MA in Spirituality - Online Curriculum
The Master of Arts in Spirituality (MASp): Contemporary Spirituality Concentration is one of two programs in the field of spirituality offered at the Institute of Pastoral Studies / Loyola University Chicago. The MASp: Spiritual Direction Concentration at IPS trains spiritual directors, but it cannot be done online. The MASp: Contemporary Spirituality Concentration is the academic and practical study of the field of spirituality, and it can be completed entirely online.
The Contemporary Spirituality degree emphasizes five areas of study:
- spirituality, including definitions and methods in the field of contemporary spirituality, as well as the history of Christian spirituality;
- biblical foundations;
- theological foundations;
- psychological foundations; and
- practical field experience in spirituality.
An Integration Project near the end of the degree synthesizes these primary study areas.
This degree is suited to persons who desire an intelligent and structured approach to their own spiritual journey. It also provides the requisite spiritual, theological, biblical, and psychological resources for general Christian ministry. Students pursue the M.A. in Contemporary Spirituality through a prescribed curriculum (4 Core Courses, 3 Contemporary Spirituality courses, plus 17credit hours of Electives). Advanced Standing and/or Transfer Credit can be arranged for previous theological, psychological, or ministerial graduate-level study from accredited graduate institutions.
Note: all of the Core and Elective courses for the Contemporary Spirituality degree can be applied to the 72 credit hour Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program at the Institute of Pastoral Studies. Additionally, completion of the M. A. in Contemporary Spirituality qualifies students for the Graduate Certificate Program in Spiritual Direction at IPS in either of its optional formats: the Spiritual Accompaniment Program [SAP], or the Ignatian Exercises Program [IEP]. However, residency in or near Chicago is required for all spiritual direction programs at IPS.
Curriculum: Contemporary Spirituality Concentration / Online
4 Core Courses (at 3 credit hours each) = 12 credit hours
- Foundations of Christian Spirituality (IPS 545)
- Biblical Foundations (IPS 416 – Christian Origins/New Testament or IPS 417 – Literature of Ancient Israel/Old Testament)
- Theological Foundations (IPS 531 – Christian Doctrine)
- Psychological Foundations (IPS 555 – Human Person and Psychological Development)
3 Contemporary Spirituality Concentration Courses = 7 credit hours
- Spiritual Paths in World Religions (IPS 403)
- Christian Moral Theology and Ethics (IPS 553)
- Guided Study in Spiritual Practice (1 hr. of field education in spirituality is required / up to 3 1-hr. Guided Studies in Spiritual Practice are allowed)
Electives = 17 credit hours
The number of elective courses in the Contemporary Spirituality Program is extensive. Students in the MASp: Contemporary Spirituality Concentration may choose from any online course offered in each semester at the IPS. Note: elective courses are offered in yearly cycles, so not in each year. Past elective courses have included the following:
- Catholic Church History I: Patristics to Trent
- Introduction to Theology and Ministry
- Liturgy and the Christian Sacraments
- Foundations of Pastoral Care
- Theology of Suffering
- Healthcare Ethics
- Healthcare Environments and Systems
- Principles of Christian Education
- Religious Education, Evangelization and Cultures
- Church and Mission
- Pastoral Care and Counseling of Men
- Spirituality and Same-Sex Orientation
- Nurturing the Healing Emotions
- Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton
Arrangement for the Integration Project in the final year of study in M.A. in Contemporary Spirituality will be made with the Director of the Master of Arts in Spirituality degree. There are optional designs for this Project fitting with the curriculum requirements of the degree.