Master of Arts in Religious Studies

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Religious Studies program is designed for students with a wide range of pursuits and career goals, from education and catechetics to preparation for a doctoral degree in religious studies, theology or a related field. Rooted in the Catholic and Franciscan tradition, the M.A. in Religious Studies is a 30-credit program particularly but not exclusively focused on Christianity in its many historical contexts and denominational aspects, and situated within contemporary local and global realities.

The Professional Development Seminar is taken in the first semester and is designed to assess and assist readiness for graduate work in religious studies and to aid in examining personal and professional goals. A series of three 4-credit courses in scriptural studies, systematic theology, and church history lays a foundation for methodological application courses in those same areas, and for further elective courses suited to the students' needs and interests. In the final semester, a comprehensive examination, with oral and written components, completes the program; students with a program GPA of 3.7 or higher may opt for a 2-credit Thesis on a chosen topic in religious studies written under the direction of a faculty member in lieu of the comprehensive exam.

M.A. in Religious Studies - Concentration in Ministry Option

Students working in or preparing for church ministry may elect to pursue the M.A. in Religious Studies with a Concentration in Ministry by completing additional required courses designed to foster pastoral skills and understanding.

Along with an advanced scripture area elective, concentration students will complete courses in Pastoral Theology, Ecclesiology, Worship & Sacrament, and Morality & Justice. In the final semester, a case study examination, with oral and written components, completes the program; students with a program GPA of 3.7 or higher may opt for a 2-credit Pastoral Project on a chosen ministerial issue which they plan, implement, and assess under the direction of a faculty member in lieu of the case study exam.

Degree Requirements

Program Credits30
Required Courses

Masters of Arts in Religious Studies

RS 500 - Professional Development Seminar (1 credit)
RS 552 - The Study of the Scriptures (4 credits)
RS 553 - The Study of Systematic Theology (4 credits)
RS 554 - The Study of Church History (4 credits)
Area electives (2 credits each) in scripture, systematic theology, and church history, Comprehensive Examination or 2-credit Thesis option (for qualifying students)

Masters of Arts in Religious Studies - Concentration in Ministry Option

RS 500 - Professional Development Seminar (1 credit)
RS 552 - The Study of the Scriptures (4 credits)
RS 553 - The Study of Systematic Theology (4 credits)
RS 554 - The Study of Church History (4 credits)
RS 556 - Pastoral Theology (2 credits)
RS 558 - Ecclesiology (2 credits)
RS 559 - Worship & Sacrament (2 credits)
RS 562 - Morality & Justice (2 credits)
An area elective (2 credits) in scripture Case Study Examination or 2-credit Pastoral Project option (for qualifying students)

Required Auxiliary Courses

None


Additional Information

Courses in the Master of Arts in Religious Studies program are generally scheduled in the evenings to accommodate working students.  In some courses, a graduate course meets simultaneously with advanced undergraduate courses designed for Religious Studies majors, providing a broad based, intergenerational student experience.

To qualify for graduation from this program, students must:

• Complete the required coursework with at least a 3.0 overall grade point average, with no individual course below a "B-." Any course(s) in which a final grade below a "B-" is earned do not count toward the 30 credit requirement. If a student receives a final grade of "C+" or below in two courses, that student will be automatically removed from the M.A. in Religious Studies program.

• Satisfactorily complete the capstone requirement (comprehensive examination, or thesis option for students with the requisite program GPA; or, for Concentration in Ministry students, a case study examination, or pastoral project option for students with the requisite program GPA).

• Obtain recommendation for graduation from the department chair.

• Satisfactorily complete all requirements for the degree within seven consecutive academic years.