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Graduate Programs in Religious Education

A Catholic College in the Franciscan Tradition

Introduction

In accordance with the guidelines set forth by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, our Religious Education program focuses on ministering in today’s world. Our program challenges students to put theology learned in the classroom into practical applications that make the Word of God relevant to lived experience. This combination of theology and practical application results in the formation of theologically well-informed and competent lay ecclesial ministers.

These programs are taught entirely online by Felician College faculty. Online coursework allows students to fit their studies around their work schedule and lifestyle.

Before beginning the program, students are provided with a comprehensive orientation to familiarize them with the on-line learning tools. Technical support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Felician offers this program at a 50% discount to those eligible persons who share their gifts and talents within the education ministry of the church. This includes individuals such as parish catechetical leaders, diocesan catechetical leaders, pastoral associates, clergy, vowed religious, religious education teachers (K-12), youth ministers, volunteer catechists, RCIA coordinators and other qualified persons.

We are accredited by The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and a member of the National Catholic Educational Association, the National Association of Graduate Programs in Ministry, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership.

We offer Graduate Religious Education in the following programs

  • Master of Arts in Religious Education
  • Post Master's Certificate in Religious Education
  • Graduate Certificate in Religious Education

Our Mission

Our degree and certificate programs seek to make the Word of God, revealed by Jesus, the Christ, expressed through the Catholic Church, dynamic and meaningful to people at every stage of their life.

Our Objectives

The Master of Arts in Religious Education degree and Certificate Programs at Felician College will enable students to:

  • Employ the principles and methods proper for scholarly research in graduate theological and ministerial studies.
  • Integrate biblical, theological, and liturgical studies with Religious Education/Faith Formation ministry
  • Examine Church History and the history of Religious Education as it informs Religious Education/Faith Formation practice.
  • Research the Religious Education/Faith Formation needs of culturally diverse communities
  • Incorporate the principles of sound pedagogy and the human sciences into Religious Education/Faith Formation endeavors.
  • Investigate the role of Religious Education/Faith Formation in a time of increasing ecumenical and inter-religious family and community life.
  • Prepare leaders to meet the challenges of Religious Education/Faith Formation ministry in the Twenty-first Century

Admission Requirements

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
  • Six undergraduate credits in theology or religious studies from a Catholic College. Equivalencies,
    such as diocesan certification, will be considered on a case by case basis. Years of
    experience in religious education ministry or having a master’s degree in a research/writing
    project, if indicated, may be substituted at the discretion of the Program Director.
  • Students with a baccalaureate degree that is without theology/religious studies credits may, upon the approval of the Director, participate in an online reading, research, and writing series.
  • Up to nine graduate credits may be transferred provided they are from an accredited Catholic College or university, a grade of "B" or higher was earned, and the content is similar to MARE Program core courses as determined by the Program Director. Transfer credit cannot be applied to the Graduate or Post-Masters Certificate Programs.
  • A letter of recommendation from a pastor, parish catechetical leader, principal, or diocesan
    administrator attesting to the applicant’s ability to pursue graduate studies in religious education/
    faith formation ministry.
  • An interview by phone or in person with the Director of the Program is required for all applicants. Appointments will be determined by the mutual availability for the applicant and the Director
  • Applicants are to complete a reading/writing assignment, that is provided by the program administrator, to indicate necessary abilities in comprehension, research, and writing skills required for graduate study in education ministry.
  • A verification of identification in the form of either a:
    a. Notarized copy of a valid passport (photo page with signature) or
    b. Notarized copy of a valid government-issued photo (such as a driver’s license)

Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts degree program in Religious Education will consist of eleven required courses. In order to graduate, you must maintain a B- average in all courses.

Post Masters Certificate Requirements

Candidates for the Post Masters Certificate must possess a Masters degree in Theology, Ministry, or a related field, complete 24 credits and maintain a B- average in all courses.

Graduate Certificate Requirements

Candidates for the Graduate Certificate must possess a Bachelor's degree with 3 - 6 undergraduate religious Studies credits or equivalents, complete 18 credits and maintain a B- average in all courses.

**Course RELS 506 - "The Psychology and Pedagogy of Religious Education" is mandatory for both Graduate and Post-Masters Certificate students. The remaining five courses are selected in consultation with the program administrator.

Program Schedule

Courses are offered in trimesters of 12 weeks each.

Course Schedule for the Academic Year 2014-2015 is as follows:

Winter Trimester 2014: January 8 - April 3
Spring Trimester   2014: April 9 - June 26
Fall Trimester 2014: September 10 - December 4
Winter Trimester 2015: January 7 - April 2

Required Core Courses

RELS 501 Leadership in Education Ministry - 3 credits
Recognizing specific competencies for lay ministry, the document, Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, determines the necessity for lay ecclesial ministers to be cultivated in leadership  qualities. Through the facilitation of a variety of faculty, this course will allow the education minister to study leadership qualities based on the example of Jesus the Christ in order that they may inspire and enable others to fulfill their baptismal calling.


 RELS 502 Sacramental Theology for the Religious Educator - 3 credits
The focus of this course will be sacramental preparation and meaningful rituals based on biblical, theological, and liturgical foundations. Attention will be given to the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) as a core perspective for community, conversion and growth.


RELS 503 Religious Education Through the Scriptures - 3 credits
This course will analyze both the content and context of Biblical themes, images, and personalities as they apply to the life of a Christian. Strategies to teach and use the Bible in developmentally appropriate ways will be stressed.


RELS 504 Educating for Social Justice - 3 credits
This course will examine the theme of social wisdom in the Church - arising from biblical insights, Church writings and various philosophies, and recent experiences of the People of God animating their faith in justice. Principles of Catholic Social Teaching and their application to contemporary issues will be analyzed. Students will be challenged to think globally but to act locally via the application of Catholic Social Teaching within the local church and parochial structures.


RELS 505 A Comprehensive Approach to Moral Education - 3 credits
Course content will focus on essential elements, distinct methodologies and overall purpose of morality to the life of a Christian. Included will be ethical models, conscience formation, the role of Scripture and the nature of Church norms. A focus will be on religious methods that help shape a moral life.


RELS 506 The Psychology and Pedagogy of Religious Education - 3 credits
This course will investigate the psychological, philosophical and historical constructs involved in Religious Education. Specifically, current research in educational and developmental psychology will be introduced to help create optimal and developmentally appropriate Religious Education learning environments.


RELS 508 The History And Heritage of the Catholic Church - 3 credits
Through a historical study of the Church, Religious Educators will have a context in which to explore the theological, devotional, sociological and political aspects of the Catholic tradition. In addition, an understanding of the heritage of the Catholic Church enables the religious educator to participate more intelligently within the life and ministry of the Church.


RELS 509 Theological Issues for the Religious Educator - 3 credits
A study of critical theological issues such as faith, creation, redemption, resurrection, sin, grace, eschatology, and the doctrine of God and the Trinity, will be examined through the lens of the Creed, other Church documents, and theologians. Approaches to teaching these foundational articles of faith will be investigated.


RELS 510 Religious Education for a Spiritual Life - 3 credits
This course will explore the history, nature, theological and scriptural foundations of spirituality though out the history of the Church. Students will analyze how Religious Educators can inspire, support, and guide spiritual formation in ways that meet individual and community needs.


RELS 511 Religious Education for Ecumenism & Inter-Religious Dialogue - 3 credits
This course will study the history and theology of ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue in the Catholic Church. In response to trends such as religious pluralism and inter-faith marriages, Religious Education programs that promote respect, understanding and focus on common values will be explored.


RELS 512 – Education Ministry in a Technological World - 3 credits
This course is the capstone course for the MARE Program. It provides an overview and experience of a variety of technologies and their application for educational ministry. Students will explore and use technological resources particularly Computer Mediated Instruction (CMI) and the Internet to supplement or to provide alternate delivery systems for Religious Education/Faith Formation activities across the life span. As a capstone course, the student will incorporate research, application, and material from all previous courses. The student will create projects that demonstrate competence using technology to enhance and enrich education ministry culminating in a scholarly project presentation.
Prerequisites: completion of all required MARE courses or permission of the Executive Director of MARE


RELS 520 Integrated Project or Thesis - 3 credits
The integrated project or thesis provides an opportunity for a student to complete a missed course in order to graduate in a timely manner. Permission of the Executive Director of MARE must be obtained upon completing 27 credits. The integration of theological research and Religious Education studies with ministerial activities and/or concerns is required. The project/thesis in most instances must be related to the missed course material and is to be constructed in such a way that it contributes to or can be implemented in an actual Religious Education setting. The project or thesis will be completed under the direction of a graduate faculty mentor.

Contact Information

Marylin Kravatz-Toolan, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Graduate Programs in Religious Education

Discount Policy

Ministerial Discount of up to 50% is available to qualified individuals.

A Ministerial Discount form, further describing the discount criteria, is included with the application. It must be completed, signed by a pastor, principal, DARE, or appropriate administrator and mailed directly to the Admissions Office in a diocesan, parish or school envelope.

Policies

Auditing - Auditing of online courses is not permitted.

Cancellation of Courses - Insufficient enrollment for a course or any other substantial reason deemed necessary by the Vice President for Academic Affairs may bring about the cancellation of courses from the semester schedule.

Course Orientation - Participation in a course orientation is required to familiarize students with the online environment, particularly the discussion forum. In addition and as part of the orientation, students will be expected to complete the eCollege student tutorial.

Incomplete Policy - All coursework must be completed by the last day of class. An incomplete grade may be granted in the following cases: hospitalization, serious illness, death in the immediate family, or unusual circumstances beyond the control of the student. Request for an incomplete must be emailed before the final class. Permission for an incomplete requires the approval of the Professor, Chair of the Graduate Program, and Division Director. An incomplete must be resolved no later than four weeks after the last day of class.

Participation and Attendance - Attendance and participation are measured by meeting assignment deadlines, actively participating in class discussions with meaningful comments, questions, ideas, and collaboration with online colleagues in course projects.  A student who does not log on for a week without contacting the professor will be considered an unofficial withdrawal and will not be allowed to continue in the course. If illness, an emergency, or some other serious situation prevents a student from any of the stated activities, the professor must be emailed immediately.

Tuition Refund Policy - Withdrawal requires an email request. Fees are not refundable. Cancelled classes = 100%. Withdrawal before the start of the second week of class = 100% Tuition Refund. Withdrawal before the start of the third week of class = 50% Tuition Refund. Withdrawal after the start of the third week of class = 0% Tuition Refund

Unacceptable Conduct - As a Catholic College in the Franciscan tradition, Felician College values scholarship and truth as integral parts of its academic identity. All students are governed by the regulations and provisions printed in the College catalog, Student Handbook, and Honor Code. Cheating, plagiarizing, or otherwise falsifying study results is prohibited. Unacceptable online conduct includes, but is not limited to, postings that are racist, derogatory, inflammatory, condescending, rude or in any way offensive and will result in a student being denied further access to the course.

Withdrawal - The professor must be notified via email. Drop forms, withdrawal forms, and leave of absence forms must be obtained by calling the Registrar's Office at 201-559-6038. If this procedure is not followed, the student will receive a grade of "F".

How Does Online Learning Work?

The Internet is the biggest technological change in education and learning since the advent of the printed book some 500 years ago. Simply defined, online education refers to courses offered via the Internet.

The Student:

In order for students to "attend" an online course they must have access to a computer, the Internet, have basic computer literacy skills such as email, Internet searches, send attachments, have good written communication skills, and be motivated to succeed in a nontraditional learning environment through active participation. Students can access a course 24/7. It should be noted that an investment of approximately nine hours per week is necessary to stay current in a course.

The Faculty:

All courses are taught by full-time faculty who hold doctoral degrees in relevant fields, possess the Mandatum, and are trained and certified in online teaching/learning. The professor acts as a mentor in an online course by facilitating the discovery of learning and in creating an atmosphere of collaboration and interaction.

The Curriculum:

Course content is organized in modules with clear deadlines for assignments. The curriculum is designed to provide maximum dialogue among the participants.

Technology and Computer Needs:

Felician College is licensed to use eCollege as the online courseware program. eCollege is user friendly and provides an online tutorial for students to become familiar with the tools that will be used in a course. eCollege provides access to all aspects of the course, syllabi, course calendar, announcements, student web pages, chat rooms, e-mail, electronic forums that organize discussions, and quick access to the Internet and Felician's library for research. 

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