Master of Arts (MA) in Spirituality

Chair or Program Director: 

Gregory K. Hillis, Ph.D., Program Director
Alumni Hall 106, Phone 502.272.7800, ghillis@bellarmine.edu

Faculty: 

The Rev. Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty, Ph.D.; Justin Klassen, Ph.D.; The Rev. George Kilcourse, Ph.D.; The Rev. Deborah Prince, Ph.D.; J. Milburn Thompson, Ph.D.

Faculty from the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary include:
The Rev. Claudio Carvalhaes, Ph.D.; Carol J. Cook, Ph.D.; The Rev. Christopher Elwood, Ph.D.; Susan Garrett, Ph.D.; The Rev. David Hester, Ph.D.; Kathryn Johnson, Ph.D.; Amy Plantinga Pauw Ph.D.; The Rev. Dianne Reistroffer, Ph.D.; Marion L. Soards, Ph.D.; The Rev. Patricia K. Tull, Ph.D.; The Rev. J. Bradley Wigger, Ph.D.

In partnership with The Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Bellarmine University offers the Master of Arts in Spirituality. The degree requires 30 graduate credits and is offered in a cohort model over a two year period. In June of each year, a new cohort of students begins the program with a 4-credit “Introductory Seminar in Spirituality.” A 4-credit “Practicum in Spirituality” and a 4-credit “Integrating Seminar in Spirituality” are also integral and required for the degree. The remaining 18 credits are elected from the selection of 3-credit courses. Courses are taught by faculty from the Theology Department at Bellarmine University and from The Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary; courses meet on both campuses, which are conveniently located about one mile apart. Students are expected to complete the 30 credit degree in two years with studies on a part-time basis.

While some students may pursue the M.A. in Spirituality as a professional degree or professional development program, many students from a variety of backgrounds will undertake the degree for personal enhancement and lifelong education. The theological principles that guide Bellarmine’s M.A. in Spirituality are:

  • With the ecumenical tradition, we affirm the anthropology of the unquiet heart, summed up in Augustine’s well-known prayer: “You have made us for Your self and our heart finds no rest until it rests in You.” What is most fundamental about human persons is their need and desire for God.
  • Faith enacted in prayer has public social consequences.
  • In both the shaping of our character and in our outward behavior in the public world, Christian Spirituality is a sign of the Kingdom of God.

The purpose of the degree program is to provide an ecumenical and collaborative teaching-learning experience that focuses on Christian Spirituality. What is Spirituality? Sandra Schneiders defines spirituality as “the experience of consciously striving to integrate one’s life in terms not of isolation and self-absorption, but of self-transcendence toward the ultimate value one perceives.” She adds, “If the ultimate concern is God revealed in Jesus Christ and experienced through the gift of the Holy Spirit within the life of the Church, one is dealing with Christian Spirituality.” Students in the program come from Catholic and Protestant communities of faith and are lay persons and clergy engaged in a variety of ministries.

Requirements for Admission

  • A Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution.
  • A 2.8 (on a 4.0 scale) overall grade point average.
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation: two letters of recommendation from academic references; and one letter of recommendation from a pastoral reference or from a peer-in-ministry reference.
  • The submission of a “Spiritual Autobiography.”
  • Where appropriate, assessment by the Director of the Program to fulfill course requirements in Theology with a reading and/or qualifying exam.
  • If English is not your first language, (regardless of citizenship status) an English test is required. An official score report of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) will need to be submitted (minimum score on iBT, 80). Bellarmine’s TOEFL code is 1056.
  • Additional information is required from international applicants; see the MA in Spirituality admission application form for more information.

For more information contact the Office of Graduate Admission at 1.800.274.4723 x 8258, 502.272.7200, or gradadmissions@bellarmine.edu

Mission

This program educates men and women concerning the living traditions of Christian Spirituality from an ecumenical perspective. Seminars, a practicum, an international study opportunity, and electives chosen from courses in Scripture, historical theology, systematic theology, and ethics combine to offer integrated graduate learning in this highly interdisciplinary academic field.

Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate literacy concerning major developments, major personalties, and major practices in the history of Christian Spirituality.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to understand texts of Christian Spirituality by interpreting their meaning and the context from which they emerged, as well as in the context of their contemporary reappropriation for Christian life.
  • Students will experience and reflect upon the lived experience of the poor, the sick, and the marginalized, thereby discerning justice as a constitutive element of Christian Spirituality.
  • Students will demonstrate their commitment to the principle that faith grounded in Christian Spirituality has public, social consequences.

Degree Requirements

Course Listing