MA in Catholic Theology (MACT)

Graduate Theology Program Coordinator: Dr. David P. Delio

The Theology Department at the University of Holy Cross offers a Master of Arts in Catholic Theology (MACT). This degree is designed to be a flexible, comprehensive, and unique way to learn and integrate Theology into one’s life, family, and/or profession.

Scope and Purpose

The Congregation of Holy Cross is a diverse family in search of the truth, participating in the teaching mission of the Church and educating the minds and hearts of many. The MACT Program at the University of Holy Cross follows the Marianite tradition in providing opportunities for students’ discovery of the truth about God revealed in Jesus Christ. In this way, the Graduate Program in Theology participates in the Holy Cross Mission and the Church to engage all people and challenges students to achieve excellence in a rigorous academic discipline.

The MACT Program is designed for those who seek to understand their faith and to communicate what they believe with others. The Program is intended for all Catholic Christians. However, Christians from other denominations or persons from other religious traditions who want to understand the theology of the Catholic Church are welcome. The MACT is offered for all, but especially for parents who lead their “domestic church” and who “by their word and example [are] the first preachers of the faith to their children” (Lumen Gentium, 11); for working Christians who desire to grow their faith commensurate with their intelligence and experience in business, law, medicine, the arts, etc.; and finally for those who want to teach, minister, or pursue doctoral work.

Master’s-level work is demanding, and the MACT program already assumes students have advanced beyond the level of catechesis and are ready to begin the rigorous study of the discipline of Theology. Students who are particularly proficient readers and writers should plan to allocate at least 10-15 hours per week for each course including class time. A partial load of 6 hours requires about 20-30 hours of work, and a full time load of 9 hours requires about 40 hours per week.

The Graduate Program in Theology is presented in a hybrid format: in-class and online. Unlike many online Theology programs, the UHC Theology Department believes that students must personally interact with professors and each other in order to develop theologically. Our hybrid format means that students can either be together physically in class or virtually online at the same time (synchronously). However, students must designate whether they will be present in class or virtually and at a distance for the majority of their coursework. Distance students take >50% of course work while not in the same place and/or at the same time as faculty. In-class students take >50% of course work in the same place and at the same time as faculty. This format offers maximum flexibility for students to learn while working and has the potential to draw diverse students from across the country and internationally. We believe that such an arrangement allows students to learn “face to face, and at their own pace!”

Finally, success in the MACT is based not only on completing the required course work, but also on students’ demonstrating a readiness to integrate their studies into various aspects of their lives.

The Mission and Goal of the Graduate Program

The mission of the Graduate Program in Theology is to guide students in interpreting, reasoning, and understanding the Catholic theological tradition. The Program’s goal is for students to engage in graduate-level learning in all areas of Catholic Theology: Scripture, the Church, the development and reception of doctrine, the Christian vision of the human person and the moral life, as well as the Church in relation to other religious traditions, science, education, law, and medicine. The MACT Program seeks to cultivate informed thinkers and practitioners capable of lifelong theological study and applying their knowledge to diverse situations: among their families, colleagues, friends, patients, clients, and others whom they may encounter.

Program Outcomes

The MACT prepares candidates from diverse backgrounds to learn to incorporate Theology into their lives or to become theologians and teachers for the Church. The MACT Program emphasizes the development of the whole person and implements its philosophy into the University’s Mission through measurable objectives for teaching, research, and public service.

Teaching: To prepare students from diverse backgrounds to integrate their personal and professional commitments in Theology, the objectives for Teaching mission are

  1. to recruit, maintain, and matriculate culturally diverse students who demonstrate the potential to contribute to their chosen profession;
  2. to provide students with opportunities to apply their studies to real life experiences in a wide variety of educational and professional settings;
  3. to monitor students individually throughout their academic careers in order to promote both personal and professional development; and
  4. to foster students’ participation in the total life of the Church and to encourage life- long theological learning.

Research: To prepare students to be skillful researchers and to apply appropriate methodology in further pursuits, the objectives for Research are

  1. to support students in their scholarly research through adequate resources and faculty mentoring;
  2. to provide students with opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills;
  3. to monitor students throughout their programs of study in order to ensure quality; and
  4. to encourage the presentation and publication of research findings.

Service: To prepare students to become professionals capable of applying Theology to various endeavors, the objectives for Service are

  1. to meet local societal needs through talks and other church activities;
  2. to ensure that students have opportunities for on-the-job training in facilities that address the concerns of persons who have limited economic resources; and
  3. to sponsor or encourage students to attend seminars, workshops, and institutes in order to promote their continuing education in theology in New Orleans and beyond.

Student Learning Outcomes of the Graduate Program in Theology

(Upon successful completion of the Graduate Program in Theology, students will):

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of Sacred Scriptures and the traditions of Catholic doctrines;
  2. Cultivate a well-formed conscience by engaging Catholic moral and social teaching;
  3. Situate Theology in dialogue with other academic disciplines and/or religious traditions;
  4. Be able to “Give an account of the hope within you” to family, colleagues, and community;
  5. Plan and implement effective pedagogy in a parish, ministry, or classroom setting; and
  6. Engage in successful reading, writing, and research to analyze and articulate Catholic Theology in argument and other literary forms.

The Nature of Graduate Work

Course work at the graduate level deepens and integrates what one has studied as an undergraduate and through work/life experience. Students are expected to demonstrate knowledge, skill, and attitudes appropriate to this discipline and strive to achieve mastery beyond the formal requirements of the Program.

Degree Offered:

Master of Arts in Catholic Theology

Graduate Admissions

In accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Graduate Program accepts applications for admission from students without regard to ethnicity, race, color, sex, age, disability status, or national origin.

Admission Procedures and Criteria

Applications are accepted by the Graduate Program in Theology by the following deadlines:

  1. July 1 for the Fall semester,
  2. November 1 for the Spring semester,
  3. February 15 for Scholarship consideration for the following academic year, and
  4. May 1 for the Summer session.

Applicants are be admitted to the Graduate Program in Theology by the submitting the following:

To the Office of Admissions (

  1. a completed online application form;
  2. official transcripts for all prior undergraduate and graduate course work. Transcripts are sent from the institutions attended directly to the Office of Admissions; and
  3. a record of or waiver for immunizations.

To the Graduate Program Coordinator**

  1. a personal written essay (see below);
  2. a Curriculum Vitae;
  3. at least three letters of recommendation written by people qualified to evaluate academic potential as well as personal and professional promise; and
  4. if working or raising children (or both), a written statement that details the best available hours for classes on Mondays through Saturdays.

**N.B. Applicants (especially those who intend to do doctoral work) may be asked for aptitude scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). If these are requested by the Graduate Theology Coordinator, the scores must be sent directly to the Office of Admissions. Individuals who have completed a Master’s degree or have sufficient graduate hours from an accredited institution are exempt from the GRE or MAT.

Admission Essay Requirements:

The applicant’s personal statement must be a part of the application. This statement should be between 1500-2000 words and address the following:

  1. What has motivated the applicant to apply for the MACT? The applicant should include a brief narrative of his or her religious/spiritual background and interests, combined with educational history, experience in ministry and/or religious education, and any other relevant professional and volunteer experience;
  2. How would a graduate degree in theology help the applicant serve the Church?
  3. What are the applicant’s principal strengths for graduate studies and/or ministry, as well as areas of needed development?
  4. What is the applicant’s plan to apply theological education to his or her life, career, or future?

Academic Requirements

Admission to the MACT at the University of Holy Cross is based on the evaluation of the applicant’s personal, professional, and academic records by the Graduate Faculty. The University recruits qualified applicants from diverse backgrounds who display intelligence, character, commitment to learning, and professional promise. At a minimum, applicants are expected to have the following academic qualifications:

  1. a Baccalaureate degree from a university or college approved by a recognized regional accrediting agency in the United States or proof of equivalent training at a foreign institution of higher learning;*
  2. a record of undergraduate study that is predictive of success in graduate studies;
  3. satisfactory academic standing at the last university or college attended; and
  4. if deemed necessary, a completion of the GRE or MAT with sufficient scores.

*Possible exceptions may be made for life experience in ministry or service to the Church.

Foreign and ESL Students

A foreign or ESL (English as a Second Language) applicant must present evidence of satisfactory proficiency in the reading, writing, and speaking of English. The applicant may do so by presenting a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), normally 550, or iBT score of 79. For information about TOEFL, the applicant should write to TOEFL, 1755 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20036 or visit A foreign applicant is also required to take the Graduate Record Examination.

Transfer Credits

Normally, nine (9) semester hours may be transferred from an accredited institution for the Master of Arts in Catholic Theology. There may be exceptions for transfer credit in certain cases. Approval of all transfer credits must be obtained from the department Chair. These courses must be verified by an official transcript from the institution where the courses were taken.

Letter of Good Standing

Students enrolled in graduate programs at other institutions who wish to register for transfer credit must submit a letter of good standing from the dean of the student’s graduate school.

Admission to The MACT

Conditional Admission to The University

Students conditionally admitted must hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university and may take a maximum of six hours (6) of graduate credit at the University of Holy Cross. Conditional admission does not guarantee admission to any of the graduate programs and is limited to one semester.

Conditional admission constitutes the following conditions:

  • a completed online application form has been sent directly to the Office of Admissions;
  • application deadlines are met (see above); and
  • a minimum 3.0 undergraduate Grade Point Average is required to take graduate course work.

Once the application is completed, a candidate may take a maximum of six hours (6) and is limited to one semester:

  • For those with a limited background in Philosophy or the Catholic Tradition, potential candidates may be required to take THE 500, THE 501 and/or THE 502. These courses may be taken for no credit or counted as elective credit in the MACT Curriculum.
  • Conditional admission does not guarantee full admission into the Graduate Program in Catholic Theology.

No candidate may register for the next semester until his or her graduate admission criteria are completed.

  • Those who are not accepted beyond a conditional basis are not allowed to continue in the Graduate Program in Catholic Theology at the University of Holy Cross.

Full Admission to The Graduate Program

In order to be accepted into the Graduate Program, applicants must meet the following conditions:

  • All graduate admission criteria must be completed. (Refer to the criteria listed above);
  • Hold an undergraduate degree in philosophy or Theology or have completed the requirements for Conditional Admission;
  • Hold a graduate degree in a humane discipline, such as Law, History, Philosophy, etc.;
  • Once the admission criteria are completed, the candidate will
    • be interviewed by the Graduate Theology Faculty and
    • submit a writing sample prior to the interview process
  • Applicants are notified in writing by the Graduate Coordinator regarding the results of their admission status. Those who are accepted for admission are allowed to register for the next semester.


Students remain at Full Admission status until they are accepted for Candidacy. Applicants must submit an application for Candidacy and cannot take more than eighteen (18) hours of course work until they have been accepted. Candidacy is primarily determined through academic achievement in graduate classes and demonstration of appropriate dispositions for the study of theology.

  • Applicants are notified in writing by the Graduate Coordinator regarding the results of their admission status. Those who are accepted for Candidacy are allowed to register for the next semester.

Overview and Requirements of MACT Program

Course Load and Completion Times

To matriculate as a full-time graduate student, students must register for at least nine (9) credit hours per semester. Six (6) credit hours is considered three-quarter time. Students must register for at least three (3) credit hours per semester for part-time status. An overload of twelve (12) credit hours may be taken if approved by the Graduate Theology Coordinator. Thus, there are three possible categorizations and approximate completion times for students in this Program: full- time at nine to twelve (9-12) hours (one and one-half to two years to complete); three-quarter time at six (6) hours (three to four years to complete); and part-time at three (3) hours (six to seven years to complete).

Program Format

The MACT has a hybrid format. The UHC Theology Department believes that students who personally interact with professors and each other flourish. Our hybrid format means that students can either be together physically in class or virtually online at the same time (synchronously). Students must designate whether they will be present in class or virtually and at a distance for the majority of their coursework. Distance students take >50% of course work while not in the same place and/or at the same time as faculty. In-class students take >50% of course work in the same place and at the same time as faculty.

Time Limit

A maximum of seven (7) years from the first semester attended is allowed in order to complete the requirements for the Graduate Program. If the time-limit is exceeded, the graduate student must apply for re-admission and document in writing the reason(s) for a need of extension. Re- admission does not qualify the applicant to begin anew the seven-year requirement.

Grade Point Requirements

An overall Grade Point Average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale is required for the maintenance of good standing in the Graduate Program. Passing grades for graduate students are A and B. A graduate student who earns a C or lower in any course is automatically placed on probationary status and must repeat the course. A course may be repeated only once and must be repeated at the University of Holy Cross. The student’s status is then subject to review by the Theology Department Chair and the MACT Coordinator. Students whose semester average in course work is below 3.0 are placed on probationary status and are not allowed to register for more than six semester hours during the following semester. To be removed from probationary status, the graduate student must complete 6 semester hours with an earned grade not less than B and a cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.0 at the completion of those 6 hours. If the graduate student on probation for falling below a 3.0 overall Grade Point Average is unable to remedy the deficient overall Grade Point Average at the end of 6 semester hours of the probationary period, the student is dropped from the Graduate Program.

Subject to the review of the Graduate Council, students may be dropped from the Program for factors other than Grade Point Average without having a probationary period. Status is then determined by the Graduate Council. The student may appeal decisions of the Graduate Council by submitting a written appeal to the Provost of the University.

Student Responsibility

Each student is responsible for developing and maintaining sufficient grades throughout the program and meeting all pertinent requirements for the successful completion of the MACT. Students should become familiar with the University Catalog and the Graduate Student Handbook.

Requirements for Graduation

A minimum of 36 semester hours is required for the Master of Arts in Catholic Theology.

Major Advisor

Each student, upon admission to the Graduate Program, is assigned an advisor. The advisor aids the student in the development of the individual graduate program. If reassignment of a major advisor is necessary, the reassignment is made by the Chair in cooperation with the student.

Program of Study

The student works closely with the major advisor to develop a program of study that outlines the courses to be taken toward the Master’s degree. The program is designed to meet both the goals and objectives for graduate study of the student and of the Institution. The planned program of study should be contemplated before the student has been admitted to candidacy, and it must be approved by the student’s major advisor and the Department Chair. Changes in the program of study may be made only with the approval of the major advisor and the Department Chair.

Concentrations and Other Disciplines

Within their program of study, students may select concentrations of courses approved by their advisor that specifically meet their needs. Moreover, students may take courses at the graduate level in other disciplines at UHC that correlate to their theological interests, e.g., in Counselling, Education, or Business. However, some disciplines at UHC do not offer online formats, and this must be taken into account by the students and their advisors.

Advisory Committee

The Thesis/Practicum Director, along with two other graduate faculty members, reads and evaluates the candidate’s final assessment. It is the responsibility of the Director to appoint this Advisory Committee and to implement the final assessment process. Prior to defending the final assessment requirements, the student, in consultation with his or her Director, selects at least two other members of the Graduate Faculty to serve on his or her committee. At least one member of the Advisory Committee must be from an area outside the student’s area of specialization.

Thesis/Manuscript/Comprehensive Examination

Students are required to demonstrate readiness for graduation by developing a cumulative product at the final stage of the Master’s program. A research thesis or practicum/comprehensive exams are required for the Graduate Program in Theology. The thesis is written in the style approved by the Graduate Council.

Application for Graduation

The requirements for graduation, as outlined by the University of Holy Cross, must be followed. Applications are available in the Office of the Registrar.


Upon successful completion of course work and thesis or practicum, the student is expected to attend commencement exercises.

Financial Aid

There are several aid programs for which graduate students may apply:

  • Graduate Assistantship

Graduate Assistantships are awarded to students who give evidence of maturity and academic commitment. A full-time assistantship award provides a stipend per semester in exchange for twenty hours of work per week. A half-time assistantship award provides a stipend in exchange for ten hours of work per week. Applications are submitted during the semester prior to the assistantship appointment. International students are awarded tuition waivers for the full amount of the assistantship with no stipends provided.

  • Graduate Scholarships

Scholarships for graduate students are available through the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs. Information about other loan options may be obtained from the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs.

MA in Catholic Theology


THE 510Theology: Origins & Development


THE 520Father, Son, & Holy Spirit in One God


THE 560The Development of Moral Theology


THE 604Christology


THE 610Ecclesiology


THE 625Biblical Theology




THE 680Research Seminar for Thesis



THE 681Theology Thesis



THE 690Professional Practicum I



THE 691Professional Practicum II


Total Credit Hours:36

Electives: At least 2 at the 600 level in THE, BUS, COU, or EDG