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

Master of Arts (M. A.)

The Master of Arts (M.A.) program of The School of Theology is designed as a general academic degree for people who wish to begin advanced study of theological disciplines in a church-related setting. It involves a two-year course of study, following either a general program or pursuing a concentration in a particular discipline. Advanced standing may be granted to those who come with previous work in the theological disciplines. It also may be the appropriate degree for some ordained American and international students with previous theological study. On its own, this degree does not satisfy the canonical requirements for ordination. Students in this program take part in the worship life of the seminary by attending at least one chapel service on each weekday, including the principal Eucharist on Wednesday.

Master of Arts Curriculum

Candidates for the M.A. degree complete required core courses and required distribution courses. They must choose one of two tracks: a general track or a concentration. Candidates on the general track compile a portfolio of work completed for their courses.

Candidates opting for a concentration register for three credit-hours of research in their field and write an article-length paper of high quality.

Core curriculum

Core courses (25 hrs.)
  • Old Testament Foundations I
  • Old Testament Foundations II
  • New Testament Foundations I
  • New Testament Foundations II
  • Church History I
  • Church History II
  • Intro to Moral Theology
  • Systematic Theology I
  • Systematic Theology II
  • Bibliographies, Research, and Writing
Distribution courses (6 hrs.)
  • 1 additional course in Ethics (3 hrs.)

Additional hours are taken as electives.

Total hours required: 49 hrs.

Master of Arts—General Track

The general track is intended for those who seek a broad grounding in the theological disciplines. Students on the general track complete the core and distribution courses and take elective courses to further their knowledge.

M.A. students on the general track assemble a portfolio of their assignments for evaluation, prior to graduation.


Portfolio contents are currently under discussion in the Curriculum and Program committee, and a proposal about specific contents and evaluative process will be submitted at a later date.

Master of Arts with Concentration

The concentration is designed for those students who intend to pursue further graduate education in theology or its cognate disciplines. It may be appropriate in some cases for those who do not plan to pursue doctoral study but who expect to teach in a specific discipline in institutions overseas. Candidates for the M.A. may concentrate in one of five areas: Bible, Church History, Theology, Religion and Environment, and Theology and Literature.

Coursework for Concentration

Courses taken in the core curriculum may be counted towards the hours required for a concentration.

Research Paper

A research paper is required of those M.A. students pursuing a concentration.

To undertake the research paper (and therefore a concentration), the student must complete the Research and Writing course in the first year of study. After completing the course, the student must gain the recommendation of the instructor of the Research and Writing course and the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The student must also have the endorsement of a faculty member in the area of concentration, who will serve as the project advisor.

The student registers for three credit hours of research. The student meets regularly with the project advisor for guidance in research and writing.

The research paper is to be a contribution to scholarly discussion. It is to be 5,500-7,500 words in length, exclusive of documentation and is to be submitted to the project advisor once it is completed. Once she or he approves the paper, the project advisor submits a grade for the paper to the registrar.

Non-credit Degree Requirements

  • Sexual Boundaries Training
  • Safeguarding God’s Children workshop
  • Anti-Racism Training
  • Education for Ministry Immersion