Master of Arts (Catholic Philosophical Studies)

Philosophical studies are fundamental and indispensable to theological studies and the formation of priesthood candidates, according to the Program of Priestly Formation (PPF), Fifth Edition.

For seminarians whose undergraduate education has not included the advanced study of philosophy required to enter the Master of Divinity program, Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology offers a "balanced, comprehensive, integrated, and coherent" (PPF, 155) two-year, graduate-level, pre-theology program, resulting in a Master of Arts (Catholic Philosophical Studies).

The degree consists of 52 credit hours and fulfills the PPF's pre-theology requirement of 30 hours in philosophy and 12 hours in theology.  The program provides an integrated curriculum in metaphysics in the historical courses (ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary), as well as in the topical courses (especially Metaphysics: Natural Theology).

Program OutComes

Seminarians who successfully complete the degree will:

  • understand the role and contribution of the Western philosophical tradition in the development and explication of Christian doctrine;

  • interpret philosophical and theological texts in light of the broad Western Christian tradition;

  • express arguments logically and concisely in written and oral form;

  • analyze and critique contemporary issues in light of the Catholic intellectual tradition;

  • understand the philosophical background of terms and theories that are found in the basic framework of Catholic theology.

  • develop a basic understanding of methods appropriate to the study of Catholic doctrine and sacred Scripture

Degree Requirements


I Philosophy

Spirituality Week
45:505 History of Christian Spirituality, part 1



Fall Semester (12 hours)

05:513 Logical Analysis (3 hours) 
05:515 Ancient Philosophy (3 hours) 
10:510 The Creed in History and Theology (3 hours) 
49:501 Human Development and Christian Maturity (3 hours) 


January Interterm (3 hours)
45:505 History of Christian Spirituality, part 2 (3 hours)

Spring Semester (12 hours)
05:520 Medieval Philosophy (3 hours) 
05:530 Philosophy of Nature and Man (3 hours)
62:500 Ecclesiastical Latin I (3 hours)
05:535 Word and Interpretation (3 hours) 

II Philosophy

Spirituality Week (1 hour)
45:506 Introduction to Priestly Spirituality (1 hour)

Fall Semester (12 hours)
05:510 Ethics and Natural Law (3 hours)
05:514 Philosophy of Knowledge (3 hours)
05:523 Modern Philosophy (3 hours)
05:550 Natural Theology (3 hours)
05:550 Metaphysics: Natural Theology (3 hours)

Spring Semester (12 hours)
05:540 Political Philosophy (3 hours)
05:545 Contemporary Philosophy (3 hours) 
20:510 Introduction to Biblical Studies (3 hours)
70:300 MA Concluding Exercise Seminar (3 hours)