Curriculum

Loyola’s online Bachelor of Arts in Ministry and Theology program consists of 120 credit hours, which includes:

  • 30 Major credit hours
  • 39 Loyola Core credit hours
  • 51 Elective credit hours

Major Courses (30 credits)

RELM 300: Introduction to Ministry (3 crs.)

Taking a broad view of ministry, this course introduces the study and practice of Christian ministry, grounded in scripture and the historical tradition, and focused on contemporary challenges and opportunities.

RELM 370: Christ and the Christian Tradition (3 crs.)

Beginning with scriptural portraits of Jesus in the gospels and letters of Paul, this course presents a broad overview of how Christian communities have experienced and explored the grace of Christ’s presence through the centuries. An emphasis is placed on how God’s self-communication in the Christ event has been interpreted in various cultures.

RELM 330: Church and Sacraments (3 crs.)

This course examines the contemporary understanding of Church and sacraments and explores their implications for ministry and the life of faith today.

RELM 430: Leadership in Ministry (3 crs.)

This course offers a foundation for each student’s development of leadership skills used in the practice of ministry. It considers the qualities, practices, and responsibilities of effective leaders, with special attention paid to biblical-theological and theoretical theories of leadership, teamwork, communication, conflict, decision-making, and the character, responsibilities, and spiritual life of the leader.  

RELM 400: Religious Education in Theory and Practice (3 crs.)

This course investigates foundational questions of religious education with particular focus given to the relationship between theory and practice.

RELM 496: Senior Seminar (3 crs.)

Religious education and pastoral ministry field experiences form the context of this course. The connection of theory and practice shapes the course content with special emphasis placed on problem-raising, problem-solving, and collaboration.
Prerequisite: Students must complete a combination of at least five RELM and/or RELS courses before taking this course. 

Choose one course (3 credits total):

RELS S249: Old Testament as Literature

This course examines the literary, theological, and social-cultural development of the Old Testament with frequent references to the ongoing implications for our modern day situation, both in regard to our religious institutions and society in general.

RELS S247: New Testament as Literature

This course explores the fundamentals of how the Christian Scriptures came to be and identifies the critical issues that challenge modern interpretations of biblical texts. Covers the basic structure, background, content, and theologies of New Testament literature with insights into the social, cultural, literary, and religious contexts in which the early Christian texts arose.

RELM 338: Introduction to the Bible for Ministry

This course introduces students to the Bible in light of the best in contemporary biblical scholarship. It focuses on the Bible not as a museum piece but as the living Word of God that reveals, challenges, comforts, and serves as a crucial resource for ministry.

Choose one Bible Studies course (3 credits total):

RELS S220: Biblical Literature in the Roman and Medieval Context

This course requires students to immerse themselves into the ancient and medieval Roman world where they will explore the social structures and materials that gave shape to the daily life, worship, ethical practices, community structure, organization, and literature of primitive and medieval Christians. May count for credit in the Catholic Studies program.

RELS S225: Humor in the Bible

In this discussion-and-project-based course on humor in the Bible, we will learn the forms, functions, and effects of humor in the social and cultural contexts of the ancient Mediterranean world. In particular, we will study humor in Mesopotamian myths and we will explore humor in Jewish, Greek, and Roman narratives, rhetoric, and comic materials. We will apply two critical methods to our study of biblical humor: a literary analysis and a contextual analysis situated in the ancient world.

RELS A300: Pauline Writings

This course explores the development of Paul’s thought through his epistles, focusing on major themes such as sin, justification, faith, and the body of Christ. Influences on his thought such as Hellenistic philosophical and theological speculations and rabbinic theologizing are also considered.

RELS A315: Johannine Literature

Using literary, historical, and socio-contextual approaches, this course examines the Gospel of John and the epistles of John with focus on the Johannine themes of glory, salvation, love, and service. It also explores the Book of Revelation and its message for ancient and contemporary Christians.

RELS S336: Parables of Jesus

This course studies the cultural and literary contexts of the parables of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and in the Gospel of Thomas. From within the Roman world of imperial politics and the honor-shame culture of the Mediterranean world, students examine how the parables might have been heard by ancient Christian audiences and how they challenge modern Christians.

Choose one Ethics course (3 credits total):

RELS S242: Christian Ethics

This class is an introduction to the broader Christian conversation on ethical issues with a view towards creating intelligent participants: Students gain a coherent set of concepts to both identify and think through the ethical decisions they face every day – not what to think, but rather how to think through these scenarios.

RELM 334: Ethics for Ministers

This course examines ethical conduct in ministry through an emphasis on Catholic ethics, personal spiritual formation, and formation of conscience that is foundational to one’s ethical life. Through a study of the biblical foundations of Christian ethics and ethical systems and their application, students will develop practical skills to address ethical issues and dilemmas they encounter in ministry. Through the development of a personal code of ethics, students will identify principles to guide their conduct in their lives and ministry. Through reflection on virtue ethics, students will practice ongoing spiritual formation that enriches and informs an ethical practice of ministry.

Choose one Ministry and Culture course (3 credits total):

RELS S238: Christianity and Liberation

This course is a study of the historical development of the theology of liberation in Latin America and — following the Ignatian paradigm of experience-reflection-action– explores the relevance of its themes to the current situation in the region and in Latino communities in the US.

RELS A305: Theology of Liberation

Liberation theology is a facet of Catholic theology relating to Jesus Christ’s views of liberation from unjust conditions. The course covers a wide range of topics under this multidisciplinary and unique way of viewing and practicing theology. Significant focus is placed upon understanding how the Latin American context impacts theological praxis. Cross-listing: LAS-A305

RELS S343: Women in Christianity

This course examines in historical terms the tension between the significant religious opportunities available to women in the Christian tradition, and the subordination of women in Christian institutions. This examination begins with women in the scriptures, traces women’s roles in European Christianity through the Reformation, and then focuses on Christian women in America to gain understanding of women’s roles in contemporary American society and in American Christian churches.

RELS S344: Social Policy and the Christian

This course explores current social and moral problems such as terrorism, economic recession, peace and war, and environmental disasters. Drawing on principles of Catholic social ethics, the class examines these events from the diverse assessments that reflect the moral disposition of individuals and nations. An historical perspective is included to enable understanding of the development of social and moral stands of country and church.

RELS A368: Christianity and the Environment

This course will involve participants in the developing understanding of the universe and Earth as divine manifestation. We focus particularly on the Creation-affirming tradition within the Christian tradition and discern its capacity to inform contemporary scientific perspectives and interpretations with an appreciation and articulation of their sacred dimension.

RELS A441: Psychology of Religion

This course is a general introduction to the psychological study of religious behavior, comprising a short history of the subject with special attention to classic writings since 1890, a review of outstanding theories and methods, and a representative sampling of recent research, especially on personality and developments.

Loyola Core Courses (39 credits)

The goal of the Loyola Core is to foster students’ competency in five key areas:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Effective Communication
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Information Literacy
  • Ethical Reasoning

To help students develop these competencies, the Loyola Core embraces an interdisciplinary approach to learning with an emphasis on the spiritual and intellectual, the moral and ethical, the natural and social scientific, the humanistic, and the artistic.

Foundation Courses

Foundation courses should be taken in your first year at Loyola and include:

  • First-Year Seminar
  • English – Critical Reading & Writing
  • Math Models, Finite Math, or Calculus
  • Science Process – Investigating Nature

Knowledge & Values Courses

Students complete courses in the following 9 categories:

  • Creative Arts & Cultures
  • History Sequence (2 courses for 6 total credit hours)
  • Natural Science in Context
  • Philosophy I: Introduction to the Philosophy of Reasoning
  • Philosophy II: Philosophy of Knowledge & Morality
  • Religious Studies I: Christian Traditions
  • Religious Studies II: World Religions
  • Social Science
  • Writing About Literature

Major Substitution: One of the courses in the Loyola Core will be satisfied in each undergraduate major. This is usually the introductory course for each major. The result is the total hours to complete the Loyola Core are reduced to between 39 and 41 credit hours (depending on lab requirements associated with Math and Science courses).

General Elective Courses (51 credits)

The online Bachelor of Arts in Ministry and Theology program requires 51 credits of general electives. There is a wide range of online elective courses to choose from in other departments.

 

Sample Course Progression

Fall 1
  • 1st 8-Week Term
  • RELM 300: Introduction to Ministry
  • Loyola Core or General Elective
  • 2nd 8-Week Term
  • RELS 247, 249, or 338 Bible Course
  • Loyola Core or General Elective
Spring 1
  • 1st 8-Week Term
  • RELM 370: Christ and the Christian Tradition
  • Loyola Core or General Elective
  • 2nd 8-Week Term
  • RELM 400: Rel. Ed. in Theory and Practice
  • Loyola Core or General Elective
Summer 1
  • Bible Studies Course
  • Loyola Core or General Elective
Fall 2
  • 1st 8-Week Term
  • RELM 330: Church and Sacraments
  • Loyola Core or General Elective
  • 2nd 8-Week Term
  • Ethics Course
  • Loyola Core or General Elective
Spring 2
  • 1st 8-Week Term
  • RELM 430: Leadership in Ministry
  • RELM 370: Christ and the Christian Tradition
  • Loyola Core or General Elective
  • 2nd 8-Week Term
  • RELM 496: Senior Seminar
  • RELM 400: Rel. Ed. in Theory and Practice
  • Loyola Core or General Elective
Summer 2
  • Ministry and Culture Course
  • Loyola Core or General Elective