Christendom's Graduate School of Theology
Committed to educating in accord with the Vicar of Christ, the Christendom Graduate School enjoys the full support of the Holy See. In light of this special relationship, The Holy See has authorized Christendom to grant the Apostolic Catechetical Diploma, the highest ecclesial award in catechetics.
Master of Arts in Theological Studies
For the Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree, students may choose to concentrate their studies in the disciplines of Systematic Theology, Moral Theology, Catechetics or Theology of the Consecrated Life. Students must earn a minimum of forty-two (42) graduate-level credits for the master's degree, of which six credits may be for a master's thesis. Students must maintain a "B" (3.0) average during the course work, and are expected to become familiar with the works of the NDGS Bibliography, which support the curriculum, provide suggested material for research, and help prepare the student for comprehensive exams. Finally, the student must apply for Candidacy for the Master's Degree, and then pass a Comprehensive Exam including both written and oral portions.
Apostolic Catechetical Diplomas
The Advanced and the Basic Apostolic Catechetical Diplomas are distinct from the academic order of the Master of Arts degree in Theological Studies, although the two may be earned simultaneously. The diploma is awarded by the Holy See in recognition of the catechist's competence in the field of catechetics and his or her personal commitment to teach Catholic doctrine in communion with the Holy See. To receive the Advanced Apostolic Catechetical Diploma, a student must have a Bachelor's Degree and successfully complete forty-two (42) semester hours in required course work, including all course requirements for the Catechetics concentration. The Basic Apostolic Catechetical Diploma may be awarded to those students who do not possess a Bachelor's degree but who fulfill the forty-two semester hours of catechetics course requirements. Research papers are not required of students in the Basic Diploma program, and Comprehensive Exams are not required for either Catechetical Diploma. Students must maintain a "B" (3.0) average in order to be eligible to receive these Apostolic Diplomas. Finally, a students must apply for Candidacy for the Diploma, and must produce a 1,000-word essay on the Role of the Magisterium in catechesis.
Christendom College offers a Graduate Summer Program for those students who wish to pursue graduate Theological studies during summers. Both the Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree and the Apostolic Catechetical Diploma may be earned at the Summer Program, over the course of at least four summers. It is a residential program, held at the main Christendom College campus just outside of Front Royal, Virginia. The NDGS Summer Program runs for six weeks, ending the last week of July. A full cycle of courses is offered each summer, along with several elective courses. Special guest professors often supplement the Christendom faculty for the Summer Program. The beautiful riverside campus with its full range of recreational possibilities provides a perfect milieu for the study, prayer, and good times that make up Christian academic community life. Many of the fall/spring graduate students also chose to attend the summer program, accelerating their studies by going year-round.
Vita Consecrata Institue
For those students who are not interested in a master’s degree, but who want to do more than just “take courses,” the Christendom Graduate School offers several certificate programs. Students may earn certificates in dogmatic theology, moral theology, catechetics, consecrated life, and scriptural studies. Certificate students take the same challenging and informative courses as degree-seeking students. Even students without a bachelor’s degree can earn a certificate, although graduate credit for the courses can only be granted to those who have submitted proof of a bachelor’s degree. Usually five, 3-credit courses are required for each certificate, and a GPA of at least 3.0 (B average) must be maintained.