In partnership with the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Bellarmine University offers the Master of Arts in Spirituality. The degree requires 30 graduate credits and is offered in a cohort model over a two year period. In June of each year, a new cohort of 12 matriculated students begins the program with a 4 credit “Introductory Seminar into Spirituality." A 4 credit “Practicum in Spirituality” and a 4 credit “Integrating Seminar in Spirituality” are also integral and required for the degree. The remaining 18 credits are elected from the selection of 3 credit courses. Students are also expected to take MAS 569, Spirituality and Justice: An International Experience, with their cohort. Courses are taught by faculty from the Theology Department at Bellarmine University and from The Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary; courses meet on both campuses, which are conveniently located about one mile apart. Students are expected to complete the 30 credit degree in two years with studies on a part-time basis.
While some students may pursue the M.A. in Spirituality as a professional degree of professional development program, many students from a variety of backgrounds will undertake the degree for personal enhancement and lifelong education.
The theological principles that guide Bellarmine’s M.A. in Spirituality are:
- With the ecumenical tradition, we affirm the anthropology of the unique heart, summed up in Augustine’s well-know prayer: “You have made us for Your self and our heart finds no rest until it rests in You.” What is most fundamental about human persons is their need and desire for God.
- Faith enacted in prayer has public social consequences.
- In both the shaping of our character and in our outward behavior in the public world, Christian Spirituality is a sign of the Kingdom of God.
The purpose of the degree program is to provide an ecumenical and collaborative teaching-learning experience that focuses on Christian Spirituality. What is Spirituality? Sandra Schneider defines spirituality as “the experience of consciously striving to integrate one’s life in terms not of isolation and self-absorption, but of self-transcendence toward the ultimate value one perceives.” She adds, “If the ultimate concern is God revealed in Jesus Christ and experienced through the gift of the Holy Spirit within the life of the Church, one is dealing with Christian Spirituality.” Students in the program come from Catholic and Protestant communities of faith and are lay persons and clergy engaged in a variety of ministries.
Program Admission Requirements
Please submit the following:
- Complete and submit a signed application.
- Submit a non-refundable application fee of $40 (fee waived for Bellarmine alumni). Checks should be made payable to Bellarmine University.
- Final official transcript(s) from each college or university attended should be mailed to the Office of Graduate Admission and not be marked “Issued to Student”.
- If any transcript(s) or undergraduate degree(s) are from an international institution you must provide an official copy of a third party course by course credential evaluation. The following organizations offer this service and information regarding processes and fees available at: www.aacrao.org, www.wes.org and www.ece.org. The Office of Graduate Admission reserves the right to request a certified copy of the original transcript(s).
- If your undergraduate degree is from an international institution, you were born outside the United States, or English is your second language, you will be required to submit an official TOEFLiBT (internet-based test) score and receive a total score of 80 or higher. We will also consider an equivalent score on the IELTS or MELAB tests. The Admission, Progression and Graduation Committee reserves the right to require a TOEFL score from any applicant.
- A Spiritual Autobiography. This typewritten (doublespaced) essay should be 8-10 pages in length. Each applicant will write a unique and personal essay to articulate the applicant’s reflections on spirituality. The essay does not require or expect you to do research; you are not encouraged to posture or to imitate classic spiritual autobiographies. A Spiritual Autobiography might include such topics as: What has been your most fulfilling experience in life, and why do you reverence it? What has been the most difficult hurdle in your life, and how did you work through it? Who have been important mentors in your spiritual growth, and what did they teach you?
- Three letters of recommendation. Two letters of recommendation from academic references and one letter of recommendation from a pastoral reference or from a peer-in-ministry.
- A Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution.
- A 2.8 (on a 4.0 scale) overall grade point average.
- Where appropriate, assessment by the Director of the Program to fulfill course requirements in Theology with a reading and/or qualifying exam.
Please complete all items above under Procedure for Admission and submit the following:
U.S. law requires financial statements from a bank or other financial institution certifying the student’s ability to fund the cost of attendance for one academic year minus the amount of any scholarship dollars received. Figures should be in U.S. dollars and must be certified as an official document by the bank or financial institution. A sponsor may be used if the sponsor attaches a signed affidavit stating that he/she will financially support the student until completion of a degree at Bellarmine University. If a sponsor is used, the sponsor’s bank statement should accompany the letter. The approximate cost is $26,241. This amount includes tuition and fees associated with the program and an average cost for living expenses, books, supplies, health insurance, transportation and personal expenses.
All applications and correspondence relevant to admission should be directed to:
Office of Graduate Admission
Allen Hall, 4th Floor
2001 Newburg Road
Louisville, KY 40205
This program educates men and women concerning the living traditions of Christian Spirituality from an ecumenical perspective. Seminars, a practicum, an international study opportunity, and electives chosen from courses in Scripture, historical theology, systematic theology, and ethics combine to offer integrated graduate learning in this highly interdisciplinary academic field.
For more information on financial aid, click here.