Distance Learning FAQs

Graduate Study (M.A. in Theology and Christian Ministry)

Do you offer a Master of Arts degree?

Yes. We offer the Master of Arts in Theology and Christian Ministry. This is the only degree offered through Distance Learning. M.A. degrees in business, counseling, philosophy, education and nursing are available on-campus only. They are not available through Distance Learning.

How do I apply as a graduate student?

Submit a graduate application, application fee, official copies of all college transcripts, and three recommendation forms. For more information see Admissions Requirements.

Official transcripts are sent to Distance Learning directly from the institution and must arrive in a sealed envelope. Photocopies or faxed copies will not be accepted.

Who can fill out the recommendation forms?

Recommendations do not have to come from academic sources. Your parish priest, Religious Ed director, someone you have worked with in lay ministry or any other professional person (co-worker, supervisor, etc.) may provide recommendations. Family members cannot provide recommendations.

Do I need to submit all of my college transcripts?

Yes. You must submit official transcripts for all institutions listed on your application. Admissions will not process your application until all transcripts have been received.

I have an undergraduate degree in a different field of study and will have to take undergraduate background courses - do I still submit a graduate application?

Yes. Your transcripts will be evaluated as part of the admissions process, and your acceptance letter will include the background requirements that are required for the MA Theology degree.

Do I have to take the GRE to be admitted?

No. No tests are required for admission to the graduate theology program.

What are the requirements for admission to the MA program?

  1. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum quality point average of 3.0 based on a 4.0 scale. If your degree is not in theology or religious studies, you must complete up to six undergraduate background theology courses and two undergraduate background philosophy courses before you will be eligible to begin graduate study. The undergraduate background requirements are available through Distance Learning.
  2. Determination by the Graduate Admissions Board of the candidates potential to be effective and responsible in Christian Ministry.

I have already taken some theology and philosophy courses. Can they be applied toward the undergraduate background requirements?

Your transcripts will be evaluated during the admissions process and the results will be included in your acceptance letter.

Do I have to attend on campus to earn an MA Theology degree?

Yes, there is a residency requirement. You must complete six graduate theology credits (two courses) on campus. These two courses may be taken during two 3-week summer sessions. Several sessions are offered each summer..

What courses are offered during the summer?

The summer course schedule is published toward the end of March. Summer sessions start in May. Please contact the Distance Learning office in March for more information. You may also check for the summer course schedule online.

Do the on-campus courses have to be taken during specific summers?

No. You may fulfill these requirements whenever it is convenient for you.

Is there a foreign language requirement?


How many courses are required to complete the M.A. Theology degree?

12 graduate theology courses (36 credits) are required. This does not include any undergraduate background requirements you may need to complete. If your bachelor’s degree is in another field of study, you may have to complete up to 8 additional courses on the undergraduate level (6 theology courses and 2 philosophy courses) before beginning graduate course work.

Do you accept transfer credits?

Yes. A maximum of six semester hours of previously earned graduate theology credit may be evaluated for possible transfer. Courses waived in lieu of the transferred credits would be decided by the director of Graduate Theology. Only courses taken before entry into the MA program will be considered for transfer. Students should submit the request for transfer of graduate courses upon registration in their first Distance Learning course. Please be sure to include course descriptions with the request.

Is a thesis required for the M.A. Theology degree?

No. Our graduate theology program (both on-campus and distance learning) requires a Comprehensive Examination


Tuition and Financial Aid

How much does Distance Learning cost?

For current costs and fees, check out our Distance Learning Tuition page.

How much do textbooks cost?

Textbook charges vary with each course. Some courses (especially those on the graduate level) have more required reading than others. Textbook charges can range from $20 - $200 per class.

Is financial aid available?

Students enrolled as degree-seeking students in the Master of Arts in Theology and Christian Ministry degree program are eligible to apply for the Federal Direct Loan Program. For information on how to apply for a Direct Loan visit Financial Aid

Are institutional grants or scholarships available?

The only scholarship available is the Africa Scholarship, given once every five years to students living and studying in an African nation. Get more details here.

Are undergraduate (nondegree-seeking) students eligible for financial aid?


Do you offer discounts for clergy or religious?


What about military benefits?

Active duty military personnel may be eligible for tuition assistance. Please contact an approved education services official for more information regarding this option.

If you have questions regarding veteran benefits, please contact the Registrar’s office or registrar@franciscan.edu


Undergraduate Study

Do you offer an Undergraduate Degree?

No - We do not offer an undergraduate degree through Distance Learning. You may take a few courses in theology and philosophy, but you would have to complete the majority of your course work on our Steubenville campus or at another institution.

Can you recommend any institutions that offer undergraduate theology degrees via distance learning?

Internet searches should yield good results; we recommend you do an education search at www.petersons.com.

How do I apply as an undergraduate student?

Submit the undergraduate application, $20 application fee, and official copies of your high school transcript and as well as official transcripts for any college courses you may have already completed.

Official transcripts are sent to Distance Learning directly from the institution and must arrive in a sealed envelope. Photocopies or faxed copies will not be accepted.

I am currently enrolled at another institution. Can I take a Distance Learning course and have it transferred into my current program of study?

Yes. Begin by filling out a transient application form listing the course(s) that you wish to take through Franciscan University Distance Learning. Then have the form signed and sealed by the registrar or other authorized representative for the institution where you are currently enrolled. This verifies that you are a student and have permission to transfer the class(es). Return the completed application to Distance Learning along with the $20 application fee.


Noncredit Courses

I don’t really need college credit. Can I just buy the materials?

  • All of our courses may be purchased on a noncredit basis.
  • Noncredit participants receive the same course materials used by students who enroll for college credit. No applications or transcripts are required.
  • Noncredit participants proceed through the material on their own, at their own pace.
  • Noncredit participants do not have access to assignments, exams, or course facilitators.
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