The School of Theology. Sewanee: The University of the South

M.A. Concentration in Theology and Literature

Drawing on the distinctive strengths of The School of Theology (including its Advanced Degree Program in the summer), the School of Letters, and the English Department of the College of Arts and Sciences, the M.A. with a concentration in Theology and Literature is a flexible program that acknowledges Sewanee’s unique ability to contribute to an internationally-recognized and vibrant field of interdisciplinary inquiry. The core curriculum ensures an understanding of the biblical narrative and the approaches of modern biblical criticism, while allowing students ample freedom to take appropriate electives in both theology and literature. Beginning and ending the program with two summers in the School of Letters allows students to complete their course-work in 14 months. Students consult with the Program Coordinator to determine the specific shape of their degree, in light of their interests, and will pursue a related thesis project with an appropriate advisor.

Theology Core (16 hours)

Old Testament (6 hrs)
New Testament (6 hrs)
Bibliography, Research, and Writing (1 hr)
Seminar in Theology and Literature (3 hrs)

Students receive a grounding in the biblical narrative and biblical criticism, through completion of the basic survey courses in the Old and New Testaments. Students also take the introductory course in Bibliography, Research, and Writing required of all first-year students.

Electives (24 hours)

Electives are chosen in consultation with one’s adviser from appropriate offerings in The School of Theology, the School of Letters, and the English Department of the College of Arts and Sciences. They are to include at least four courses taken in the School of Letters.

Proposal and Thesis (9 hours)

Students write a formal, academic thesis as the culmination of their work towards the degree. Working in consultation with a thesis adviser chosen by the student, the student develops a proposal in their second summer. The development of the proposal is an important part of the process and forms the foundation of the thesis; therefore, the student registers for three hours of independent study in the second summer. The student is expected to be in regular contact with the thesis adviser over the course of the summer to develop the thesis. The thesis adviser may be drawn from The School of Theology or the School of Letters faculty. Once the adviser has approved the proposal, the student may begin.

After the proposal has been approved, the student registers for six hours of thesis work. The thesis may be undertaken while in-residence, but it is expected that at least some students will choose to write the thesis elsewhere. The thesis is read and assessed by two faculty members, the adviser and a second reader, who assign a grade for the work after an oral defense (which may be accomplished by conference call, Skype, or in-person). A final, library copy of the thesis is submitted to the office of academic affairs for binding; final submission must take place by April 1 for graduation the following May.

The M.A. thesis is an original scholarly monograph, 40 to 60 pages in length.

Typical Paradigm

First Summer: 3 courses (9 hrs)
(2 literature courses in School of Letters)

Fall: 5 courses (13 hrs)
Old Testament I
New Testament I
Bibliography, Research, and Writing (1 credit hour)
2 electives (School of Theology and/or English Department)

Spring: 4 courses (12 hrs)
Old Testament II
New Testament II
Seminar in Theology and Literature
1 elective (School of Theology or English Department)

Second Summer: 2 courses and proposal (9 hrs)
(2 literature courses in School of Letters)
(independent study/thesis proposal)

Thesis (6 hrs)

To learn more about the School of Letters, visit their website.