USML | Master of Divinity Program

Programs and Degrees

Master of Divinity Program

Master of Divinity Program

The M.Div. program is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools.

Objectives of the Master of Divinity Program

Biblical Studies and Homiletics

Overall Objective: An understanding of the Bible that allows students to interpret Sacred Scripture according to the mind of the Roman Catholic Church in order to preach, teach, live and pray the Scriptures in Spirit and in Truth.
1. To be able to prepare and preach homilies.
2. To be able to lead a bible study group.
3. To be able to answer intelligently parishioners’ questions about Scripture.
4. To own and be able to use commentaries and other biblical source materials.
5. To develop a biblical view of reality that shapes pastoral practices and proclamation.

Moral Theology 

1. To teach the principles, concepts, dispositions relevant to moral living and their application to everyday life: both for Christian discipleship in general, and for situations encountered in parish life.
2. To critically reflect upon Church teaching in several practical areas, especially social justice, sexual ethics, and medical ethics.

Spiritual Theology 

1. To study and learn the rich spiritual tradition of the Christian faith in order to under-stand how grace calls each person to a deeper relationship with God.
2. To develop future pastors in an understanding and practice of prayer which con-nects them to both the Lord and their people.

Dogmatic Theology 

Overall Objective: The Department of Dogmatic Theology includes the disciplines of Fundamen-tal Theology, Dogmatic Theology, and Sacramental Theology. Catholic theology – faith seeking understanding; mystical contemplation -- is centered on the revelation of God in Jesus Christ.
1. To appreciate the bridging function of fundamental theology between concrete life and faith, between reason and revelation, between philosophy and dogmatic theology;
2. To provide seminarians with the historical, philosophical, and theological contexts in which the Church has existed and to encourage both an appreciation for and a thorough understanding of the Church’s response to the various philosophical and theological questions and problems it has encountered within these contexts.
3. To train seminarians to read conciliar and theological texts analytically and to reflect on them critically in order that they might be grounded in their understanding of the basis upon which faith in the Catholic self-understanding is founded and that they might better perceive/appreciate the complex matrix in which revelation occurs.
4. To enable seminarians to see how doctrine, magisterial teaching, ecclesial structure and canon law take concrete expression in the institutions of the Church and to see the relationship between these aspects of Church, priesthood, and the Church’s life in the world.
5. To consider the topics of: reason, revelation, and faith: Jesus Christ; Mary; soteriolo-gy; the Church; sin and grace; creation; angels; eschatology; sacraments; Orders

Church History 

The goal of the department is to help students develop a historical consciousness appropriate for the Catholic community. Seminarians develop this important trait by:

1. Studying the development of our Church as a spiritual, social and political reality in a wide variety of cultures and circumstances.
2. Acquiring a critical knowledge of the history of the Catholic tradition.
3. Forming an ability to engage in a critical reading of the classics of the Catholic theo-logical tradition.
4. Learning the interpretation of our historical and theological tradition as a creative resource for contemporary Christian life, ongoing renewal, and continuing cultural engagement.

Liturgy and Music 

The seminarian:
1. Learns the fundamentals of liturgy.
2. Acquires an ability to lead the assembly well and to preside prayerfully.
3. Fosters a deep love for the liturgy and an appreciation of the Church’s rites.
4. Is able to implement in parish life the liturgical principles of the Catholic Church learned at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary.
5. Gains the ability to make liturgical deci-sions based on good theology with the ex-ercise of the Christian virtues.
6. Integrates ministerial engagement with liturgical expression.

Pastoral Theology and Canon Law

The seminarian:
1. Understands the dimensions of pastoral situations – individual and group – and min-isters appropriately.
2. Listens, responds, moves to appropriate action in working with people.
3. Brings the Tradition to bear in pastoral situations in word, action, guiding back-ground and self evaluation, growing in sensitivity to the movement of God in life situa-tions.
4. Needs to know that what is being said is important in achieving this objective.
5. Understands the theological implications of his ministerial words and actions.
6. Understands and ministers with the cultural dimensions of situations in mind.
7. Has a particular Catholic understanding of marriage, family, grief, death, bereave-ment, and hospital ministry.
8. Understands and negotiates resolution of conflict.
9. Has a framework and theological vision for parish leadership, administration, supervision, and planning.
10. Understands and acts according to ministerial ethical guidelines.
11. Understands his ministerial strengths and limits.

Canon Law 

1. To learn the basic structure of Canon Law and how it is a true pastoral guide.
2. To study and understand the general norms of Canon Law and how they relate to the People of God and the teaching office of the Church.


Overall Objective: To build positive relationships with English speakers among classmates, parishioners, faculty and staff, and ministry per-sonnel through clear, confident and accurate communication.
1. To know English so that one can achieve the objectives of the Master of Divinity pro-gram.
2. To be able to understand and use the target language effectively.
3. To be competent in proclaiming the Word of God and leading prayer.
4. To acculturate to the USA customs and way of life.
5. To be open to and engaged with individuals from diverse cultures and backgrounds.
6. To gain knowledge in how to access and use language resources for lifelong learning.

Master of Divinity Requirements (111 semster hours)

A. Biblical Studies and Homiletics (24)
Intro to Biblical Studies, Psalms and Wisdom (3)
Pentateuch and Histories (3)
Homiletics I (3)
Pauline Literature (3)
Synoptic Gospels and Acts (3)
Prophets (3)
Johannine Literature (3)
Homiletics II (3)

B. Systematic Theology (24)
Fundamental Theology (2)
Doctrine of God, One and Three (3)
Christology and Soteriology (3)
Anthropology, Creation, Grace and
Eschatology (3)
Ecclesiology and Mariology (3)
Ecum. and Interreligious Dialogue (2)
Sacraments of Initiation (3)
Sacraments of Healing and Vocation (2)
Nature & Mission of the Priesthood (1)
Theology of the Priesthood (2)

C. Church History (12)
Foundations of the Catholic Tradition
33-763 (3)
Medieval & Early Modern 800-1700 (3)
Age of Revolution 1712-1848 (2)
Modern Church History (2)
American Church History (2)

D. Liturgy and Music (10)
Principles of Sacred Liturgy (2)
Liturgical Chant I (1)
Liturgical Chant II (1)
Liturgical Chant III (1)
Liturgical Leadership (1)
Rites Practicum (2)
Mass Practicum (2)

E. Moral Theology (12)
Fundamental Moral Theology (3)
Medical Ethics and Suffering (3)
Sexuality and Vocation (3)
Social Justice (2)
Reconciliation Practicum (1)

F. Spiritual Theology (4)
Spiritual Theology (3)
Spiritual Direction (1)

G. Pastoral Theology and Canon Law (25)
Missiology, Evang. and Culture (3)
Theological Reflection on Catechesis
and Family (1)
Pastoral Care and Counseling (2)
Theological Reflection II (1)
Theological Reflection III (2)
Canon Law I (2)
Canon Law II (2)
Parish Admin. and Leadership (3)
Clinical Pastoral Education (3)
Pastoral Internship (6

Hispanic Track -- Seminarians studying for Chicago and certain other dioceses are required to show proficiency in Spanish language and ministry skills. Mundelein provides a special track in the M.Div. program to meet these objectives. Those who have not studied Spanish take the Introduction to Spanish in First Theology. Normally the Spanish Language Intensive is done in the summer between First and Second Theology. Spanish conversation courses follows the Intensive. Seminarians also take other courses in Ministry, Preaching and Presiding in Hispanic Communities. The intensive and the ministry courses are presumed requirements for the students in the designated dioceses, unless they already demonstrate an acquired facility in Spanish or have a reason to substitute another pastoral language.

Theological Research and Composition -- It is a required course for all First Year Theologians. This is a basic course introducing students to theological reading, composition, and research skills.
Students familiar with theological reading, composition, and research may be exempted from the course by passing the Research Knowledge Survey. The survey is available in the Academic Office and must be returned by the end of Orientation Week.

Comprehensive Examination -- In addition to the successful completion of all other requirements for the M.Div. degree, the student is required to demonstrate his theological and pastoral proficiency in a two-part comprehensive examiniation.

Grading Policies -- Students will receive a letter grade for all elective and most required courses. The following required courses are taken for Pass/Fail: Presiding at the Eucharist, Reconciliation Practicum, Pastoral Internship, Theological Reflection, Introduction to Liturgical Leadership, Clinical Pastoral Education, and Theological Research and Composition. Students must have a cumulative and current Grade Point Average of 2.5 for each semester for all work attempted, passed or failed, for the M.Div. Degree.

All courses are normally three credit hours unless otherwise indicated.

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