Why does the IPT operate in a weekend format around the country?

The non-traditional, one-weekend-a-month format was designed for the person who is employed and/or raising a family, i.e., the vast majority of Catholics who are eager to know more about their faith but cannot attend class full time. For those who do not have easy access to a nationally known university like Ave Maria, the IPT brings the program to them. As long as a person is willing to commit to the work load expected of a graduate program, he or she is able to attain a Masters degree while fulfilling the obligations of work and family.

What do people do with this degree?

The words of Hosea are as relevant today as they were then: "My people perish for lack of knowledge" (Hos 4:6). Everyone has the duty of obtaining a formation that is adequate for fulfilling his vocation. In growing numbers, this takes the form of graduate level theological studies for the purpose of fully embracing the call to holiness and an active promotion of the mission of Christ's Church. The MTS degree program provides the theological, spiritual, and pastoral foundations for effective engagement in the New Evangelization, and IPT graduates are involved in virtually every aspect of the Church's life: education (RCIA, catechesis, Catholic schools), the permanent diaconate, social justice, pro-life apostolates, marriage and family life, liturgical ministry, and ecclesial administration.

What if I have no prior course work in theology?

The majority of our students do not have undergraduate degrees in theology, and many have not taken theology courses for credit. Our application process is instrumental in developing a profile to determine a candidate's aptitude for graduate studies in pastoral theology. Outside of a background in the liberal arts or theology, we look for participation in programs of formation, attendance at conferences, experience in service in the Church, the quality and quantity of books studied, and an ability to write.

Is the program the same at the various locations?

Yes. The curriculum of the MTS degree program does not vary, except for two electives. The regular faculty of the IPT teach the majority of courses, and when adjuncts are employed, they are selected according to the same criteria as regular faculty: fidelity to the Magisterium, theological expertise, pastoral experience, and proven effectiveness in teaching.

Can I begin the program at any time?

The MTS degree curriculum is designed to be integrated and systematic, which means that the courses not only build on one another but also have a pastoral orientation woven throughout. This makes it difficult for a student, even with a background in theology, to begin the program mid-stream.

How long does the MTS degree program take?

The MTS degree program requires 36 credits for completion. Three two-credit courses are offered each semester, so that a regular student can complete the program in three years.

If I cannot take a full load of courses, can I still participate?

Though the program is designed to meet the needs of students who must balance the responsibilities of family and job, there are sometimes circumstances that may require a student to reduce his or her course load and continue in the program part-time. While this option is possible, it is not recommended because of the impact that it has on the scheduling of the remaining courses. Nevertheless, the IPT works closely with students to ensure their smooth progress regardless of what life sends their way.

What are the qualifications of the IPT faculty?

The IPT attracts students who are in love with Jesus Christ, His Church, and the truth of the Catholic faith. They rightly expect to find the same dispositions in their teachers. All IPT faculty are faithful to the Magisterium and have received the mandatum docendi (mandate to teach) from the local bishop. They have advanced theological credentials and a proven record of effectiveness in teaching. Often they have backgrounds in pastoral service. The knowledge and experience of the IPT professors join with the eagerness of our students to create a class environment that many of our students describe as being like a spiritual retreat.

How can I get the IPT to come to my location?

In order to decide whether the MTS degree program is suitable for a particular area, the IPT first determines if there is sufficient interest. Then we consult with the local bishop to seek his approval and support, without which the IPT will not proceed. Next, we petition the state and regional accrediting agency for authorization to operate the new site. If you would like to know more about bringing the MTS degree program to your area and know of others who are interested, please contact the IPT office.