Master of Divinity

The MDiv curriculum offered at FST provides an interdisciplinary education with a theological foundation preparing students for careers in education and professional ministry grounded in the Franciscan tradition.


Master of Divinity (MDiv)

A three-year professional degree preparing students for Church ministry, the MDiv offers appropriate preparation for those intending to serve in lay and ordained ecclesial and service ministries. Those pursuing ordained ministry in the Church are required to complete an additional year of theological and ministerial training. Note that completion of the MDiv degree does not entitle the recipient to ordination. Admission to ordination is the decision of local diocesan ordinaries or superiors of religious orders who may have further requirements or expectations.


The following guidelines were used in establishing the Franciscan School of Theology’s MDiv program:

  • National Certification Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministers, approved by the USCCB Commission on Certification and Accreditation, November 2011
  • The Program for Priestly Formation, USCCB, Fifth Ed., 2006
  • Priestly Formation, General Chapter of the Order of Friars Minor, Rome, 1971
  • The Basic Plan for Priestly Formation, The Sacred Congregation for Priestly Formation, Rome, 1970
  • De Formatione Candidatorum ad Sacerdotium Ministeriale et ad Vitam Religiosam, ed. G. Barauna, O.F.M., Rome, 1969
  • Ratio Formationis Franciscanae, Rome, 1991
  • Ratio Studiorum, Order of Friars Minor, Rome, 2001
  • Ratio Studiorum Provincae, Oakland, California, 2005

MDiv Program Learning Outcomes

The program of assessment described here focuses on the Master of Divinity (MDiv). Spiritual, psychological, and pastoral formation are unique to the MDiv.

FST faculty identified eight MDiv Program Outcomes as the student’s ability to:

  1. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the specified theological disciplines
  2. Exhibit a focused knowledge in a chosen theological discipline
  3. Exercise sound practices of compassionate understanding
  4. Communicate coherently, effectively, and persuasively in writing and speaking
  5. Collaborate in a spirit of openness, mutuality, and intercultural sensitivity
  6. Manifest psychological health, display appropriate interpersonal boundaries, understand the responsible exercise of power
  7. Interpret/apply theological learning in religiously and culturally diverse contexts
  8. Demonstrate an integrated spirituality formed by Scripture, theological reflection, and communal worship

The goals of the MDiv program are to prepare students to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the basic documents and heritage of the Roman Catholic Church through instruction in Scripture, church history, systematic theology, liturgy, and moral theology within diverse cultural contexts
  • Develop skills for ministerial leadership through pastoral training, liturgical preparation, preaching, supervised field education, and experiences with diverse cultural groups
  • Achieve personal and spiritual growth and integration through theological reflection, professional ethics training, and a personal ministry statement

Applicants to the MDiv are required to have nine undergraduate semester credit hours in philosophical topics, for example, history of philosophy, ethics, systematic philosophy. Candidates who wish to pursue the MDiv degree but feel they do not meet this criterion should contact the Academic Dean.

Ordination candidates must also present:

  • A letter of approval from their ordinary or religious superior
  • A certificate of completion issued by the applicant’s ordinary or religious superior stating that the applicant has taken a minimum of 30 semester credit hours of undergraduate philosophy or its equivalent as prescribed by the USCCB Program for Priestly Formation

  • Complete 72 semester units as described in the curriculum below, of which a maximum of 18 may be taken at the University of San Diego’s graduate schools.
  • Engage in all field education requirements
  • Maintain an overall 3.0 grade point average in all required and elective courses
  • Be enrolled in the school for at least 6 semesters to fulfill the 3-year full-time tuition residency requirement
  • Complete all work within 6 years of the first semester of enrollment

Certificate in Priestly Formation

Candidates for ordination are required to take a 24-unit Certificate in Priestly Formation covering the sciences and skills necessary for ordination in addition to the requirements of the MDiv program. Note that completion of the Certificate does not entitle the recipient to ordination. Admission to ordination is the decision of local diocesan ordinaries or superiors of religious orders who may have further requirements or expectations.

The Ministry Seminar

MDiv students participate in a series of four ministry seminars, one each semester. The seminars are collaborative teaching and learning environments where students integrate theological, ministerial, and educational insights and understandings. The seminars draw from theology, sociology and psychology of religion, cultural and ethnic studies, and religious education.

In the final semester of the ministry seminar, students prepare a synthesis project under the direction of a faculty advisor in which they address theological questions of critical relevance to a multicultural church and society and apply them to a particular ministerial context and practice. Upon completion of written material, students give oral presentations incorporating multiple learning styles and multicultural sensitivity.



Supervised Field Education

Under the guidance of the Field Education Program Director, MDiv students are assigned to ministry placements made according to their professional goals in areas such as parish work, health care or prison chaplaincy, community organizing, justice and advocacy, retreats, catechetics, campus or university ministry, Christian initiation, or educational leadership.

Curriculum of MDiv Program

  • First Semester
  • Second to Sixth Semesters
  • Third to Sixth Semesters
  • Course Area


    Introduction to Old Testament
    Basic Christian Liturgy
    Basic Systematic Theology (Intro or God and Trinity)
    History of Christianity I (Ancient/Medieval)
  • Course Area


    Fundamental Moral Theology
    History of Christianity II (Reformation/Modern)
    Second Course in Ethics (Choose 1)
     - Social Ethics
     - Other Advanced Ethics
    Introduction to New Testament
    Advanced New Testament Courses (Choose 2)
     - Synoptic Gospels
     - Gospel and Epistles of John
     - Pauline Letters
    Advanced Old Testament Courses (Choose 1)
     - Psalms
     - Wisdom Literature
     - Prophets
    Intercultural Theology
    Ecclesiology: Theology and Ministry in the Church
    Sacramental Theology
    Professional Ethics
  • Course Area


    Ministry Seminar Semester I
    Ministry Seminar Semester II
    Ministry Seminar Semester III
    Ministry Seminar Semester IV (capstone)
    Electives (e.g., pastoral counseling, advanced preaching/prayer leadership, parish administration)