Degree Programs

Master of Arts

Versatile Veracity.

The Master of Arts program is designed to provide students the opportunity to pursue a concentration in an area of theological interest while also providing a broad foundation for further graduate study or for general educational or vocational use. The degree, normally a two-year program when taken full-time, requires a total of 51 credits. Courses are offered on both campuses in various formats: residential, hybrid, intensive, and online. If the degree is not completed within four years, the student must petition the faculty for continuance in the degree program.

Mission Statement

The MA degree program is designed to provide students the opportunity to pursue a concentration in an area of theological interest while also providing a broad foundation for further graduate study or for general educational or vocational use.

Learning Outcomes

  • 1. Unifying – Developing skills in academically rigorous research that contributes to bringing people together in the diverse unity enabled by the Triune God
    1. Actively articulates diverse perspectives, including from theological disciplines, and scientific, ecumenical, and interfaith points of view
    2. Documents awareness of perspectives of marginalized in research, writing, and application
    3. Advocates consistently for the development of a shared vision in groups of diverse learners
    4. Synthesizes multiple theological approaches in developing an inclusive theological approach
  • 2. Learning – Developing skills in lifelong critical thinking, research, and application through the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit
    1. Demonstrates problem-solving abilities within a concentration and general competence across theological disciplines
    2. Articulates critical and constructive engagement with a living theological tradition, and capacity to engage that tradition with academic integrity
    3. Evidences abilities to interpret historic religious traditions, including their sacred scriptures, historical development, and cultural forms, engaging contextual analysis
    4. Shows capacity to complete a thesis or other summative assessment on a topic of significance
  • 3. Serving – Developing skills and confidence in participating in academic communities, and teaching and leading as appropriate for an MA graduate
    1. Engages the broader academic community in contextualizing contemporary theological issues and themes
    2. Presents a clear and consistent message in public leadership, grounded in the risen Christ, across contexts
    3. Shows abilities to use tools necessary for academic inquiry in one’s fields
    4. Evidences skills to address the systems that cause and perpetuate marginalization and division, including drawing upon theological and other academic disciplines


  • 1. A bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from a regionally accredited college or university
  • 2. Satisfactory completion of at least 51 credits. One credit is equivalent to one semester hour.
    1. A. Required Courses (15 credits)
      • BIB 201 Reading and Telling the Story
      • HTH 100 Theology 1: Creation, Sin, and New Creation
      • HTH 110 Church History 1 option
      • Choice of Praxis courses (PRAX xxx)
      • Choice of Public Theology courses (Church and Society courses and others as designated in the course descriptions)
    2. B. Specialization Courses (15 credits)
      No later than the end of the first semester of full-time study, MA students must select an area of specialization to be approved by the MA Committee. The student will then complete at least 15 credits related to the area of specialization. Areas of specialization include:
      • Black Church (through the Urban Theological Institute)
      • Town and Country (through the Town and Country Church Institute)
      • Biblical Studies
      • History
      • Theology
      • Pastoral Care
      • Anglican Studies
      • Liturgy
    3. C. Free electives (15 credits)
    4. D. Thesis or other summative assessment (6 credits) in the area of specialization
      The thesis is normally registered over two semesters (3 credits each). In the first semester, the student works with the thesis advisor to develop the thesis focus and bibliography, conduct research, outline the paper, and begin writing. In the second semester the student completes writing, defends the paper before a faculty panel, finishes needed corrections, and submits two archival copies to the Library.
  • 3. Non-credit requirements
    1. Spiritual Formation—A variety of individual spiritual practices is recommended to encourage students’ growth in intimacy with God. Regularly offered courses may be taken as free electives to fulfill this requirement, but students may also engage in at least 32 hours of alternate activities (retreats, spiritual direction, individual or group lectio divina, etc.) to develop and demonstrate competencies. Students have great latitude in choosing classical or unconventional prayer forms and disciplines that fit both their personality type and spiritual needs. Maintaining a “log” or dated record documenting one’s time and activity is required, a hard copy of which must be submitted to the Director of Spiritual Formation.
    2. Healthy Ministerial Boundaries training—A focus on how ministers faithfully live out the sacred trust granted them by the church, particularly as their behaviors show respect for personal and ministerial boundaries. Training is offered at least once each year on each campus. Pre-approved trainings offered by synods or other judicatories may sometimes be substituted.
    3. Anti-Racism Workshop—A consideration of the church’s call to radical inclusion as a witness to God’s radical grace, particularly as we recognize our need—individually and corporately—regularly to unlearn certain behaviors while re-learning our real relationship to all others as siblings in Christ. Training is offered at least once each year on each campus.
  • 4. Minimum residence at ULS of one year, defined as the satisfactory completion of at least 24 credits through courses offered on one of the seminary’s two campuses