M.A. in Early Christian Studies

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A Gateway to the Study of Early Christianity and the Late Ancient World

The M.A. degree in Early Christian Studies (ECS) is a two-year interdisciplinary program offered jointly by the Departments of Classics and Theology, with the participation of faculty in several other departments. The program is designed to prepare beginning graduate students for the advanced study of early Christianity and late antiquity in various disciplines and areas of interest.

A Rigorous and Flexible Curriculum

The program is multidisciplinary in its course offerings but interdisciplinary in its basic orientation. It provides training in philology, theology, history, liturgy, art history and philosophy. In addition, students pursue advanced studies in at least two ancient languages relevant for early Christianity (typically, Latin and/or Greek and/or Syriac and/or Hebrew and/or Arabic). Each student develops a curriculum to meet individual needs in consultation with the director of the ECS program and other faculty advisers.

An Excellent Placement Record

85% of graduates from the Early Christian Studies Program have gone on to top-ranked Ph.D. programs. Among the universities where ECS alumni have earned doctoral degrees or are currently students are Berkeley, Brown, Columbia, Catholic University of America, Chicago, Duke, Marquette, New York University, Oxford, Princeton, Princeton Theological Seminary, UCLA, and, of course, Notre Dame. 

Graduates of the ECS program have entered doctoral programs in a large number of different fields of study, including Ancient History, Armenian Studies, Classics, Early Christianity, Historical Theology, History, History of Christianity, Late Antiquity, Literature, Liturgical Studies, Medieval Studies, Near Eastern Studies, New Testament, Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, Patristics, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Syriac Studies, and Theology.

Graduates have also won prestigious fellowships or gone on to study at renowned programs outside of the US (recently, in Oxford and in Leuven).

More Information

For more information about the program, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

You can also go to the Graduate School website for more information or to apply online

Or you can email me directly: Hildegund Müller (Director of Graduate Studies). I'll be happy to answer your questions.


Q&A with Karl Berg on the Early Christian Studies program