Master of Arts (Theological Studies)

Master of Arts (Theological Studies)

(MA[TS] degree)

Purpose

The Master of Arts (Theological Studies) program is designed for men and women who desire graduate study in the field of theological studies with an emphasis in biblical studies, Christian history and theology, or the integration of the two. The MA(TS) is not intended as preparation for pastoral ministry.

Coursework, Project, or Thesis Option
In recognition of the varying needs of students obtaining the MA(TS) degree, the seminary offers three tracks to complete the degree. The choice of track is to be made only in consultation with the student's academic advisor.

  1. Coursework Track

    This track is designed for students who desire further study in their area of concentration, but do not intend further academic study of theology and who would not profit significantly from the writing of a master's thesis or production of a master's project (see below).

  2. Project Track

    This track is designed for students who desire familiarity with advanced research and writing skills in their area of concentration, but do not need, or will not significantly profit from, writing an academic master's thesis.

  3. Thesis Track

    This track is designed for students intending further academic study of theology or who wish to learn the skills involved in researching and writing an advanced thesis in theology.

Program Objectives

Educational Objectives

To enable students to:

  • Gain knowledge appropriate to the field of specialization
  • Grow in the ability to analyze pertinent texts and materials
  • Develop the capacity to think critically
  • Learn research, writing, and communication skills
Professional Objectives

To enable students to:

  • Prepare for future degree work in biblical and theological studies

Admission Requirements

Applicants seeking admission to the MA (Theological Studies) program must hold a four-year baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, with a minimum GPA of 2.5. In addition, applicants must complete the following to be considered for admission to the program:

  • George Fox Evangelical Seminary application form and application fee
  • Submit one official transcript from each college/university attended
  • Resumé
  • Personal mission statement and statement of faith
  • Three letters of reference (as specified in admissions materials)
  • A group interview (by invitation only)

Transfer Credit

Transfer of up to 32 hours credit is allowed toward the MA (Theological Studies) program from accredited graduate schools. Students must have earned a grade of B or better for a course to be considered for transfer. In addition, only courses taken elsewhere within 10 years of the date of matriculation to the MA(TS) program will be considered for transfer. Transferability of credits earned at this institution and transferred to another is at the discretion of the receiving institution. Consult the registrar's office for information on eligibility of transfer credit.

Residence Requirements

Of the 64 hours required for the MA (Theological Studies) program, a minimum of 32 hours must be taken in resident study at George Fox University. All work leading to the MA(TS) must be completed within seven years from the time of matriculation. Extension of this limit requires approval of the Seminary Faculty. However, only one such extension may be considered due to special circumstances, such as ill health. Reinstatement to the program after withdrawal requires Admissions Committee action and may subject the student to additional requirements for the degree.

Course Requirements

The MA (Theological Studies) program is generally two to three years in length with 64 semester hours of course work required as a minimum for graduation. Of the total hours required for the degree, 12 are in prescribed biblical studies courses, 12 in Christian history and theology, 4 in spiritual formation and discipleship, 3 in a teaching internship, and 33 hours in an area of concentration.

Language Requirement (Biblical Studies Concentration)
Students in this concentration will be introduced to the biblical languages through BIST 511 Introducing Biblical Hebrew and BIST 521 Introducing New Testament Greek. The student will elect to focus further study on at least one of the two languages by taking either BIST 512 Interpreting the Hebrew Testament or BIST 522 Interpreting the Greek Testament. The student who chooses to focus on Hebrew will take the Hebrew sequence in the first year and the introductory Greek course in the fall of the second year. Likewise, the student who chooses to focus on Greek will take the Greek sequence the first year and the introductory Hebrew course in the fall of the second year. The student may elect to complete both sequences to gain proficiency in the study of both testaments.

Thesis/Project Requirements

  1. In order to begin the thesis or project, a student must have completed 26 semester hours in the MA(TS) program.
  2. Students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 to be eligible to write a thesis or project.
  3. With approval of the academic advisor, the student will register for:
    • Thesis Track: BIST/CHTH 571/572 Thesis Research and Writing for two consecutive semesters
      or
    • Project Track: BIST/CHTH 573 Master's Summative Project for one semester.
  4. In consultation with the MA(TS) thesis director, each student will choose faculty advisors/readers.
    • Thesis Track (two advisors/readers): The primary thesis advisor is normally a member of the seminary faculty and has primary responsibility for overseeing thesis work. The second reader may be chosen from a wider field of qualified academics with expertise in the thesis topic.
    • Project Track (one advisor/reader): The faculty project advisor is normally a member of the seminary faculty.
  5. Thesis/Project Description
    The primary advisor will work with the student to define the thesis topic or the nature and scope of the project.
    • Theses should be 75-100 pages in length and should demonstrate the ability to
      • Formulate and research a narrowly defined problem
      • Master a well-defined issue in academic study
      • Interact equitably with other scholars and positions
      • Write in a clear manner consistent with scholarly standards
    • Projects may include, but are not limited to
      • Media presentations
      • Course curriculum
      • Website development
  6. Thesis/Project Proposal
    • Thesis Proposal: Along with completion of two thesis-writing classes (1 1/2 hrs. each), the student must submit a formal thesis proposal for acceptance by the primary advisor (elements found in course syllabus). For deadlines, see the schedule provided below.
    • Project Proposal: In consultation with the faculty project advisor, the student must submit a project proposal for formal approval by the advisor.
  7. All work submitted, from proposal to final draft, must adhere to the form and style guidelines as described in the most recent edition of K. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.
  8. A thesis requires a one-hour oral defense before the primary thesis advisor and the second reader. This defense will occur following submission of the final draft of the thesis and at least one week before the final day of the semester.
  9. Following the oral defense, the student must complete any additions or changes requested by the faculty advisor/reader. At least two copies must be submitted in letter-quality type, black ink, on paper with at least 75 percent rag content. These are formal, archival library copies, and are due by the last day of the semester. Personal copies may also be submitted for binding at this time (see binding fees in syllabus).
  10. Each copy of the final thesis or project will include an original (not photocopied) approval sheet signed by the advisors/readers.
  11. All theses and projects will receive a letter grade.

Thesis Schedule

Thesis registration should be BIST/CHTH 571 (3) for the first semester and BIST/CHTH 572 (3) for the second semester. Students who do not complete the thesis within two semesters will be required to register for BIST/CHTH 575 (1) each subsequent semester until the thesis is complete.

In addition to attending two sessions on the research and writing process, the student should carefully observe the following deadlines.

Task

Beginning Fall Semester*

Beginning Spring Semester*

Beginning Summer Semester* (with special permission only)

First draft of proposal due to faculty research advisor**

early October

early February

mid June

Proposal presented for faculty approval**

late October

late February

mid July

Research and writing

November-March

March-July

July-November

Completion of first draft**

7 weeks prior to last day of spring semester

7 weeks prior to last day of fall semester

7 weeks prior to last day of fall semester

Submission of final thesis**

4 weeks prior to last day of spring semester

4 weeks prior to last day of fall semester

4 weeks prior to last day of fall semester

Oral defense before faculty advisor and second reader

2 weeks prior to last day of spring semester

2 weeks prior to last day of fall semester

2 weeks prior to last day of fall semester

Deadline for the submission of archival copies (2) of the thesis

1 week prior to last day of spring semester

1 week prior to last day of fall semester

1 week prior to last day of fall semester


* If needed and approved by the instructor for BIST/CHTH 571/572, thesis writers may be granted one additional semester for completion of the thesis without grade penalty. In this case the student must register for BIST/CHTH 575 Thesis Continuation; 1 hr. for this third semester. Arrangements for an additional (third) semester must be made prior to the deadline for first draft submission and must be accompanied by a new schedule of completion with deadlines. Theses requiring more than three semesters will normally suffer a grade penalty.

** These are firm deadlines. Failure to meet these deadlines will automatically result in postponement of graduation until the following semester. Theses submitted late will receive a grade no higher than A-.

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate with the MA (Theological Studies) degree students must:

  • Satisfactorily complete a minimum of 64 semester hours with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above within five years after advancement to candidacy.
  • Achieve no grade lower than a B in all core courses. If a grade of a B- or lower is received in a designated course, that course must be retaken (for more specific information, please refer to the student handbook).
  • Be admitted to candidacy for the degree.
  • Be recommended by the seminary faculty for graduation from George Fox University.

Curriculum Plan

Biblical Studies Courses (12 hours)
BIST 506 Old Testament I (Torah and Former Prophets) 3
BIST 507 Old Testament II (Latter Prophets and Writings)† 3
BIST 508 New Testament I (Gospels and Acts)† 3
BIST 509 New Testament II (Romans-Revelation)† 3
 
†Instead of these three core courses, those concentrating in Christian History and Theology may select:
  1. One of the following courses:

    BIST 508 New Testament I (Gospels and Acts) (3)
    BIST 509 New Testament II (Romans-Revelation) (3)

  2. Two of the following courses:

    BIST 507 Old Testament II (3)
    Either BIST 508 or 509 (3) (if not chosen above)
    BIST 511 Introducing Biblical Hebrew (3) (full year recommended)
    BIST 512 Interpreting the Hebrew Testament (3) (full year recommended)
    BIST 521 Introducing New Testament Greek (3) (full year recommended)
    BIST 522 Interpreting the Greek Testament (3) (full year recommended)

Christian History and Theology Courses (12 hours)
CHTH 511 Christian History and Theology I: The Early Church to the 16th Century
3
CHTH 512 Christian History and Theology II: The Reformation and Its Ramifications
3
CHTH elective or PSTD 550 World Religions 3
 
Students must select one of the following courses:
CHTH 546 Contemporary Theological Trends 3
CHTH 552 Essentials of Christian Theology 3
CHTH 566 Theology in the Wesleyan Tradition 3
Spiritual Formation and Discipleship Courses (4 hours)
SFAD 510 Knowing Self, Knowing God 1
SFAD electives 2
 
Students must select at least one of the following courses:
SFAD 520 Prayer 1
SFAD 530 Spiritual Life 1
Internship (3 hours)
BIST 565 Internship or CHTH 565 Internship 3

Concentrations (33 hours - must select one)

Biblical Studies Concentration
Students must select at least three of the following courses:
BIST 511 Introducing Biblical Hebrew 3
BIST 512 Interpreting the Hebrew Testament 3
BIST 521 Introducing New Testament Greek 3
BIST 522 Interpreting the Greek Testament 3
 
Students must select one of the following courses:
BIST 550 The Old Testament and the Ancient Near Easta 3
BIST 551 The Old Testament, Early Judaism, and Christianitya 3
Students must select one of the following courses:
BIST 560 Christology of the New Testamenta 3
BIST 561 Paul and the Lawa 3
Students must select one of the following courses:
BIST 542 Biblical Theology 3
BIST 543 Biblical Exegesis and Hermeneutics 3
 
Students must select 9 hours of additional BIST elective credits
BIST electivesb 9
 
Students must select one of the following tracks within the concentration:
Coursework Track
BIST electives 6
 
Project Track
BIST elective 3
BIST 573 Master's Summative Project 3
 
Thesis Track
BIST 571 Research/Thesis in Biblical Studies 3
BIST 572 Research/Thesis in Biblical Studies 3
Christian History and Theology Concentration
Students must select nine of the following courses:
CHTH 513 American Church History 3
CHTH 530 Women in Church Historyc 3
CHTH 546 Contemporary Theological Trends 3
CHTH 550 Christian Ethicsc 3
CHTH 552 Essentials of Christian Theology 3
CHTH 560 History of the Holiness and Pentecostal Movementc 3
CHTH 562 History of Spirituality and Renewal 3
CHTH 563 The Evangelical Movementc 3
CHTH 564 History and Polity of the Quaker Movementc 3
CHTH 566 Theology in the Wesleyan Traditionc 3
CHTH elective 3
 
Students must select one of the following tracks within the concentration:
Coursework Track
CHTH elective 6
 
Project Track
CHTH elective 3
CHTH 573 Master's Summative Project 3
 
Thesis Track
CHTH 571 Research/Thesis in Biblical Studies 3
CHTH 572 Research/Thesis in Biblical Studies 3
Christian History and Theology/Christian Earthkeeping Concentration
CHTH 541 Theology and Stewardship of Creation I 1.5
CHTH 542 Theology and Stewardship of Creation II 1.5
CHTH 543 Eschatology, New Creation, and Communal Ethics I 1.5
CHTH 544 Eschatology, New Creation, and Communal Ethics II 1.5
CHTH 556 Theology and Ethic of the Land 3
CHTH 558 Poverty and Restorative Earthkeeping 3

Students must select five of the following courses:
CHTH 513 American Church History 3
CHTH 530 Women in Church Historyc 3
CHTH 546 Contemporary Theological Trends 3
CHTH 550 Christian Ethicsc 3
CHTH 552 Essentials of Christian Theology 3
CHTH 560 History of the Holiness and Pentecostal Movementc 3
CHTH 562 History of Spirituality and Renewal 3
CHTH 563 The Evangelical Movementc 3
CHTH 564 History and Polity of the Quaker Movementc 3
CHTH 566 Theology in the Wesleyan Traditionc 3
CHTH elective 3
 
Students must select one of the following tracks within the concentration:
Coursework Track
CHTH elective 6
 
Project Track
CHTH elective 3
CHTH 573 Master's Summative Project 3
 
Thesis Track
CHTH 571 Research/Thesis in Biblical Studies 3
CHTH 572 Research/Thesis in Biblical Studies 3
Integrated Studies Concentration
Students must select one of the following sequences:
BIST 511 Introducing Biblical Hebrew and BIST 512 Interpreting the Hebrew Testament
6
BIST 521 Introducing New Testament Greek and BIST 522 Interpreting the Greek Testament
6
 
Students must select seven courses from the BIST and CHTH course offerings:
BIST/CHTH electives 21
 
Students must select one of the following tracks within the concentration:
Coursework Track
BIST/CHTH electives 6
 
Project Track
BIST/CHTH elective 3
BIST or CHTH 573 Master's Summative Project 3
 
Thesis Track
BIST/CHTH 571 Research/Thesis 3
BIST/CHTH 572 Research/Thesis 3
Integrated Studies/Christian Earthkeeping Concentration
CHTH 541 Theology and Stewardship of Creation I 1.5
CHTH 542 Theology and Stewardship of Creation II 1.5
CHTH 543 Eschatology, New Creation, and Communal Ethics I 1.5
CHTH 544 Eschatology, New Creation, and Communal Ethics II 1.5
CHTH 556 Theology and Ethic of the Land 3
CHTH 558 Poverty and Restorative Earthkeeping 3

Students must select one of the following sequences:
BIST 511 Introducing Biblical Hebrew and BIST 512 Interpreting the Hebrew Testament
6
BIST 521 Introducing New Testament Greek and BIST 522 Interpreting the Greek Testament
6
 
Students must select three courses from the BIST and CHTH course offerings:
BIST/CHTH electives 9
 
Students must select one of the following tracks within the concentration:
Coursework Track
BIST/CHTH electives 6
 
Project Track
BIST/CHTH elective 3
BIST or CHTH 573 Master's Summative Project 3
 
Thesis Track
BIST/CHTH 571 Research/Thesis 3
BIST/CHTH 572 Research/Thesis 3

Notes:

  • aBIST 550, 551, 560, and 561 are offered in alternating years.
  • bBIST 585 Greek Reading (1 hour) may be taken three times (totaling 3 hours) toward concentration requirements.
  • cCHTH 530, 550, 560, 563, 564, and 566 are offered in alternating years.
Seminary Course Descriptions
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