When speaking about the “beautiful profession” of teaching, Pope Francis notes that “on a professional level it is important to update teaching skills […], but teaching is not just a job: it is a relationship in which each teacher must feel fully involved as a person, to give meaning to the educational task towards their students.” Religious educators feel this responsibility particularly strongly, having to maintain not only a strong foundation of theological knowledge, but also a connection to both the long history of Christianity and its evolving, global practice.

The Master of Religious Education degree at Loyola University provides educators with a broad and in-depth exploration of the field of religious education. This online degree program prepares lay ministers working in a variety of religious education contexts to promote within their students a sense of identity, reverence, and responsibility for life and the sacred. The program is open to students of all faiths and emphasizes the practical implications of Christianity’s rich biblical and theological heritage.

Program Requirements

The Master of Religious Education is a 36-credit hour degree program. Requirements consists of:

  • Theological core courses (18 credit hours)
  • Focus area courses (9 credit hours)
  • Elective courses (6 credit hours)
  • Capstone course (3 credit hours)

Included Coursework

Pursuing a Master of Religious Education degree provides students with a set of multi-disciplinary perspectives and methodologies to enrich their practice while at the same time earning a master’s degree from an institution with a long-standing reputation for excellence in education and ministerial formation. To view a helpful breakdown of program requirements for this degree, download the degree program course listing (DPCL).

Some of the courses you can expect to take include:

Grace, Christ, and Spirit

Students are introduced to the rich Christian tradition of theological reflection and teaching on the person of Jesus Christ, the Trinity, and grace, as well as the role of the Holy Spirit in Christian life. In the context of this tradition, students are invited to a deeper understanding of the meaning of salvation in their lives and in their ministry.

Church, Sacraments, and Liturgy

This course presents the experience and theology of church, sacraments, and liturgy as they have unfolded throughout Christian history. A major part of the course is dedicated to a deeper understanding of the meaning of sacramentality and the theology of the individual sacraments in the Catholic tradition. Special emphasis is given to Vatican II and post-conciliar developments in the church’s self-understanding and in the theology and practice of ministry, sacraments, and liturgy.

Spirituality, Morality, and Ethics

Traditional Catholic ethics are examined in the light of Vatican II. Students study the nature of the human person and the meaning of freedom and sin. They also explore the role of Scripture, reason and the natural law, norms, conscience, and Church authority in making moral decisions. Throughout the course, Christian living is placed in the context of personal spirituality and the call to discipleship. Sexual ethics and Catholic social teaching are discussed at length in the course.

Focus Area Courses

In addition to completing the core requirements, students will complete a sequence of courses focusing on religious education. These courses will provide educators with a set of multi-disciplinary perspectives and methodologies to enrich their practice. Courses in this focus area include:

  • Foundations of Religious Education (required)
  • Curriculum Development (required)
  • Religious Education across the Curriculum
  • Catechetical Leadership