Master of Divinity

St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Queens Campus


The Master of Divinity is a degree that prepares students for professional ministry in the Church.  The introductory year fosters the student’s commitment to ministry, serves as an introduction to graduate study and pastoral field education.  The second phase of the program is M.A. studies, which examine the richness of the Catholic faith and its theological heritage in the light of modern human experience.  The post-M.A. work ensures that the student has a comprehensive and well-balanced program conforming to M. Div guidelines established by the USCCB.

Learning Objectives
This program will prepare graduates to:

Demonstrate an understanding of biblical scholarship.

  • Articulate principles of contemporary biblical scholarship.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how the contemporary Catholic church interprets biblical writings.
  • Demonstrate the ability to utilize contemporary hermeneutical methods for critical reading. 

Demonstrate an understanding of the history of Christian tradition.

  • Identify significant theological concepts from the bible that pertain to the origins of Christian tradition.
  • Articulate an understanding of the timeline of Christian history.
  • Articulate key elements of the Second Vatican Council as they relate to current Catholic thinking.
  • Demonstrate the ability to utilize historical method in analyzing historical texts.

Demonstrate an understanding of Christian moral teachings.

  • Articulate principles of Christian moral teaching.
  • Articulate principles of Catholic social teaching.
  • Think analytically about ethical behavior in light of the Catholic theological tradition.
  • Apply principles of Christian morality to a variety of life experiences.

Demonstrate an understanding of key topics in systematic theology.

  • Articulate an understanding of the person of Jesus, from historical and theological   perspectives.
  • Articulate an understanding of the human person and his or her dignity.
  • Articulate an understanding of church structure and worship.
  • Engage in the process of developing a personal theology based on the key topics of the Catholic theological tradition.
  • Engage in the process of critical thinking about contemporary systematic theology issues.

Demonstrate an understanding of the world’s religions.

  • Articulate the principles of Judaism
  • Articulate the principles of Islam
  • Articulate the principles of Hinduism
  • Articulate the principles of Buddhism
  • Engage in the process of critical thinking about the relationships among the world’s religions.

Demonstrate an understanding of the pastoral application of theological knowledge.

  • Articulate principles of applying theological knowledge to pastoral situations.
  • Demonstrate the ability to trace biblical and historical developments in ministry.
  • Engage in the process of thinking critically about applications of theological knowledge to pastoral situations.

Demonstrate competence in pastoral field education

  • Demonstrate the ability to provide pastoral care in a clinical setting.
  • Demonstrate the ability to preach.
  • Demonstrate the ability to preside at Church rituals.
  • Demonstrate the ability to think critically about ministry in contemporary society.

Conduct independent scholarly research

  • Gather, organize, and present information using the Chicago or MLA style.
  • Access and evaluate relevant information on the Internet, as well as other contemporary sources that contribute to academic discourse.
  • Locate easily the best pertinent research sources pertaining to the theological sub-specialties.
  • Write essays and research papers that compare, contrast, and evaluate theological concepts.
  •  Use empirical evidence and logical argumentation in the presentation of theological concepts.



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Admission Requirements

  • Applications for admission should be completed during the second semester of the sophomore year; incoming freshmen may apply for provisional admission.
  • Applicants must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 at the end of the sophomore year, and a 3.5 index in at least 12 credits of Theology, applicable to the major.
  • In consultation with their advisor, B.A./M.A. students enroll in 100-level graduate courses during their junior year, and upper-level graduate courses in their senior year.
  • Students must plan to take afternoon and evening courses (after 4:10 PM) once graduate level work commences. Graduate courses meet once per week for two hours.

General Financial Aid Information
Reflecting our Vincentian Mission, St. John's has a long tradition of bringing a high quality, private education within the financial reach of all our students. During the 2004-2005 academic year, more than 90 percent of our students received in excess of $283 million in financial assistance through scholarships, loans, grants and work-study programs. For more information, contact the Office of Financial Aid at 1 (888) 9STJOHNS.

Financial Aid Programs for Theology and Religious Studies Students

Graduate Assistantships
Graduate assistantships are offered to a limited number of students. They are awarded on the basis of several factors, including grade point average, Graduate Record Exam scores, and recommendations. Graduate assistantships cover full tuition and provide a small stipend for other expenses. Graduate assistants must be full-time students.

Richard Kugelman Scholarship
Named in honor of a former chairperson of the Theology and Religious Studies Department at St. John's, the Kugelman scholarship provides full or partial tuition for highly qualified students interested in Scripture study. Awards are made on a competitive basis and are renewable for the entire program.

Graduate Admission Information
Office of Graduate Admission
(718) 990-1601

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Career Outcomes

In today's rapidly changing world, a background in theology and religious studies is an important component of a well-rounded liberal arts education. Professionals in every walk of life (from the marketplace to the classroom, to the practice of law and medicine) draw on religious values as they make decisions and take actions that have a global impact.

The graduates of our programs are pastors and pastoral ministers, chancery officials and pastoral administrators. They teach in high schools, colleges, seminaries and universities. Many move on to higher studies and doctoral programs. Some are pastoral associates, and liturgical ministers, youth ministers, and directors of religious education in parishes in North America, Europe and Africa. 

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Success Story

Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies
St. John's Theology Professor Serves As a ‘Bridge between Generations’