James Waddell

Director of the Masters Program

Associate Professor of Biblical Studies

The Master of Arts (MA) degree program offers a course of study in Biblical Studies. The MA program is intended to prepare students to pursue further graduate study in their chosen discipline.

While the professional Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry (MAPM) degree program focuses on church-related vocations, students in the academic MA degree program have the opportunity to pursue the academic study of religion in preparation for advanced master’s degrees like the Th.M. and terminal degrees like the Ph.D. The MA degree prepares students for careers in teaching and other scholarly endeavors. For those in ministry vocations, who prefer a scholarly approach to religious studies, this program may also be of interest.

The academic MA degree is offered in response to a growing interest in programs that offer an alternative to the MDiv degree. The majority of our students are second and third-career persons, many of whom are already ordained locally and involved in ministry as pastors, ministers, and lay leaders. Students will study with highly qualified faculty in their areas of concentration.

MA (Academic) Student Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate a diverse knowledge of Scripture, theology, ethics and moral theology in historic and the modern global context.

  • Understand how contextuality informs theological interpretation.

  • Interpret Scripture in a wide range of ministry contexts.

  • Understand how contextuality informs ethical considerations.

  • Perform scholarly interdisciplinary research.

  • Effectively serve faith-based organizations as leaders and teachers.

  • Ability to utilize multiple theological methodological approaches.

  • Produce a scholarly thesis/research paper.

Our recruitment team and admissions personnel are ready to assist you. To apply for the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry Program, please prepare and submit the following:

  • Complete an On-line Application

  • Two signed Letters of Recommendation

  • Resume, or Biographical Sketch

  • Official transcript of credits from all educational institutions attended

Email directly to

Rev. Dr. James Waddell


An interview with the Program Director may be required based on an evaluation of your completed admission file. The final admission decision will be made by the Admissions Committee on a rolling basis.


The academic MA requires 72 quarter hours to complete. Applicants must possess an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university.  The course requirements include a series of core courses that will offer both breadth and depth in the chosen concentration. In addition to these courses, students have the opportunity to select elective courses from other programs, including the MAPM program. To complete the academic MA, students complete an 8-hour research seminar that culminates in a Masters Thesis approved by the program director and the concentration coordinator.

ETS offers a Master of Arts concentration in Biblical Studies, Theology, and Ethics.

Application Information











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Ecumenical Theological Seminary is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools​ in the United States and Canada, and the following degree programs are approved: MDiv, MA, MA in Pastoral Ministry, DMin.

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