Applied Theology

Applied Theology

The master of arts in applied theology (M.A.A.T.) is a degree program for religious educators, pastoral ministers, and other outreach service personnel. The program is both focused and flexible, and meets the needs of students who want to explore the major disciplines of theology to create a solid knowledge base for understanding the nature of church life and practice. Our program is not limited to members of the Roman Catholic tradition. Graduates include members of the Lutheran, Methodist, and Episcopal traditions as well.

Our graduates work as lay pastoral associates, directors of religious education, with Catholic Charities or other social justice agencies, and in other important ministries at the diocesan and parish levels. They are equally successful in completing advanced degrees, and work in community service and nonprofit organizations that improve the quality of life for people everywhere. They make a difference.

You will be required to complete 36 semester hours of courses, including a 3-credit pastoral project, professional readings review, or thesis.

Thesis

You can choose to write a thesis of approximately 60 pages in length about an area of theological or pastoral concern. You collaborate with a faculty mentor to choose a topic, and work in close contact with that mentor on the project. Upon successful completion, you formally defend your thesis before a panel of three faculty members. 

Pastoral Project

Instead of writing a thesis, you may choose to undertake a ministerial or patoral project. As a rule, this project involves a minimum of 100 hours of engagement in a chosen pastoral setting. You summarize significant learnings and questions in papers and in discussions with faculty. You then present a carefully documented portfolio tracing your project's development.

Professional Readings

In conjunction with a faculty advisor, you review a significant body of literature related to a particular area of pastoral or theological interest. Results of the review are documented in a 20- to 30-page portfolio.

Contact Us

Institute for Theology and Pastoral Studies
Martin Pion, Ph.D.
Director

413-265-2575
pionm@elms.edu