Religious Studies

Chairperson: Linda Schearing
Professors: M. Cook, S.J.(Emeritus), J. Dallen (Emeritus), H. Doohan (Emerita), L. Doohan (Emeritus), J. Downey, P. Hartin, R. Large, P. McCormick,J. Milos, C.S.J, A. Nigro, S.J. (Emeritus), L.Schearing, C. Siejk, C. Skok (Emeritus)
, B. Tyrrell, S.J. (Emeritus)
Associate Professors: S. Dunn, R. Hauck, S. Kuder, S.J.,
K. McCruden, J. Sheveland
Assistant Professors: M. Garvin, SNJM, E. Goldstein J. Mudd, M. Rindge, A. Wendlinder
Senior Lecturer: V. Thompson
Lecturer: P. Baraza, A. Bass

Master of Arts in Religious Studies

Concentration areas:
  • Biblical Studies
  • Spirituality
  • Systematic Theology

The Department of Religious Studies at Gonzaga University offers the Master of Arts in Religious Studies degree to meet the needs of persons seeking greater understanding and practical knowledge of biblical studies, systematic theology and spirituality. These programs are designed as a terminal degree or as preparation for doctoral studies. Courses usually required for a degree can be waived by a Graduate Program Director when these areas have been previously studied in depth. Academic advisors ensure that the program has the flexibility to meet the personal and professional needs and interests of each student.

This program provides graduate theological background for teaching, consulting, research, and development of theological resources for ministry, adult education programs, and other services to the Church and the wider civic community. Graduates of these programs have combined their theological work with diverse career commitments, including church ministry, journalism, medicine, community service, chaplaincy, business and law, among others.


Each applicant must submit the following materials:

  1. A completed Gonzaga University Master of Arts in Religious Studies application.
  2. $50.00 non-refundable application fee.
  3. Two confidential letters of recommendation sent by the recommending persons directly to Gonzaga University, c/o Religious Studies Graduate Admissions, using the official Religious Studies Confidential Recommendation Form.
  4. A three to five page piece of the applicant's academic research written (in English). A complete paper is not required; it should be a piece of what the applicant considers a good example of his/her writing/research ability.
  5. A one page statement of purpose (in English) addressing the following two questions:
        A.  Describe your interest in graduate studies and relate this to your chosen area of concentration (Biblical Studies, Spirituality, or Systematic Theology).
        B.  Assess your current strengths and describe what you hope to gain from a Master of Arts in Religious Studies program.
  6. The official score from either the Miller Analogies Test or the GRE general aptitude test (must be less than five years old). This requirement may be waived if applicant has an advanced degree.
  7. Two official transcripts from each college or university attended.  **International applicants must submit foreign transcripts in the original language and also in English.  Only degrees and courses from a regionally accredited institution will be accepted.

International students must also provide the following:

  1. Proof of English proficiency which can be satisfied by one of the following options:
        A.  TOEFL score of 550 or more if graduated from foreign college and where the native language is not English.
        B.  Proof of undergraduate studies (transcript) in the United States.
  2. Completed Financial Declaration with original supporting bank statements.


An application is not complete and will not be evaluated until all materials have been received by the Religious Studies Department. Materials or fees submitted to another party do not constitute application to the program. It is the applicant's responsibility to see to it that materials reach the department; materials (e.g. transcripts) submitted through another party may not be accepted.

Program  Requirements

In order to be certified as a full-time graduate student, students must be registered for a minimum of six credits per semester. Part-time students can take fewer credits. The maximum course-load for graduate students is nine credits per semester.

All work accepted toward a degree is to be completed within a five year period from the date of acceptance into the program, or from the date of the earliest course accepted transfer credits, whichever occurs first.

Students in a degree program are required to maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0. Students who fail to maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average may be put on probation or dismissed from the program. Credits which carry a letter of C-, D, F, AU, X, V, IP, RD or I will not be counted toward a graduate degree.

Only authorized courses for a degree will be counted in computing the grade point average. Courses not authorized will appear on the transcript with a letter grade awarded but will not affect the graduate grade point average.

Requirements: 36 credits
Core Courses: 24 credits
RELI 510 Hebrew Bible/Old Testament 3 credits
RELI 519 New Testament 3 credits
RELI 521 Theological Anthropology 3 credits
RELI 522 Christology 3 credits
RELI 526 Comparative Theologies
3 credits
RELI 530 Christian Moral Theology 3 credits
RELI 535 Theologies of Social Justice 3 credits
One of the following two courses:
RELI 545 Early Church History
RELI 546A Church History from the Reformation
3 credits
Concentration Requirement: 9 credits
Classes include such courses as the following offered on a rotating basis:
Systematic Theology
   RELI 520 Trends in Contemporary Theology 3 credits
   RELI 525 Political Theology 3 credits
   RELI 539 Contemporary Ethical Issues 3 credits
   RELI 540 Ecclesiology 3 credits
   RELI 547 American Religious History 3 credits
   RELI 569 Liturgy and Sacraments
3 credits
Biblical Studies
   RELI 511 Pentateuch 3 credits
   RELI 512 Prophets 3 credits
   RELI 513 Wisdom Literature 3 credits
   RELI 515 Synoptic Gospels 3 credits
   RELI 516 Johannine Literature 3 credits
   RELI 517 Letters of Paul 3 credits
   RELI 518 Apocalyptic Literature 3 credits
   RELI 562 Liturgical-Sacramental Spirituality 3 credits
   RELI 572 Christian Spiritual Traditions 3 credits
   RELI 573 Contemporary Christian Spirituality 3 credits
   RELI 580 Spirituality and Ministry 3 credits
   RELI 581 Ignatian Spirituality 3 credits
   RELI 582 Spirituality and the Adult Life Cycle 3 credits
Final Research Paper: 3 credits

RELI 698 Research 3 credits

  • Students who have completed between 15-18 credits at the end of the semester must do the Candidacy Interview before they will be allowed to enroll in any other courses.  Students must receive at least a 3.0 out of 4.0 grade to pass the Candidacy Interview and complete the degree.
  • The process is intended to affirm students in moving to the completion of their degree or indicate that they are not performing at a satisfactory level to complete graduate work here.
  • The Candidacy process involves a one hour oral interview with 3 members of the faculty.  It is based upon questions that students receive in advance that have been prepared by faculty members who have taught the courses that students have taken.

Financial Aid

The department has a limited amount of financial aid in the form of assistantships and scholarships. They are based on financial need and academic performance.

Graduate Integration Seminar

Theological reflection and the ability to articulate what one has learned are essential elements of theological education. They also provide connections between theory and practice. Through a series of discussions, seminars, reflections and prayer, students integrate academic, spiritual, and ministerial development. These evening sessions, in which all graduate students participate, normally are held about three times a semester.

The Ministry Institute

The Ministry Institute at Mater Dei was founded in 1981 to respond to the Church’s needs for ministers. It assists women and men in discerning or enhancing roles in ministry and in developing spirituality and ministerial identity while doing graduate studies at Gonzaga University. It also provides ministerial development programs for the wider church communities in conjunction with the Department of Religious Studies. The Institute provides an opportunity to integrate personal, academic, and pastoral development in an environment conducive to growth as a faith community.

Formation linking theory and practice is an essential element of theological and pastoral education.

The department encourages participants in its program to reside at the Institute which is located two blocks from the campus.