USML | Master of Arts in Liturgy

Degree Programs and Application

Master of Arts in Liturgy


The Master of Arts in Liturgy (MAL) is a professional terminal degree which provides the graduate with theologically informed skills for practical liturgical leadership in a diocesan office, parish, or secondary-education program. This program is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools.

I. Prerequisites:

1. A bachelor’s degree.

2. At least 18 hours of course work in theology, philosophy or religious studies, though this may be waived or reconsidered if an applicant presents significant pastoral experience.

3. Official transcripts from all college and graduate programs attended.

4. Three letters of recommendation: from a pastor or religious superior; from a professor or academic instructor, preferably in theology or a related field; from an employer or supervisor in ministry.

5. A Personal Statement explaining the applicant’s interest in the program and professional or ministerial goals.


II. Course Requirements

The Master of Arts in Liturgy can be completed in one of two ways: a student can complete coursework over five consecutive summers or a student can take courses during the academic year, full-time or part-time. The six-week summer session consists of two consecutive units of three weeks each. Four courses will be completed in that time (totaling ten quarter credits). In order to graduate, students must take written and oral comprehensive examinations and complete a supervised project.

A. Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination will normally be taken during the student’s final summer. Examination dates will be arranged in consultation with the Director, the examiners and the student. The examination is designed to enable the student to demonstrate mastery of program material.

B. The Master’s Project

Since the goals of the Institute’s MAL program include providing students with a solid foundation for understanding Catholic liturgy, skill in pastoral practice grounded in the principles of sacramental theology, and to develop facility in providing liturgical education and formation, the program requires a master’s project conducted at the student’s parish or workplace. This project is conceived and designed in conjunction with a faculty advisor and provides an opportunity to integrate classroom learning with actual pastoral circumstances.  See the Liturgical Institute’s Academic Bulletin for more information.

C. Coursework

Three credit courses:

Christian Initiation

Eucharist: Origins and Structure

Matrimony and Orders

Reconciliation, Anointing, Death

Liturgical Year and Liturgy of the Hours

Sacramentals, Blessings, Devotions

Liturgical Traditions East and West

Liturgical Documentationand Law

Liturgical Art and Architecture

Sources and Methods in Liturgiology

History and Spirituality of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite


Two credit courses:

Sacramental Aesthetics

Music and Worship

Eucharist: Theological Issues

Word of God and Liturgy

The Liturgical Movement

Ritual, Symbol and Worship

Principles of Sacramental Theology

Liturgy and Cultural Adaptation

Liturgical Preparation and Training

Project Writing

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