Programs at the School of Theology and Ministry

Whether you are interested in pursuing a BA in Religious Studies, a Graduate degree in preparation for ministry or whether you simply want to learn more about your own faith tradition through academic study, you will find a variety of courses to suit your interests. Our programs and courses are taught by dedicated faculty through a variety of modalities to accommodate your schedule.

The Undergraduate Programs within the School of Theology and Ministry are grounded in Catholic Christian theology taught with a spirit of openness to all religious traditions. Students acquire vital critical skills in discussing the great religions of the world, as well as great religious themes and thinkers in conversation with their contemporary context. The School of Theology and Ministry also offers adult learners three exciting graduate programs aimed at theological competence and ministerial excellence.

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES

Grounded in the rich legacy of the Catholic heritage of faith and reason, the focus of the Religious Studies program at St. Thomas University is one of a global theology. It explores the implications, both practical and pastoral, of faith’s search for understanding. The program respects the religious diversity of our student body and reflects our position that religious understanding is fundamental to peace and justice in the world with its rich array of religions and religious practices. Students explore some of the most creative expressions of the human spirit in its response to personal and cultural concepts of a supreme deity. Special emphasis is placed on Biblical literature, as well as on contemporary expressions of religious thought found in cultures.

Featured Professors

Career Opportunities

  • Further education lecturer
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Primary school teacher
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Youth worker
  • Media / journalism consultant

Curriculum (Course Sampling)

REL 2560 Catholicism
An examination of the foundations of Catholicism, including its theology, spirituality, art, and architecture, from historical and contemporary perspectives.

REL 2300 World Religions
An introduction and broad survey of the major faith traditions of the world, with particular emphasis on the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Eastern religious traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism are introduced.

REL 2240 Surveys of the New Testament
An overview of the formation and the literature of the New Testament. While focusing on the Gospels, this course also examines Acts, the Letters, and Revelation, with historical sensitivity and an eye toward their enduring meaning.

REL 2750 Christian Moral Decision Making
An analysis of the way in which Christian moral decisions can be made. This course involves experience in resolving difficult issues by use of case studies and development of skills in approaching ethical questions and in helping others to do so.

REL 3117 Sports and Religion
An exploration of the ways in which religion and sports interact, intersect, and influence each other in contemporary North American culture. The role/s of myth, ritual, symbol, narrative, and the hero’s journey in all religious experience will be set in juxtaposition with the experience of sports for the athlete, staff, and spectator.

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BACHELOR OF ARTS IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES ONLINE

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) Online degree in Religious Studies is a rigorous and reflective foundation in religious studies that is fundamental to effective leadership in the 21st Century, not only for religious institutions, but for excellent leadership in the wider community and world, as well as preparation for graduate and/or professional education. The program meets the needs of the diocese for Florida and their religious education teachers and reflects Florida’s rich ethnic, racial, and religious diversity. This online degree is designed for the adult learner who has an Associate’s Degree or equivalent coursework, and who is seeking an online format to complete a degree in Religious Studies.

Featured Professors

Career Opportunities

  • Further education lecturer
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Primary school teacher
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Youth worker
  • Media / journalism consultant

Curriculum (Course Sampling)

REL 2560 Catholicism
An examination of the foundations of Catholicism, including its theology, spirituality, art, and architecture, from historical and contemporary perspectives.

REL 2300 World Religions
An introduction and broad survey of the major faith traditions of the world, with particular emphasis on the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Eastern religious traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism are introduced.

REL 2240 Surveys of the New Testament
An overview of the formation and the literature of the New Testament. While focusing on the Gospels, this course also examines Acts, the Letters, and Revelation, with historical sensitivity and an eye toward their enduring meaning.

REL 2750 Christian Moral Decision Making
An analysis of the way in which Christian moral decisions can be made. This course involves experience in resolving difficult issues by use of case studies and development of skills in approaching ethical questions and in helping others to do so.

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MASTER OF DIVINITY

The M.Div. degree is ecumenical at its roots having resulted from our affiliation with the Florida Center for Theological Studies in 2010. Its aim is to educate leaders in theology and ministry for pastoral service. Students preparing for ordination in many Protestant communities study with others who are preparing for ministries such as chaplaincy and education. Classes are offered in hybrid, weekend, and teleconferencing formats to cater to the lives of working adults.

Featured Professors

Career Opportunities

  • Hospital/hospice chaplaincy
  • Pastor/Ordained Minister
  • Military chaplaincy
  • Theology/Religion teacher

Curriculum (Course Sampling)

STM 521 Hebrew Scriptures
Surveys the formation and literature of the Old Testament scriptures. Included is an introduction to Scriptural interpretation and practice in the exegesis of texts.

STM 522 Christian Scriptures
Surveys the formation and literature of the New Testament. Included is an introduction to Scriptural interpretation and practice in the exegesis of texts.

STM 681 Preaching and Presiding
Explores the nature of Christian worship with attention to the ministry of preaching and presiding. This course is designed to provide students with experience in preaching as well as the art of presiding in worship. Students will be encouraged to integrate and show the relevance of biblical texts to contemporary social issues and concerns.

STM 737 Sacrament and Symbol
Examines the sources of God’s self-communication through revelation and focuses on the mediation of God’s presence and the human responses in symbol and sacrament.

STM 641 Ministerial Ethics
Examines personal, congregational, ecclesial, and other ministerial ethical issues facing today’s professional ministers, such as conflicts of interest, handling of money, sexual harassment and misconduct, the necessity of confidentiality, and legal issues pertaining to staff conduct.

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MASTER OF ARTS IN PASTORAL MINISTRIES

Begun in 1980, the 36-credit hour MAPM degree prepares adult learners for the challenges of serving in increasingly complex and varied ministerial contexts, with hundreds of graduates taking up positions across the country. We have offered innovative formats for classes (hybrid, weekend, and teleconferencing options) to cater to the lives of working adults. Students are prepared for a variety of ministries within the church, as well as for further graduate studies.

Featured Professors

Career Opportunities

  • Pastoral care associate
  • Theology/Religion teacher
  • Director of Church Ministries
  • Pastoral Counselor

Curriculum (Course Sampling)

STM 562 Justice Advocacy and Social Transformation
Examines the role of the church as servant in mission to the world and as prophetic community. Students will study means by which ministry responds to contemporary social issues in a prophetic and reconciling manner.

STM 511 Human and Faith Development
Compares theories of human development as focused by adult and family life-cycle theories of the social sciences and theories of faith development as sources for pastoral practice.

STM 512 Method in Ministry
Designed to acquaint the student with the basic research methods used in pastoral action and reflection. Naming the problem, gathering data, analysis and discernment and evaluation will be studied as components that lead to pastoral practice. Each student chooses an area of research from which to develop a pastoral project of action and reflection.

STM 571 Pastoral Care and Counseling
Provides pastoral ministers with the basic principles and human relation skills for counseling in a faith-based setting, including spirituality and value orientation in the counselor/counselee relationship.

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MASTER OF ARTS IN PASTORAL MINISTRIES - Concentration in Religious Education

The MAPM degree prepares adult learners for the challenges of serving in increasingly complex and varied ministerial contexts. The new 36-credit concentration in religious education equips students with the pastoral skills and theological sophistication for nurturing God’s people as religious educators and catechists. Students will explore the theological, philosophical and pedagogical foundations of contemporary and traditional approaches to religious education, while being invited to renew their own approach and agency to forming others for discipleship. We offer classes in hybrid, weekend, and teleconferencing formats to cater to the lives of working adults.

Featured Professors

Career Opportunities

  • Religious Educator
  • Director of religious education

Curriculum (Course Sampling)

STM 551 Contemporary Approaches to Religious Education and Formation
Examines contemporary approaches to calling and forming Christians to faith and discipleship.

STM 552 Historical Foundations of Religious Education
Designed as a survey of historical approaches to the education of Christians. From the catechetical writings of the early church to major treatments on religious education and catechesis in the twentieth century, the wisdom of the ages will be retrieved to inform a living and contemporary faith.

STM 652 Adult Religious Education: Principles and Application (new course)
Drawing on theories of adult development, this course examines the elements critical to an adult expression of faith. It challenges students to discern what a mature faith demands for contemporary ministerial contexts.

STM 654 Adolescent Faith Formation (new course)
Explores elements critical to the education of adolescents. Attends to their specific developmental needs and capacities, examines the social contexts that shape adolescent development, and pursues pedagogical strategies faith formation and expression.

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DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY IN PRACTICAL THEOLOGY

The PhD in Practical Theology at St. Thomas University is the only program of its kind at a Catholic institution in the United States. It emphasizes sound theological research, the skills of social analysis, and lived experience. It employs a collaborative educational approach among a community of learners engaging theological and allied disciplines in critical conversation. In addition, the program provides a unique opportunity for scholarly formation deeply rooted in Scripture and Tradition and critically engages contemporary experience and pastoral reality, prophetic and liberating activity, cultural diversity and contextual sensitivity, critical and constructive approaches, and imaginative and artistic spiritual engagement. The doctoral coursework is uniquely in practical theology, thereby giving students an intensive immersion in the field. The strong focus on methodology prepares graduates for a wide array of specialized theological scholarship complemented by faculty strengths in the major areas of contemporary practical theology. Its curriculum reflects the Catholic voice in practical theology as well as a strong engagement across all Christian traditions. The interconfessional and intercultural nature of its students makes for rich conversations, particularly within the larger context of South Florida. Special student conferences, teaching opportunities, and a personal mentoring approach round out the program. Many have published prior to graduating under faculty guidance. Graduates have gone on to serve in faculty positions and taken up other leadership roles in church and society.

Featured Professors

Career Opportunities

With the doctorate in theology, you can find career options for teaching, research, ministerial service such as youth ministry and religious education. You might serve in hospitals ministry or administration, nursing facilities and in specialty areas, such as substance and alcohol abuse programs.

You are prepared to teach in special areas such as church history or other aspects of theology.

The PhD student develops proficiency in theological research and writing and can also prepare you for media work such as a career in television or print journalism.

A doctoral degree in theology is helpful if you want to find employment in social services or humanitarian aid work. Charitable trusts and foundations also hire theology students and some students move into positions as consultants, rather than as employees. By teaching research skills the PhD degree program equips graduates to be analysts often employed by government.

Curriculum (Course Sampling)

STM 811 Contemporary Practical Theology (4 credits)
Introduces major works within practical theology worldwide since the 1960s together with an exploration of practical theological method. Relates developments within practical theology to those within the larger discipline of theology. Students will develop a synthesis of contemporary practical theology suitable for work toward an eventual dissertation topic.

STM 821 Hermeneutics and Methodology in Practical Theology (4 credits)
Presents hermeneutical philosophy and related interpretive fields central to contemporary practical theology, integrating methodological topics with a diversity of perspectives including deconstructionist, critical and postmodern theory. Students will develop philosophical and methodological criticism necessary to advance the contemporary construction of theology in a direction that restores focus on phronesis and recovers the primacy of praxis.

STM 911 Formation and Spirituality in Practical Theology (4 credits)
Examines critical areas of Christian formational practice, including religious education and proclamation, including preaching (didache, kergyma); spiritual theology; theological reflection; spiritual direction; and theological education. Students will be trained to collectively undertake a practical theological examination of their experience of formational practice.

STM 921 Community Life and Pastoral Practice for Practical Theology (4 credits)
Presents congregational studies and Christian community life (koinonia) in light of a practical ecclesiology, including organizational theory, leadership styles, and pastoral care practices. Students will be trained to collectively undertake a practical theological examination of their experience of such practices.

STM 941 Culture and Ritual in Practical Theology (4 credits)
Examines contextual theologies and the theology of culture, including intercultural and postcolonial studies, with particular attention to ritual studies in light of the praxis of worship (leiturgia) and the role of symbol in practical theology. Students will be trained to collectively undertake a practical theological examination of their experience of such practices.

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CERTIFICATE IN THE STUDY OF LOSS AND HEALING

The goal for the Certificate in the Study of Loss and Healing is to promote compassionate and holistic care among professionals, spiritual leaders, and caregivers working with the dying, the bereaved, and others experiencing loss. Through an interdisciplinary approach, this Certificate will cultivate a healing community dedicated to understanding and embracing the diverse cultural, societal, psychological, and spiritual aspect of the grief experience.

Course Sequence

CPS/STM 757 Special Issues in Grieving and Loss
CPS 753 Crisis Intervention and Management
STM 673 Spirituality, Death & Healing
CPS 755 Culture and Death
CPS 754 Counseling Needs of the Dying & Their Families/Caregivers

The Field Experience and Practicum courses are offered every term with prior arrangement with the appropriate faculty member (3-6 months before the term).

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SPIRITUAL COMPANIONSHIP CERTIFICATE PROGRAM

Certificate Earned

Certificate in Spiritual Companionship with Practicum in Daily Life
Certificate in Spiritual Companionship with Practicum in Spiritual Direction

Rooted in the resources of the Christian tradition and experience with its emphasis on direct and loving awareness of the Divine Mystery we call God. We believe God is present in all human experience and that our deepest fulfillment is to awaken as individuals and as communities to the truth and grace of God’s Presence. The practice of Spiritual Direction and Spiritual Companionship fosters a partnership with God’s ongoing work of healing and transformation in both individuals and contemplative attitude rooted in community and attentive to “real life” in the present moment.

Featured Professors

Career Opportunities

  • Ministry of Spiritual Direction in the Church
  • Ministry of Spiritual Direction in Chaplaincy or Hospice Care
  • Pastoral Ministries
  • Complimentary to Counseling Professions
  • Complimentary to Human Services Professions

Curriculum (Course Sampling)

The Spiritual Companionship Program (SCP) has been preparing women and men in the ministry of spiritual direction and spiritual companionship since 1987. SCP classes combine lecture with course work that is experiential and process oriented. During these three years of growth and study, students are assisted in discerning the form in which their personal spiritual gifts may be used to companion others.

Year One: Growth: Beginning the Journey (includes two Saturday retreat days)

  • Introduction to Spiritual Companionship and Spiritual Direction
  • Theological Dimensions in Spirituality
  • Theology
  • Psychology and Human Development
  • Growth and Spiritual Journey

Year Two: Deepening
Over the course of the second year students will make a "Retreat in Daily Life," which involves a contemporary experience of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius given a small group setting. The purpose of the retreat is to help integrate the knowledge gained during the first year with an interior experience of the Divine and with the mystery of being human together. Participants will deepen a contemplative perspective and will develop the skill of listening for and recognizing god’s presence and movement in their own lives and in the lives of others. Students will enter deeply in the life of Jesus of Nazareth by taking part in his life through prayer, through imagination and through their own life experiences. They will develop skill in noticing that the ongoing human journey is a series of highs and lows where God if faithfully and lovingly present and leading us toward wholeness and growth so that we may reach out to others.

Year Three: Strengthening
The third year of the Program is a Practicum designed to give students an opportunit to practice their companionship skills and receive supervision. Students will intensify and strengthen their understanding of the theory and practical art of spiritual companionship or spiritual direction. The year is designed to help students integrate both knowledge and their own personal spiritual growth they have gained in Years 1 and 2 with the theoretical and practical arts of Spiritual Direction or Spiritual Companionship in Daily Life. This year offers:

  • Advanced skills in the practical arts of Spiritual Direction and Spiritual Companionship in Daily Life
  • Supervision of verbatim spiritual companionship and spiritual direction sessions
  • Participation in small peer supervision groups
  • Exploration of specific issues as they arise in the spiritual companionship or spiritual direction relationship


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