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School of Theology and Ministry

Certificate of Advanced Specialization, Religious Education (C.A.E.S.)

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C.A.E.S. Program Handbook

The Certificate of Advanced Educational Specialization (C.A.E.S.) is for students who hold masters’ degrees in theology, divinity, religious education or a closely related field and who have at least three years of professional experience in ministry or religious education. The program enables students to deepen their theological and education expertise, develop an educational specialization or broaden their religious education, ministerial and theological background.



  • Thirty-six credit hours of course work. Thirty credit hours for summer students.
  • Course work in core areas of theological and religious educational study, to be determined in consultation with the student’s course selection advisor.
  • An area of “educational specialization.” Ordinarily, C.A.E.S. students should decide on an educational specialization by the completion of 12 credits of study.
  • A cluster of course work and/or directed research that supports the student’s educational specialization. Courses can be taken in the STM, LSOE, Theology Department, and the Boston Theological Institute.
  • The design of a C.A.E.S. Project in the student’s area of educational specialization.
  • Successful oral examination (comprehensives) based on one’s C.A.E.S. project.


A student may select an area of educational specialization from any of the following or create one in consultation with one’s advisor and the Associate Dean, Academic Affairs:

  • Catholic School Leadership
  • Interreligious Understanding
  • Health Care Ministry
  • Hispanic Ministry
  • Liturgy and Worship
  • Pastoral Care
  • Religious Education
  • School Religion Teaching
  • Spirituality and Justice
  • Spiritual Formation
  • Total Community Catechesis
  • Youth and Young Adult Faith


The widest reasonable latitude is encouraged for C.A.E.S. students as they identify a topic for their C.A.E.S. project. Diversity is encouraged in the development of C.A.E.S. projects that reflect the C.A.E.S. student’s vocational and professional investments.  C.A.E.S. projects, however, should have at least these general characteristics:

  • C.A.E.S. projects should be action oriented; that is, even if C.A.E.S. students do not intend to pilot their projects, the projects should be more than speculative.
  • C.A.E.S. projects should possess a theological and religious educational rationale. The actions described and recommended should be both derived from and consistent with opinions informed by theology and religious education.
  • C.A.E.S. projects should be described in a detailed report between 30 and 50 pages in length.
  • A C.A.E.S. student’s project report will serve as the basis for his/ her participation in an oral examination, which will be an hour and a half in length. The student will be examined by two faculty, the student’s advisor and one other reader.

While the C.A.E.S. program is housed in the STM, The Lynch School of Education (LSOE) grants the certificate.



  • At least three years of relevant vocational-occupational experience
  • A master’s degree in a related field

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