What is practical theology?
Practical theology is a relatively new and growing field within theology. It has long been tied to what have been called the traditional “arts of ministry” – such as religious education, preaching, and pastoral counseling. Over the past few decades, practical theology has come to also include a strong focus on culture, ethics, social justice, spirituality, and pastoral research. Today, the field of study has become well established as a theological discipline that starts with experience in order to understand God and how God reveals Godself. This is why the field is called “practical” theology – it emphasizes the importance of the “practice” of everyday faith, life, and ministry. If you have more questions please email Bryan Froehle at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is a professor of practical theology and coordinates our program, and would be happy to hear from you.
Are people who are not Catholic accepted into the program?
Our School of Theology and Ministry is proud of its strong ecumenical and interfaith commitment. We warmly welcome students from all backgrounds. In fact, our doctoral program is designed in such a way that its success depends on having people from many different faith traditions—as well as a wide ranging cultural diversity. This is very important to us. St. Thomas University is a Catholic university sponsored by the Catholic Archdiocese of Miami. As an Archdiocesan institution, sponsored by the local church, its central charism is that of community, meaning that context and inclusion are particularly highly valued. As we often say, we cannot be a capital "C," Catholic university if we are not a small "c," catholic university first. The word "catholic" means “according to the whole” and this inspires us to embrace all persons of whatever confessional or cultural background. We find that when we are truly intercultural and interconfessional as a learning community, we can enhance the quality of the theological work of all of us from each of our particular standpoints.
What should my application include?
The essential first step is to complete the brief online form for graduate admissions. We then need you to arrange for the Office of Admissions to be sent official copies of all your transcripts, including all your undergraduate and graduate studies. GRE scores are also essential. Please note that we do not have a cutoff point for standardized test scores; our policy simply requires that we have them before your file can be considered complete. Please go to the Internet and look for the official website of the GRE to schedule the test. If you have taken the GRE within the past five years of your application date, we will accept those scores. Just have them sent to the Office of Admissions. In addition to these official records, we will need a resume (or curriculum vitae) as well as a statement of purpose explaining why you would like to undertake our program, together with a writing sample. The writing sample may be on whatever theological, religious, pastoral or related philosophical topic that shows your work at its best. It must be 20 pages long, and could consist of more than one shorter work, or a single lengthy work. We also need at least three letters of reference that can address your academic readiness for a Ph.D. program in practical theology.
What if I do not have a master’s degree in theology?
Applicants must have a master’s degree, ordinarily in theology or ministry. Those who have a master’s degree in an allied field, but no courses in theology, may be considered on a case by case basis, but they must complete a minimum of 15 credits in masters’ level coursework in theology prior to admission as doctoral students. The St. Thomas University School of Theology and Ministry offers such master’s level courses, and those needing such coursework are encouraged to contact the director of the master’s level programs directly.
What sorts of scholarships are available?
St. Thomas University offers Practical Theology Scholarships to those who have been successfully admitted to the program. Such scholarships are tuition based. They are available throughout a student’s precandidacy studies (42 credits) but not for candidacy studies (the final 12 credits). For candidacy study, a diversity of external programs exist for dissertation fellowships. All candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for such funding. Such programs, of course, are not administered or controlled by St. Thomas University, and no promises of such candidacy funding may be made by the University.