Feb 27, 2020  
Graduate Studies Catalog 2019-2020 
Graduate Studies Catalog 2019-2020

Theology, MA

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The Master of Arts program in theology is designed to provide for serious academic study of theological topics, both historical and contemporary. The program assumes that students have a reasonable foundation in theological study and the humanities, as described below, as well as an aptitude and interest for more advanced study. The program should be of interest to clergy and religious, to teachers, and to lay persons of any denominational background.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and have a solid background in the humanities. Such a background would almost certainly be assured with at least nine credits in philosophy and 15 credits in theology/religious studies. However, other combinations of credits may be satisfactory. Students who lack the necessary undergraduate preparation but otherwise show promise of success in the program may be provisionally accepted, contingent on completion of certain undergraduate courses. An undergraduate GPA of at least 3.00 (4.00 scale) is expected. Applicants must also submit a writing sample with their application. This should be an academic paper of at least 1,000 words that explores some theologically related issue. Papers previously submitted in undergraduate classes are suitable. Scores from standardized graduate admissions tests are not uniformly required but may be requested in certain cases. For the normal Office of Admission practices in processing and classifying applications, see Admission and Registration section of this catalog.

The Master of Arts in theology requires completion of 30 credits of graduate study.

Core Requirements. The following courses are required of all students (in addition to one from Moral Theology, Systematic Theology, & History):


Students take 15 elective credits: there are four options for how these are distributed.  Students who take the theology thesis option, will take 9 elective credits in Theology, and devote six credits to the thesis. Students who take the standard non-thesis option will take all 15 elective credits in theology courses, and complete comprehensive exams.  Students who take the Education option will take 9 elective credits in theology and 6 in Education (EFND 516  and EFND 521 ), will work with a teaching mentor in the theology department, and will complete comprehensive exams. Students who take the Counseling options will take 9 elective credits in Theology, and 6 credits in Counseling (COUN 501 , and one chosen from among COUN 502 , COUN 503 , COUN 506 , COUN 508 , COUN 584 ) and will complete comprehensive exams.

Capstone Experience

As a final requirement, all students must complete a capstone experience prior to graduation. To fulfill this capstone requirement, students taking all their courses in the Theology department may select a thesis or non-thesis option.

Under the thesis option, after having completed 24 hours of course work, the student devotes his or her final six hours to the thesis. The thesis constitutes the student’s capstone experience in the program. It should be a critical study consisting of no less than 12,000 words, completed under the direction of a faculty mentor. Upon approval of the thesis by the faculty mentor and other designated thesis readers, the student defends the thesis at a public oral defense.

Under the non-thesis option, the student completes all of the required 30 hours of course work. In his or her last semester, or subsequently, the student takes a comprehensive examination, which serves as a capstone experience. The examination is a three-hour written examination testing the student’s comprehensive understanding of the theology he or she has studied. All students taking either Education or Counseling credits will take the comprehensive exam.

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