Theology at Aquinas College

Certificate in Theological Studies

Aquinas College offers a Certificate in Theological Studies, originally designed for lay people engaged in ministry: parish catechetical leaders, pastoral associates, youth ministry leaders, parish musicians, Catholic school administrators or teachers.

The Certificate is ideal for Catholics seeking a deeper understanding of their faith, including traditional age students hoping to work in Catholic schools or parish catechesis upon graduation from Aquinas College.

The Certificate in Theological Studies consists of six courses (3 credits each; 18 credits total), which have been chosen to meet diocesan theological standards.

Completion of the following six required courses meet the theological credit requirements for Master Catechist certification by the Diocese of Grand Rapids. They would also fulfill the theological requirements for a minor in theology, so interested students should inquire.

Because Aquinas is a Catholic institution, individuals pursuing the Certificate in Theological Studies as continuing education students receive a tuition fee waiver of 50% for a limited time as an encouragement for enrollment in the Program (Note: This discount may not be combined with other scholarships or discounts offered by Aquinas)

Required Courses
The Certificate in Theological Studies consists in 18 credits of coursework in the form of six 3-credit courses. The curriculum has been designed to build on your current knowledge base and prepare you for further study if that is your desire. The six required courses are:

TY120 Sacraments
An introduction to Sacramental Theology and Liturgy that explores the biblical, historical and liturgical aspects of the Church’s Sacraments.

TY 131 Bible as Story
A theological and literary introduction to the biblical story, from creation to apocalypse. Follows the great themes of the Bible, such as paradise, peoplehood, and the presence of God. Also explores the interpretation of individual narratives, including an in-depth analysis of at least one of the Gospels, and the function of metaphor, image and symbol.

TY 147 The Catholic Vision
This course introduces students to Roman Catholic tradition and its faith, doc-trines, theology, ritual, spirituality and moral life. Its goals include 1) acquainting students with the distinctive spirit of the Catholic vision and tradition as it relates to other Christian denominations and religious traditions; 2) helping students to recognize that Catholicism is a theological heritage that encompasses a rich tradition of persons, doctrines, ways of celebrating, moral living, praying and social justice; and 3) familiarizing students with the challenges that contemporary Catholicism faces in the Third Millennium.

TY 211 Jesus
Explores the New Testament portraits of Jesus, including how the first Christian theologians re-interpreted Jewish scripture. Students will compare episodes in the four Gospels and become aware of images of Christ in narrative, epistle and poetry. Also introduces the "historical Jesus" debate and the cultural setting of the Jesus movement.

TY 212 Vatican II and the American Catholic Experience
This course examines the major documents of the Second Vatican Council and how the paradigm shift experienced impacts the Roman Catholic tradition in the United States since 1965. After setting the historical context of Vatican II and its place in the Catholic theological tradition, the major themes of the council are addressed with a careful reading of select documents. Attention is then given to how the shifts in Vatican II, rooted in the documents, has effected contemporary concerns in the United States such as ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue, understanding of church, the nature of theological reflection and relationship of faith to the world.

TY 250 Christian Morality
An introduction to Christian ethics or moral theology that, from the Catholic moral tradition, considers ethical sources, the meaning of the acting person, and selected sexual, bio-medical and social justice issues. Themes covered include: ethics in a post-modern world, faith and ethics, church authority, conscience, natural law, sin, virtue and making moral decisions.

Theology Minor
Minor Requirements: The Theology Department offers a minor in Theology. A minor is designed to provide an organized format of courses beneficial to students in supplementing their major with courses from the Theology Department. A minor requires a minimum of eighteen (18) semester hours, the specific courses determined in consultation with the department.

Additional Information

For information on Theology courses contact Dr. Stephan Davis, Chair of the Theology Department, at

For specific information about the 50% tuition fee waiver for program participants, contact Aquinas' Student Accounts Office at (616) 632-2864.