The M.A. program in Moral Theology/Ethics is designed to introduce students to scholarship and research in theology and religious studies in general and to Moral Theology/Ethics in particular. This program provides a basic grounding in Moral Theology/Ethics, along with an introduction to other disciplines in the School.


  • Normally an applicant's baccalaureate major will have been in theology, religious studies, or philosophy. Students with other academic backgrounds, however, will be considered if they demonstrate strong academic promise.
  • All applicants must submit an example of an academic paper (or portion thereof) of 10 to 20 pages.
  • The academic area reserves the right to require other prerequisites which are deemed necessary for the success of applicants in their course of studies.


  • TRS 630A Foundations of Christian Moral Life
  • TRS 632A Christian Social Ethics
  • A course in methodology (e.g. TRS 660 History and Methods in Theology, TRS 661 Christian Anthropology, TRS 760 Theological Foundations, or TRS 780 Foundations of Religious Studies)
  • Three additional Moral Theology/Ethics courses
  • Additional courses may be chosen from other areas of STRS or from other relevant disciplines outside of STRS
  • Reading proficiency in one modern language (normally French or German) for use in theological research


The purpose of the M.A. comprehensive examination is to enable the student to synthesize issues and problems in the area of Moral Theology/Ethics. The examination will draw upon material in a list of topics available from the academic area. The M.A. comprehensive exam is normally taken in the final semester of coursework. Students are required to have maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average.

Thesis or Research Papers

In order to demonstrate graduate level research ability, an MA student in MT/E must choose one of the following options:

  1. Writing an MA thesis and taking 24 semester hours of coursework; students who write a thesis should register for MA “thesis guidance”  for two semesters; or
  2. Writing two research papers and taking 30 semester hours of coursework.

M.A. research papers may be: [a] written independent of any course or [b] written in conjunction with a particular course and integral to the fulfillment of course requirements; in the latter case, students, at the beginning of the semester, must inform their professor(s) of their intention of satisfying M.A. requirements by writing an M.A. research paper.

The professor is to grade the paper, sign it, and give it to the Area Director for placement in the student's file; the student must receive a minimum grade of B (3.0) on each of the research papers in order to satisfy the requirement.

The research papers should be some 6000 words in length. Longer or shorter papers may be accepted at the discretion of the faculty member for whom it is written and the Area Director.  One paper must show proficiency in using a modern foreign language as a research tool (typically French or German).