Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology

Master of Divinity Program Requirements

The Master of Divinity (MDiv) program is designed to prepare clerical candidates for general apostolic, ministerial, pastoral, and administrative leadership in the Church. This program encourages a human and graced discipleship with Christ in the context of the ordained priesthoodLay students should explore the MA Theology program. 

As a center of studies for the Western Dominican Province, DSPT aligns the MDiv program with the requirements articulated in the Formation Documents for Student Friars. Our curriculum follows the general requirements of the Program of Priestly Formation of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops which governs the preparation of clerical candidates for dioceses in the US.

Required Courses

Goals and Outcomes

As the PPF calls for a priestly formation that is “in communion with Jesus,” enabling “participation in his mission” (see PPF nos. 7-9), the outcomes for the MDiv program express how the candidates will develop this communion with Christ and participation in his mission, a mission that is understood under the aspect of the three-fold office of Jesus Christ the High Priest, who is Prophet, Priest, and King. Furthermore, as a Center of Studies of the Order of Preachers, DSPT places an emphasis on fostering the prophetic element, while also developing the priestly and kingly aspects. The outcomes also relate to the four pillars of formation for clerical candidates articulated in the Program of Priestly Formation (PPF), namely: a) intellectual; b) pastoral; c) human; and d) spiritual. At DSPT, these pillars are viewed through a lens which encourages a human and graced discipleship with Christ in the context of the ordained priesthood.

The overall focus of these outcomes is to inculcate knowledge of the religious and particularly theological heritage of the Roman Catholic Church; to foster the human and cultural contexts of priestly life; to nurture evangelical characteristics of the priestly following of Christ; and to instill a capacity for ministerial and public leadership.

By the end of the program, students will demonstrate ministerial and pastoral competency through the ability:

  1. to communicate simply, accurately, and effectively the theological tradition of the Roman Catholic Church through preaching, teaching, and writing;
  2. to preach in a manner that is grounded in scholarly methods of biblical interpretation, and is doctrinally sound, pastorally focused, and rhetorically effective;
  3. to analyze, assess, and critique theological perspectives through scriptural, historical, and systematic theological methods, and to assist others in doing the same;
  4. to fulfill their responsibilities with the moral, intellectual, psychological, and emotional maturity that grounds vigorous discipleship of Christ and priestly service to others;
  5. to lead a faith community in prayer, worship and theological reflection, centered on the Eucharist, respecting both the liturgical tradition of the Church and the pastoral needs of the local community;
  6. to apply the principles of the moral theology of St. Thomas Aquinas to pastoral situations in general and confessional situations in particular;
  7. to both lead and work collaboratively with others in a just, charitable, and generous manner, respecting the relevant cultural, social, and ecclesial circumstances, all the while maintaining professional, ethical boundaries;
  8. to foster Church communion, demonstrated through personal and liturgical prayer, regular observance, and life in community.

The Learning Environment and Primary Formation Community

The DSPT MDiv program presupposes a dynamic learning environment which supports the holistic development of each clerical candidate. The Faculty at DSPT works collaboratively with other entities to ground the discipleship of Christ of the clerical candidate in personal maturity, intellectual accomplishment, and pastoral leadership. In addition to the academic learning community found at DSPT and across the GTU, MDiv students are assigned a primary formation community according to their own particular vocation. Students are normally assigned to the primary formation community by their proper ordinary. For students who are members of WDP this community is normally St. Albert Priory. The primary formation community is charged with guiding the candidate in human and spiritual formation as articulated in the respective documents particular to the religious community, e.g. the formation documents of WDP that are listed above.


The MDiv program is a three-year program which requires 72 semester units of coursework as outlined below. In order to fulfill the requirements of the Ratio Studiorum, students of the Western Dominican Province must take an additional 18 units of coursework (Complementary Curriculum). Those students who are from other religious communities or dioceses must follow the specific directives of their community superior or bishop. Qualified students may wish to apply this additional year of coursework towards a concurrent MDiv/MA (Theology) option.

Introduction to Theology and Ministry - 12 units

  • Basics: Biblical Studies and Biblical Spirituality (BSSP 1066)  – must take 2 of these modules or the equivalent before taking required OT courses.
  • Introduction to New Testament (NT 1003) (3) - Students must take this course before taking required NT courses.
  • Pastoral Counseling (3)
  • Introduction to Field Ministry (3)

History of the Church - 6 units

  • History of Christianity I (3)
  • History of Christianity II (3)

Sacred Scripture - 12 units (6 units in each OT & NT)

  • Pentateuch (3)
  • Prophets (3), Wisdom (3), or other thematic course offering
  • Any two of the three NT offerings in Synoptic Gospels (3), Johannine Corpus (3), or Pauline Corpus (3)

Systematic Theology - 27 units

Dogmatic Theology

  • Theology: Nature and Method (3)
  • Historical Development of Christology (3)
  • Trinity (A) (3)
  • Theology of Sacraments (B) (3)
  • Ecclesiology (B) (3)
  • Theological Anthropology (A) (3)

Moral Theology

  • Fundamental Moral Theology (3)
  • Roman Catholic Sexual Ethics (B) (3)
  • Roman Catholic Social Teaching (B) (3)

Pastoral Theology - 15 units

  • Preaching (3)
  • Liturgy (3)
  • Canon Law/ Marriage (3)
  • Confessional Ministry (A) (1.5)
  • Celebration of the Sacraments (A) (1.5)
  • FE 2150, Pastoral Ministry Internship (3)

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Related Links


stay on track

  • The best place for you to find details about the MDiv program requirements is in section IV of the Student Handbook.
  • MDiv Program Course Checklist - review with your advisor at the beginning of each semester.
  • Admissions Requirements - Includes Statement of Purpose, Transcripts, GPA, Academic Writing Sample, GRE Scores, TOEFL/IELTS and Letters of recommendation.
  • The Research Readiness Paper must be completed by the first semester in your program. 
  • Foreign Language Certification must be complete by the third semester of your program. Refer to the GTU MA Handbook.
  • Meet regularly with your Program Advisor.
  • The Thesis Proposal must be submitted by the third semester in your program. 


Jamie Martos
Director of Admissions
510-883-2073 or 888-450-3778

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