Loyola University Chicago

Department of Theology

BA/MA in Theology

The Department of Theology offers undergraduates the unique opportunity to complete a combined BA/MA in Theology in just five years (instead of the customary six). Upon completion of the degree, graduates will be prepared to assume a variety of positions where theological training and competence are in demand, such as teaching theology in a high school/academy, developing educational programs for a parish, or entrance into a doctoral program in theology or religious studies for those interested in life as a professor.

The 5 year BA/MA in Theology aims to:

  • Accelerate the overall time-to-graduation of a student
  • Reduce the total tuition cost of obtaining both degrees
  • Encourage excellent undergraduate students in Theology and Religious Studies to continue their graduate studies at Loyola

Admission to the Graduate Program

First, having majored in theology at the undergraduate level, students will be admitted to the BA/MA program when they have made satisfactory academic progress as an undergraduate student in Theology, having completed a minimum of 60 credit hours toward the degree, with a minimum of 15 credit hours matriculated at Loyola University Chicago with a grade of B or above. Students intending to apply for the joint degree in Theology can formally apply to the Graduate Program in their junior year.

The deadline for their submission is usually March 1st. Students must submit their academic transcript and a written statement of purpose that demonstrates their commitment and dedication to the academic study of Theology, as well as two letters of recommendation. Specific reference should be made to academic coursework and the student’s potential to do graduate-level work in Theology.

Program overview

Students pursuing their BA in Theology take seven entry level and compulsory courses in that field, leaving them with five Theology electives to complete in the first stage of the program. In the proposed accelerated degree, two courses taken in the student’s fourth year would match two of the MA level courses.

While there is some possibility of flexibility here, the courses that would be the most suitable for these electives are Theo 317/318 and two MA level courses in Bible, e.g. Old Testament and New Testament at the 400 level.

The program is jointly administered between the Undergraduate Program Director and the Graduate Program Director in the Theology Department.

Curriculum Requirements

  1. Entry-level courses: Three core courses: Theo 100, a second Tier 200 level core course, and Theo 185 Christian Ethics. Students who choose a core-level ethics course in the Philosophy Department will be required to take an upper-level ethics course in Theology.
  2. Compulsory Courses for the Theology Major:Two to Four compulsory courses (depending on Entry-level course choices)
    • An Old Testament and a New Testament course (at either the 200 or 300 level) [one or both may have already been fulfilled at the 200 level as part of core]
    • A 300-level course in the History of Christian Thought ( Theo 317 or 318);
    • A course in a religious tradition other than Christianity (if not taken at the entry level)
      1. Elective Courses: The additional courses at the 200 or 300 levels required to complete coursework for the major (36 total credits required). At least seven of these must be taken at the 300 level or above.
      2. Capstone Course: In their junior or senior year, Theology Majors must complete a capstone course, Theo 373, which is designed to give students an opportunity to integrate various aspects of their theological education. Students will be expected to draw upon the major sources and disciplines (Scripture, History, Systematic Theology, Ethics) of the Christian tradition with particular attention to the Roman Catholic tradition. The particular faculty member teaching the course may also decide to include at least one other religious tradition outside of Christianity as part of the course content.
      3. Graduate studies: A total of ten (10) courses at the Master’s level, including Old Testament and New Testament at the 400 level, both Theo 317 and 318: History of Christian Thought I & II. These specific courses are intended to be taken in one’s senior year, though this will vary from student to student. The remaining six (6) elective courses are all to be taken as electives at the master’s level after the 4th (‘senior’) year of the BA program. In addition, all MA students take a comprehensive exam at the end of their program.

      Follow Kacie Barrett's journey, graduate of the BA/MA Program in Theology

      I am currently a student at Yale University's Divinity School in their Master of Arts in Religion program with a concentration in History of Christianity. 

      The Theology department was incredibly supportive throughout my time at Loyola and showed me just how interdisciplinary theology can be. It gave space to pursue questions that I had not been able to previously and the BA/MA program allowed for greater depth in engaging with my theological studies and personal research interests. The Theology department made me feel as though I could confidently call myself a theologian and a scholar, with the BA/MA allowing for the space for that identity to develop and flourish. 

      Now I have a robust theological foundation that has allowed me to enter into the next steps of my academic career feeling well prepared and confident in myself and my work as a scholar.