Master of Arts (Theological Studies)

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The Master of Arts (Theological Studies) program is designed for students who desire advanced academic training in biblical studies or theology and ethics in preparation for teaching in Christian schools or colleges. It may also serve as the foundation for doctoral studies in biblical studies or theology and ethics.

Mission Statement

The Master of Arts (Theological Studies) program prepares men and women for doctoral studies or teaching in Christian schools or colleges. The course of study comprises 60 units in biblical and theological studies with a specialization in one of these fields.

Program Outcomes

The Master of Arts (Theological Studies) program provides a general foundation in the biblical and theological disciplines, as well as an opportunity for specialized training in either biblical studies or theology and ethics.

The program outcomes prepare graduates who:

  1. Examine biblical texts using inductive, literary, and theological approaches in order to interpret the Bible as Christian Scripture.
  2. Identify and critically analyze the historical and cultural settings of biblical texts, as well as ancient and contemporary interpretations of those texts.
  3. Demonstrate skill in at least one biblical language.
  4. Identify the central doctrines of Christian theology and the foundation of Christian ethics, and elucidate their historical development. 
  5. Reflect theologically through the Wesleyan Quadrilateral (Scripture, Church tradition, reason, and experience) in a manner that is faithful to the past and responsive to the present.
  6. Demonstrate mastery of the craft of scholarly research and writing.

Program of Studies

The Master of Arts (Theological Studies) program requires 60 units of coursework, including 8-16 units of biblical languages (Hebrew and Greek), 16 units in each of the two core areas of biblical studies and theology and ethics, and 12-20 units of concentration in either biblical studies or theology and ethics, including 4 units for the preparation of a research paper/thesis to be defended in an oral examination. Each student is assigned a faculty advisor who gives guidance in the selection of courses and composition of the research paper/thesis.

Requirements for Master of Arts (Theological Studies) with a Biblical Studies Concentration

Biblical Language Requirement8–16
Select one or both of the following: 1
New Testament Greek I
and New Testament Greek II
Hebrew I
and Hebrew II
Biblical Studies Core Courses16
Torah and Prophets: Exodus-2 Kings
Biblical Interpretation: Exploring Genesis
The Gospels' Witness to Christ
Paul the Pastor and Theologian
Theological Studies Core16
Christian Theology
Church History I
Church History II
Select one:
Church and Society
Ethics and Worship
Concentration 28–16
Research Paper/Thesis4
Directed Research 3
Total Units60
1

Students concentrating in theology and ethics take one biblical language. Students concentrating in biblical studies take two biblical languages, one of which must be taken in their first year in order to continue in the program, unless they have received Advanced Standing for previous study in a biblical language. Students who demonstrate transcript evidence of a year of undergraduate Hebrew and/or Greek may apply for Advanced Standing of up to 10 units of credit. Students concentrating in biblical studies who have had a year of both undergraduate Hebrew and Greek will take courses of advanced language study for the additional 6 units beyond Advanced Standing credit.

2

The student selects 8–16 units of courses from the area of concentration depending upon his or her area of emphasis, 8 for biblical studies, 16 for theology.

3

The student selects GBBL 570/GTHE 570/GTHE 590/GBBL 590 for the preparation of the research paper/thesis, which is defended orally before a panel of faculty examiners.

Requirements for Master of Arts (Theological Studies) with a Theology and Ethics Concentration

Biblical Language Requirement8–16
Select one or both of the following: 1
New Testament Greek I
   and New Testament Greek II
Hebrew I
   and Hebrew II
Biblical Studies Core Courses16
Torah and Prophets: Exodus-2 Kings
Biblical Interpretation: Exploring Genesis
The Gospels' Witness to Christ
Paul the Pastor and Theologian
Theology and Ethics Core Courses16
Church History I
Church History II
Christian Theology
Select one:
Church and Society
Ethics and Worship
Theology and Ethics Concentration 28–16
Research Paper/Thesis4
Directed Research 3
Total Units60
1

Students concentrating in theology and ethics take one biblical language. Students concentrating in biblical studies take two biblical languages, one of which must be taken in their first year in order to continue in the program, unless they have received Advanced Standing for previous study in a biblical language. Students who demonstrate transcript evidence of a year of undergraduate Hebrew and/or Greek may apply for Advanced Standing of up to 10 units of credit. Students concentrating in biblical studies who have had a year of both undergraduate Hebrew and Greek will take courses of advanced language study for the additional 6 units beyond Advanced Standing credit.

2

The student selects 8–16 units of courses from the area of concentration depending upon his or her area of emphasis, 8 for biblical studies, 16 for theology.

3

The student selects GBBL 570/GTHE 570/GTHE 590/ GBBL 590 for the preparation of the research paper/thesis, which is defended orally before a panel of faculty examiners.

Additional Degree Requirements

In order to graduate, a student must have at least a 3.0 grade-point average.

Research Paper or Thesis

To receive the Master of Arts (Theological Studies), students must demonstrate the ability to conduct scholarly research and present this in a logically argued and properly documented written form in their area of concentration. Students with a concentration in biblical studies must demonstrate the ability to perform exegetical work using a biblical language. Under the supervision of a faculty member, approved by the relevant department chair by the student’s second semester in the program, the student prepares a major research paper/thesis in a course of independent study (GBBL 570, GBBL 590, GTHE 570, or GTHE 590) that is defended in an oral examination before the supervising faculty member and two other faculty members approved by the relevant department chair. The oral defense may be scheduled when the student is within 8 units of the completion of coursework, and must be sustained before the degree is awarded. The research paper/thesis must be distributed to the examiners at least two weeks before the date of the oral defense, and a copy must be given to the Azusa Pacific Seminary office to be kept on file.

Time Limit

The Master of Arts (Theological Studies) must be completed within 10 years from the date of admission. APU coursework completed more than 10 years prior to completion of degree requirements is not acceptable toward the degree.