to be very approachable and usually responsive to emails. Most have replied promptly and all have adapted to having online students in class very well. I have appreciated the support of the Program Director, Cliff Knighten in particular. He has bent over backwards at times to iron out any problems I have encountered. He has been very responsive to emails and has been a delight to deal with. It would have been impossible to complete my degree without his help.
My desire to do further study in spirituality, my love of the Desert Mothers and Fathers and the medieval mystics, the lack of any comparable program in New Zealand, a very supportive husband, and the fortunate timing that made it possible to complete a Master’s degree online. I was also at a time in my life when I was able to devote time to study.
The technology that made it possible for me to be “present in the classroom” online was amazing. There were very few hiccups and the sound technicians who worked it all at the OST end were generally attentive and quick to rectify any problems. Presenting power points and talks “from the cloud” was nerve-wracking initially but all went very smoothly.
I would definitely recommend this program for anyone who is interested in spirituality and its development, and anyone who is interested in various expressions of mysticism. It was good to have the background development of Christian Spirituality presented in a systematic way, and to see where and how the individual mystics contributed to our understanding of God, prayer, and humanity. The program has also helped me to use this knowledge in practical ways which have helped me, and which I have been able to share with others.
When I started working at Star of the North I wanted to get a degree that would help me develop a vision and strategic plan for spiritual programming; something that would meet contemporary needs and include the breadth and depth of the Christian contemplative tradition. The MA in Spirituality seemed to me to be the right fit.
I think the MA in Spirituality at Oblate School of Theology is a well-crafted curriculum of courses that covers a good range of subjects related to spirituality…everything from an integrative historical overview of spirituality, biblical foundations in spirituality, classical mysticism, contemporary mystics or spiritual guides to philosophical foundations and spirituality in an evolutionary worldview.
It has helped me to shed some of the less helpful aspects of spirituality I grew up with….i.e. dualisms, anthropocentrism, etc.. The course work has deepened my commitment to my own faith tradition (Roman Catholicism) and helped me to integrate mysticism with theology and mission to be present and engaged with contemporary issues. There was emphasis on contemplative practices that helped ground me more faithfully in my own contemplative practices in daily life. I have a wider heart for ecumenism, dialogue with other faith traditions and secularity. Overall, I’m freer, more joyful and engaged right where I am, in the communities I belong to that make up a field of influence in the larger earth community.
The professors have all been organized, engaging, thought-provoking, inspiring and challenging enough to promote growth. I can honestly say there wasn’t a course or professor I didn’t enjoy, even the more challenging ones.
The online experience overall was very good. The virtual online experience was made as close to an in-class experience as possible by the wonderful tech people who ensured care and quality. I was able to contribute to class conversations, ask questions, and make presentations in-class because of those invaluable people in place for great online care.
The Whitley Center classrooms are modern, comfortable settings conducive to learning. The whole campus – including the Oblate Renewal Center, the chapels, grotto, library and the grounds – is beautiful, peaceful and inspiring.
I unreservedly recommend the M.A Spirituality program Anyone ministering in Retreat Centers, prison ministry, positions in pastoral care, or anyone really who is seeking to deepen their own spirituality and who, in connection with their religious or spiritual communities, want to further a culture of dialogue and encounter for the common good of people and the planet.
I am currently living in Sao Paulo, Brazil, serving as a Spiritual Director and Coordinator of Adult Faith Formation in the Archdiocese of Sao Paulo.
I was blessed to have discovered to the OST MA Sp. Program. I was impressed at the quality and seriousness of the program. I could tell that the professors were well prepared. Not only did they transmit knowledge, but they shared from their own spiritual experience. That was the most enriching and convincing aspect.
The program has definitely marked my spiritual journey. Each semester seemed tailored to enlighten me in very specific personal and pastoral questions or situations that I was experiencing.
I discovered in the faculty and visiting professors friends and mentors. They are very profound, prayerful and insightful individuals, who at the same time are down to earth, approachable and real. They reflect what my ideal of a disciple and master is called to be for an Christian academic community in contemporary society.
I decided to pursue this degree because I was seeking a post graduate study in Theology that was not specifically academic, but pastoral. As a consecrated lay woman, my vocation and life mission is evangelization. My area of interest is spiritual direction, and I found that OST’s program fit with the type of study and community I was looking for to enrich my undergraduate formation.
The classroom facilities at OST are great. I was able to reside on the campus several times, and enjoy the convenience of a cafeteria, chapel with daily Mass, library and the restful gardens and pool!
My online experience was excellent. I was a bit wary at first of having to pursue some of my classes online, because of past experiences with other institutes. The online experience at OST was professional, interactive, and designed in such a way to keep the online student interested and included in the classroom community, which is important. The professors were always very sensitive to the participation of those online. I also enjoyed discussions with other online students.
I do recommend and have recommended OST to others. I have shared my online experience and have only positive things to say.
I think anyone who is engaged in pastoral ministry, especially spiritual direction or another type of spiritual or catechetical accompaniment, should consider this program. There were quite a few students who were there as an enrichment for their own spiritual journey, and I learned a lot from their wisdom and sharing.