2011-2012 Graduate Catalog 
    Dec 02, 2022  
2011-2012 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Religion, M.A.

Program Description

The Master of Arts degree in Religion is an academic degree building on an appropriate undergraduate foundation with study on a more advanced level. The degree may lead directly into ministry, be applied to a seminary degree, or prepare one for further graduate study in religion. Two concentrations are available:  Theology and Biblical Studies.

Vision Statement

The purpose of this degree is to provide an academic program immersed in the classic disciplines and texts of the Christian faith. The ability to do responsible, independent research, to think theologically in critical and constructive terms, and to interpret and integrate data, are targeted outcomes. The program aims at credibility in the three public arenas of church, society, and the academy. It encourages responsible engagement in nurturing Christian community in contemporary society in a manner that is academically accountable. This degree prepares a student for ministry, public service, or entrance to doctoral or seminary programs.

Students who, in the opinion of the program director, lack an adequate undergraduate background for graduate study in religion will be required to take remedial courses as necessary.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete PLNU’s Master of Arts in Religion will be able to:

  • Demonstrate skills in the study of and interpretation of the texts, history, and practices of the Christian faith (ILO* 1);
  • Engage in independent research, interpretation and integration of data, and theological thought (ILO* 1,2);
  • Use advanced creative and collaborative study of scripture, theology, philosophy, and the Christian tradition to nurture Christian community in contemporary society (ILO* 2,3);
  • Demonstrate a developing awareness of complex religous, social, and environmental contexts (ILO*2,3); and
  • Apply the study of the texts, history, and practices of the Christian faith, especially as understood within the Wesleyan theological tradition, to the personal and corporate practices of Christian discipleship and church/congregational life (ILO* 3).

*Institutional Learning Outcomes

Program Eligibility for the Master of Arts in Religion

  1. A completed application for admission to the program;
  2. An undergraduate upper-division grade-point average of 3.000;
  3. All official transcripts from accredited institutions, one of which must indicate the completion of an undergraduate degree;
  4. A minimum of two recommendations from appropriate persons who have knowledge of the applicant’s character and professional performance;
  5. A writing sample that indicates graduate-level ability;
  6. Test scores: Graduate Record Exam minimum raw scores: 400 verbal and 400 quantitative or the Miller Analogies Test; and
  7. An interview with the program director.

Graduation Requirements

  1. Completion of 36 total units;
  2. Cumulative grade-point average of 3.000 or higher;
  3. A completed Application for Degree Candidacy (on-line or in the Office of Records, campus);
  4. An acceptable thesis written under the supervision of a faculty director and committee chosen by the student and the program director. Four units of credit are earned for the thesis;
  5. An oral examination on materials related to the thesis;
  6. All accounts paid in full; and
  7. All requirements for graduate degrees must be completed within an eight-year period from the time of initial enrollment in the program.


All students take 24 core units and then select 12 elective units on the basis of their chosen concentration (theology or biblical studies).

Elective Courses (12 units in addition to the Core)

Students take the remaining 12 units for the degree from non-core courses, depending on their chosen concentration.

Concentration in Theology (12 units in addition to the Core)

  1. All students in the theology concentration must take THE 647 - Contemporary Theology and Ethics  (3)
  2. The balance of courses are taken from 600-level or non-core courses offered in the School of Theology and Christian Ministry

Concentration in Biblical Studies (12 units in addition to the Core)

  1. Demonstrate competency in a biblical language through previous work recorded on an academic transcript or successful completion of either of the following sequences. The units of these courses are deficiency units that do not count toward the completion of the 36 total units required for the M.A. Religion degree.
  1. BLA 205 Essentials of Hebrew I (4 units) AND
  2. BLA 206 Essentials of Hebrew II (4 units)
  1. BLA 207 Essentials of Greek I (3 units);
  2. BLA 208 Essentials of Greek II (3 units); AND
  3. BLA 337 Exegesis of the Greek New Testament (3 units)
  1. One course outside of Bible taken from the 600-level courses in the School of Theology and Christian Ministry.
  2. The balance of the elective courses are taken from 600-level non-core courses offered in the School of Theology and Christian Ministry.