Master of Arts in Religion and the Environment

You can change the world.

We have one planet. And the care of this home we call Earth is up to us. For those whose faith is leading them to pursue environmental stewardship, the School of Theology's master of arts degree, with a concentration in religion and the environment, will prepare you for that path.

Drawing on the distinctive strengths of the School of Theology theological education and the Environmental Studies Program of the College of Arts and Sciences, the M.A. with a concentration in religion and the environment utilizes Sewanee’s unique ability to contribute to an internationally recognized and vibrant field of interdisciplinary inquiry on its 13,000 acre campus. After a basic grounding in the tools of Biblical studies, theology, and ethics, distribution requirements guide students so they are exposed to a variety of perspectives on environmental issues, ranging from the “hard sciences” to policy studies. Further elective work within the concentration allows the student to pursue specific interests, and a research project serves as the capstone in the concentration.

The concentration is designed for those students who intend to pursue further graduate education who seek additional depth of knowledge in this particular field of study. 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.


So what does a graduate degree in this field allow you to do? If you are like Perry Jones. T'15, you can represent The Episcopal Church in the United Nations' COP23. If water conservation is your focus, Caroline Holmes, T'19, can tell you how she is working with the University's water plant to combat pharmaceuticals in waste water. You can read all about these two remarkable alumni below.

Caroline Holmes, C'17, T'19—For this University of the South graduate and seminarian, reduce, reuse, and recycle is just another way of describing her Trinitarian doctrine of intentional living and coexistence.

Perry Hodgkins Jones, T'15—Jones received an M.A. in religion and environment and has gone on to make quite an impact in the care of creation, most recently representing TEC at COP23 in Bonn, Germany.


Graduation from the School of Theology follows the successful completion of all requirements for the specified program of study and the approval of the degree by the Senate of the University upon nomination by the faculty of the School of Theology.

A master of arts (M.A.) student who has successfully completed all prescribed work, has completed all non-credit degree requirements, has submitted a complete portfolio if applicable, and who has a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.33, is eligible to be awarded the master of arts degree. Work toward the M.A. degree is to be concluded within four consecutive years from the date of matriculation.





Semester Hours

Core Courses


BIBL 501

Old Testament: Foundations I


BIBL 502

Old Testament: Foundations II


BIBL 511

New Testament: Foundations I


BIBL 512

New Testament: Foundations II


CEMT 511

Introduction to Moral Theology


THEO 511

Systematic Theology I


THBR 531

Bibliography, Research, and Writing


Concentration 1


Environmental Theology (select at least three hours from the following):


CEMT 553

Many Sides of Sustainability


THEO 552

God and Nature


THEO 559

Readings in Contemporary Eco-Theology


THEO 560

Creation, Evolution, and God


THEO 561

Readings in Teilhard de Chardin


Environmental Ethics (select at least three hours from the following):


PHIL 230

Environmental Ethics


CEMT 560

Environmental Ethics


CEMT 561

Climate Ethics


Environmental Policy (select at least three hours from the following):


FORS 270

Water Resource Policy and Law


POLS 382

International Environmental Policy


ENST 334

Environmental Policy and Law


ECON 335

Environmental Economics


Comparative Religious Environmentalism (select at least three hours from the following):


RELG 307

Religious Environmentalism


RELG 341

Religion and Ecology


RELG 353

Buddhism and the Environment


Environmental Science (select at least three hours from the following):


BIOL 130

Field Investigations in Biology


BIOL 209

Advanced Conservation Biology


BIOL 210

Ecology (Lab)


BIOL 211

Biodiversity: Pattern and Process (Lab)


FORS 121

Introduction to Forestry (Lab)


GEOL 121

Physical Geology (Lab)


Select twelve additional hours from the courses above or from the list of approved electives 2


THEO 598

Research Project 3


Total Semester Hours


Course List



From time to time, additional courses may be offered that satisfy the distribution requirements. Students should consult their advisor (and, when appropriate, the associate dean for academic affairs) to determine if a course not listed above may be used to satisfy the distribution requirements.


These courses will be chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor to create a focus on policy, humanities/arts, or science, preparatory to the work of the research project. Certain courses require specific academic background, while others are open without prerequisite. Students should consult with their advisor and with the instructor of courses of interest to determine appropriate placement. Three elective hours may be taken outside of the concentration and the core curriculum.


The student will undertake an independent research project in the last year of enrollment. In the Advent semester, the student secures the agreement of a faculty member from the School of Theology and a faculty member from the College to supervise the project. The student develops a project proposal in consultation with the supervisors, and no later than November 15 submits the proposal to the advisor and the Office of Academic Affairs. In the Easter semester, the student registers for three credit hours of research (THEO 598). 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 supervisors once it is completed, no later than April 15 for graduation in May.

Non-credit Degree Requirements1



Semester Hours

Safeguarding God's People Workshop


Safeguarding God's Children Workshop


Cultural Diversity Workshop


Education for Ministry Experience


Course List



For details on these workshops, see the Non-credit Degree Requirements for Graduation section.

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