What is required for the application to the M.A. in Early Christian Studies?

  • Graduate Admissions Application
  • Statement of Purpose
  • GRE General Test scores (Please contact the Director if you cannot take the test!) 
  • TOEFL or IELTS for non-native speakers of English
  • Transcripts
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Writing Sample
  • Three Letters of Recommendation

The deadline for application to the program is February 1.

For more information, please refer to the Graduate Admissions office

What should be included in the statement of purpose?

The statement of purpose describes your interest in studying early Christian studies. Strong statements often address what has brought the candidate to this field, what academic training he or she has pursued, and what subjects or aspects of Early Christianity appeal as areas of future work.

What is the average GRE score and average GPA of incoming students?

There is no set required GPA. However, competition is keen.

All parts of the GRE are taken into consideration, but not equally. Your Quantitative score will not be as important as the other two, but we really want to see good verbal/analytical writing scores.

The average scores of our incoming class were:
Verbal: 166.7 (96.7%)
Quantitative: 156 (61%)
Analytical: 5.17 (91.3%)

What amount of language study is typically recommended for those seeking admission?
Competition for admission is extremely strong, and adequate preparatory work in languages is crucial. In general, the more languages an applicant knows, the better the chances of admission. Two ancient languages (such as Greek and Latin), with at least one studied at the intermediate level at minimum, is typical. Knowledge of at least one modern language (such as French, German, or Italian) is strongly preferred.

What kind of writing sample should be submitted?
We recommend submitting a writing sample of some 10-15 pages in length. Quality is more important than quantity. A good writing sample demonstrates the applicant's ability to do serious research and to present the results of that research in a clear and persuasive manner. The subject matter of the writing sample should be some topic in the humanities (such as art history, history, literature, or philosophy), though papers dealing with issues involving classics, religious studies, or theology are preferred.

When does the program begin?
All students begin full-time study in the program in the fall. Many incoming students begin their language studies the summer before the program starts.

What are the program requirements?

Proseminar course (3 credits)
Ancient Language A – 2 courses beyond introductory level (6 credits)
Ancient Language B – 2 courses beyond introductory level (6 credits)
History and Ancient Religion – 2 courses (6 credits)
Electives – 3 courses (9 credits)
Theology and Liturgy – 4 courses (12 credits)

1. French or German competency examination (at any time in the two years)
2. Final field exams, based on an individually tailored set of readings and often including some translation of ancient texts

Can I transfer credits?
We do not accept transfer credits.

Are campus visits possible?
Yes, we welcome campus visits and strongly encourage them. Prospective students frequently come for a visit and sit in on classes that are especially of interest to them. If you are planning to visit, please let us know so that we can meet you and respond to any questions that you may have about Notre Dame in general or the ECS program in particular. Courses that are currently being taught are listed on the Notre Dame website. Feel free to contact some of the professors from Classics and Theology if you wish to sit in on their class on a particular day.

What financial support does the program offer?
We only admit students to whom we can give a full tuition scholarship. In addition, the program makes available a modest living stipend of up to $6,250 a year. Students can supplement this stipend by working as a teaching or graduate assistant. Outside funds are usually needed to cover living expenses.

What is the size of the program and classes?
Typically, 3 students are admitted each year. Class size varies, depending on the type. Theology classes usually range from 12 to 30, while language classes are often much smaller.

What time period is most focused upon in courses offerings?
The program focuses on early Christian thought, literature, and practice, beginning with the New Testament and generally extending through the fifth century in the West and the eighth century in the East.

What fields of doctoral study have graduates of the ECS program entered?
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.

At what universities have ECS graduates done or are doing doctoral work?
Among the universities where ECS alumni have earned doctoral degrees or are currently students are Brown, Catholic University of America, Chicago, Duke, Marquette, New York University, Oxford, Princeton, Princeton Theological Seminary, UCLA, and, of course, Notre Dame.