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Academic Catalog

Academic Catalog 2023-24

The Master of Arts (Religion) (MAR) degree provides a general foundation in theology, ethics, and religious history, and in-depth study in one or more of those areas. This degree is appropriate for students preparing for doctoral studies in religion, those seeking a grounding in religious studies to support vocational work in education, community organizing, social justice activism, or interreligious engagement, and those interested in religious studies for personal enrichment. The course of study can be completed in 18 months.

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop general knowledge and understanding in the areas of liberal religious theology and ethics.
  • Develop general knowledge and understanding of Christian religious history and of global religions.
  • Develop deeper knowledge and understanding in a specific area or areas of theology, ethics, or religious history.
  • Apply knowledge and understanding in theology, ethics, and/or religious history through academic research, critical reflection, and scholarly writing.

MAR Curriculum

The MAR degree program requires 36 completed credits. The program can be completed in 18 months by full-time students but is flexible to accommodate students who plan to study part-time.

Six credits are granted for a thesis or project completed in consultation with a faculty advisor. Students gain a foundation in religious studies by completing four additional required courses in the areas of theology, ethics, leadership, and global religion. All students must elect a concentration in either Religious Education or Theology and Ethics. Students will complete 9 credits in their concentration of choice and another 9 credits of elective coursework. Students may transfer up to 6 credits from another institution.  Such transfer credit is subject to approval in compliance with the transfer credit policy.

MAR Degree Requirements



Core MAR Requirements


Healthy Boundaries for Leaders


Constructive Theology


Global Religions


Introduction to Ethics




        Concentration Electives


Free Electives


Thesis or Project




Total Credits


MAR Concentrations

Students must complete one of two concentrations as part of their degree. Students select a concentration at the time of application.

  • Religious Education
  • Theology and Ethics

Students must complete three elective courses (nine credits) in their selected concentration, and will generally focus their capstone thesis or project in the area of their concentration.

Capstone: Thesis or Project

The Thesis or Project consists of 6 credits. These credits are normally completed in sequence across two semesters. The sequencing of work on the Thesis or Project includes the drafting of a proposal, research, writing, and submission of final documents.

  • The Proposal consists of a thesis statement, a summary and outline of the thesis or project, a description of research methods, a bibliography, and a work calendar. This document should be no more than 10 pages in length and should be approved by the student’s Thesis/Project Advisor no later than December 1 before the student’s anticipated semester of graduation.
  • The Thesis should be submitted to the Thesis Advisor in a condition ready for approval (final draft) by mid-April of the spring semester of the student’s anticipated graduation. The thesis should be approximately 30-40 pages (double-spaced, 12 pt.), with footnotes and a bibliography. The students should refer to the Chicago Manual of Style for proper methods of scholarly documentation. [Penultimate Draft of Thesis Submitted by mid-March.]
  • The Project is an option for students whose needs and purposes are not best served by a thesis. Students choosing this option might, for example, create Religious Education curricula; write, produce, or direct a theatrical production; or develop and implement a significant community service project. A brief scholarly Commentary (10-20 pp) must also be submitted by students choosing the Project. The Commentary is a brief interpretive paper that situates the Project culturally, pedagogically, and theologically. This paper should be footnoted and include a bibliography. The Project documentation and Commentary must be submitted to the Project Advisor no later than mid-April of the spring semester of the student’s anticipated graduation. The project should not included research that requires IRB approval (ie, research with human subjects). [Penultimate Draft of Project submitted by mid-March.]

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