Master of Arts (Academic)

Director of the Masters Programs James Waddell Associate Professor of Biblical Studies

The Master of Arts (MA) degree program offers a course of study in three academic disciplines: biblical studies, ethics, and theology. 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.

Application Information

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

  • Online Application
  • A non-refundable application fee of $45.00 must be paid at the time of submitting the application. Your application will not be processed until payment has been received. 
  • A formally written “Statement of Purpose.” This paper will be used to assess your critical thinking, self-awareness, and writing skills. It does not have a minimum length, but should adequately represent what you will bring to your studies at ETS academically, theologically, and personally. 
  • Three signed letters of recommendation, one of which must be from your pastor or from another church leader. If you have a difficult time obtaining the letters of recommendation, please contact the admissions office. All recommendation letters must be submitted in a sealed envelope.
  • Official transcripts must be mailed directly from your undergraduate or graduate institution to ETS. Student-issued transcripts are not acceptable. All transcripts must be submitted in a sealed envelope. 

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.

Apply today to take the next step into your future.  We look forward to talking with you soon.

Requirements

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.

 

Program of Study in Ethics

Program of Study in Biblical Studies

Classes

BL5001 Biblical Hebrew I

This is the first quarter of a three quarter sequence in the study of biblical Hebrew.

 ⁄   ⁄  Certificate in Theological Studies, Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

BL5002 Biblical Hebrew II

This is the second quarter of a three quarter sequence in the study of biblical Hebrew.

 ⁄   ⁄  Certificate in Theological Studies, Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

BL5101 Koine Greek I

This is the first quarter of a three-quarter sequence of introductory study of Koine Greek (NT Greek). This course will focus on the mastery of vocabulary and the basic rules of Koine Greek syntax and grammar.

BL5102 Koine Greek II

This is the second quarter of a three-quarter sequence of introductory study of Koine Greek (NT Greek). This course will continue focus on the mastery of vocabulary and the basic rules of Koine Greek syntax and grammar.

BLH6000 Biblical Hebrew Exegesis

This is the Third quarter of a three quarter sequence in the study of biblical Hebrew.

BLK6100 Biblical Greek Exegesis

This is the third quarter of a three-quarter sequence of introductory study of Koine Greek (NT Greek). This course will focus on the details and nuances of biblical exegesis by reading in Greek an entire NT epistle, Ephesians, from beginning to end.

BS5000 Biblical Hermeneutics

This course provides students with a general introduction to the academic study of the Bible, with a focus on exegetical practice and methodology, and is intended to prepare students for BS5100: Introduction to the Hebrew Bible and BS 5200: Introduction to the New Testament, as well as other biblical studies courses.

BS5100 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (OT)

This is a general introductory course to the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). By making use of the results of current archaeological and comparative studies, significant attention is placed on the surrounding cultures of the ancient Near East and their impact on the development of the Hebrew Bible.

BS5200 Introduction to the New Testament

This is a general introductory course to the New Testament with an emphasis on the historical contexts and unique theological perspectives of the individual New Testament texts.

BS6101 Second Temple Judaism and the Dead Sea Scrolls

A basic survey course of Jewish literature from the Second Temple period with an examination of intertextual relationships with the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.

BS7004 The Prophetic Tradition

This course is the second general course in Old Testament and is required at most of the cooperating seminaries.

BS7005 Psalms

The importance of the Psalms in defining the religious thought of the Old Testament is emphasized with particular reference to contemporary scholarship that lays bare the origins and development of the Psalms within their religious and cultural setting.

 ⁄   ⁄  Certificate in Theological Studies, Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

BS7101 Paul the Apostle

This course offers a historical study of Paul’s life and letters with special emphasis on Paul the Jew and the extraordinary matrix of Jewish traditions of the Second Temple period as context for Paul’s intellectual and theological engagement.

BS7102 Gospel of Mark

This course offers a detailed historical study of the Gospel of Mark and its presentation of Jesus as the suffering messiah.

BS7103 Gospel of Matthew

This course offers a detailed historical study of the Gospel of Matthew with its unique emphasis on the Jewishness of Jesus as the son of David messiah, descendant of Abraham, and the Jewishness of Jesus’ earliest followers.

 ⁄   ⁄  Certificate in Theological Studies, Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

BS7104 Luke-Acts

This course offers an in-depth historical critical reading of the two-part New Testament text known as Luke-Acts. Special attention will be given to the author’s unique perspective on justice issues, such as racism, the subversion of cultural expectations of the roles of women, and exploitation of the economically marginalized by the wealthy elite.

BS7105 Johannine Tradition

This course offers a detailed historical analysis of the Johannine Tradition. The focus of this course is an in-depth study of the Gospel of John, the Letters of John, and the Apocalypse of John.

 ⁄   ⁄  Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry

BST7201 Biblical Theology

From the various “theologies” of the Bible, you will explore options in developing a holistic understanding of the biblical message from the biblical text itself.

BST7500 Women and the Bible

This seminar explores the importance of women, gender issues and cultural constructs regarding women in the Bible and its ancient contexts.

ETH6000 Church and Society

The foundational course in the ETS curriculum, exploring issues of community and mission, critical historical topologies of the relationship between Christ and culture and models of the church, and an in-depth focus on the church in contemporary North America in relation to issues of economic justice, racism, patriarchy and the environment.

ETH6100 Theoretical Foundations of Christian Ethics

This course explores the meaning of ethics, the principle sources of ethical wisdom and various systematic approaches dealing with ethical dilemmas.

,  ⁄   ⁄  Certificate in Theological Studies, Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

ETH7002 Human Sexuality and Ethics

GEN5001 Introduction to Theological Writing and Research

This required course for first-year students explores the process of scholarly research and writing in theological disciplines.

HIS6000 Church History I

The Church History I and Church History II courses identify and explore the fundamental theological questions of the Christian tradition and examine the various ways in which the church evolved in response to those questions.

,  ⁄   ⁄  Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

HIS6100 Church History II

The Church History I and Church History II courses identify and explore the fundamental theological questions of the Christian tradition and examine the various ways in which the church evolved in response to those questions.

,  ⁄   ⁄  Certificate in Theological Studies, Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

HIST7001 Life and Thought of Martin Luther

This course will give an overview of Martin Luther’s life and his major writings.

,  ⁄   ⁄  Certificate in Theological Studies, Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

HIST7002 Theology and Legacy of John Calvin

This course engages in a systematic study of John Calvin’s theology, with particular focus on the development of the Reformer’s thought in the various editions of Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.

 ⁄   ⁄  Certificate in Theological Studies, Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

SYS6000 Systematic Theology I: Thinking Theologically

This course introduces systematic and constructive theology by exploring the motivations, qualities, and implications of theological thinking and theological knowledge for theologians across Christian history.

,  ⁄   ⁄  Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity, Certificate in Theological Studies

SYS6100 Systematic Theology II: Doctrines

Systematic Theology II maps Christian doctrines and their histories in relation to contemporary theological conversations, while developing the skills necessary for responsible, life-giving, and faithful theological thinking.

,  ⁄   ⁄  Certificate in Theological Studies, Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

SYS7001 Christology & Culture

This course looks at the way culture was adapted by Jesus to galvanize a peasant resistance movement in Palestine, how the creativity went urban and outlaw under Paul, became bardic and monastic with the Iris, adopted griot features in slavery, shamanic savvy in Brazil, guru-wiles in India, and continues to twist domination into vitality and defiance under the beats and braggadocio of hip-hop today.

,  ⁄   ⁄  Certificate in Theological Studies, Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

SYS7002 Theology in a Multicultural Context

 ⁄   ⁄  Certificate in Theological Studies, Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

SYS7003 Theology, Ecology, and Spirituality

This course will explore issues in life and ministry through the integrated lenses of theology,
ecology and spirituality.

,  ⁄   ⁄  Certificate in Theological Studies, Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

SYST7102 Theology of Bonhoeffer

This seminar wrestles with Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life, times, ethical vision and moral lessons.

 ⁄   ⁄  Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity, Certificate in Theological Studies

TPM6001 Introduction to Christian Worship

Based on the premise that leading worship is a minister’s primary responsibility, this course provides an overview of Christian worship from historical, cultural, and pastoral perspectives.

TPM7004 Interreligious Dialogue

The emphasis of this course is on conversation with the authoritative voices that represent
diverse religious communities and living religions in America today, including imams, rabbis
and priests. You will also learn the basic principles of the world’s religions as you visit
mosques, temples, and gardens.