Nov 17, 2018  

Religion MA

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Program Description

Ranko Stefanovic, Director

The Master of Arts (Religion) is an academic program usually involving two years of specialized study beyond the baccalaureate degree. The purpose of this program is to prepare students in the areas of biblical studies, theology, and religious tradition beyond the bachelor degree. The program requires 38 credits of course work. Only 500- and 600-level courses are accepted. (See section below on degree requirements).

The MA (Religion) is offered both on campus and at international locations outside the United States.  For information on where it is offered, click here .

Program Outcomes

On Campus 

  1. Conduct effective research that communicates competence in a specialized field of study.
  2. Practice a biblically grounded approach to scholarly inquiry.
  3. Articulate theology and research in terms of Seventh-day Adventist, history, beliefs and practice.
  4. Demonstrate understanding of the content and central issues of the specialized field of study.


  1. Conduct effective research for teaching and ministry.
  2. Practice a biblically grounded approach to scholarly inquiry.
  3. Articulate theology and research in terms of Seventh-day Adventist history, beliefs and practice.
  4. Demonstrate a broad understanding of biblical studies, theology, and religious history within the Seventh-day Adventist church. 

Admission Requirements

Admission to the MA (Religion) program is based on the general admission requirements  for all graduate students and the general Seminary admission requirements  . Applicant holds a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent, normally with a major in religion or theology with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00 or above.

International Extension sites that provide instruction in the local language are not required to take a language qualifier.  See the section below titled Program Track Offered at International Sites for sites and languages of instruction.

Transfer Credits. A maximum of 6 semester hours of credit with a B (3.00) or above may be transferred from an approved seminary or university if applicable to the student’s program. Transfer courses must have been completed within the six-year time limit.

Other Prerequisites. Applicants must provide a transcript showing that they have taken the following courses at the undergraduate level with a GPA of 3.00 or better (on a 4.00 system). Prerequisites do not count as part of the 38 credits required for the MA (Religion) degree.

Church History 2  
New Testament Studies 2  
Old Testament Studies 2


Theological Studies 2  
E.G. White Writings 2  
Greek - Intermediate level proficiency** 0-6  
Hebrew - Intermediate level proficiency** 0-6  
Electives in religion* 0-12  

Total prerequisite credits 22  

*For the emphasis in Jewish and Muslim Faiths, Church History is to be replaced with one of the following courses: Jewish History, Arabic History, Introduction to Modern Hebrew, or Modern Dialectal Arabic.

Students seeking a concentration in Church History must demonstrate proficiency in two of the following: Intermediate Hebrew, Intermediate Greek, or Beginning Latin.

Students seeking a concentration in Mission Studies must demonstrate proficiency in either Intermediate Hebrew or Intermediate Greek.

**Students who must demonstrate profiency in Hebrew and/or Greek can do so by either passing the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary placement examinations or by completing the intermediate level courses, at the seminary, and earning a grade of B or above.  Placement exams must be taken within the first year of starting your program.  Zero credit shall be granted for each placement examination passed and the student’s academic transcript will show the equivalent course name, number, and a grade of “P” for passing, which is the designation for Challenge by Examination.  No entry shall be make on the transcript if the student fails the examamination, however, the student will be required to take the prerequisite course for credit, if they fail the examination.  The examination may be taken only once. 

NTST??? - Intermediate Greek Placement Exam, 0 credits, must receive a score of 60% or higher to pass.

OTST??? - Intermediate Hebrew Placement Exam, 0 credits, must receive a score of 65% or higher to pass.

Program Track Offered On the Main Campus

The MA (Religion) offered on the main campus prepares students for further graduate study in specialized areas, or for teaching religion in the secondary school. (Courses in teaching and requirements for certification may be obtained through the School of Education.) This program is offered with the research orientation which requires a thesis and a modern language relevant to the student’s research (French or German is recommended).

Students are to choose an area of concentration from those listed below:

Admission Requirements

In addition to the admission requirements to the MA (Religion) program specified above, these are following requirements for the program offered on campus:

  1. Applicant meets English proficiency requirements  of the School of Graduate Studies and Research.
  2. Applicant demonstrates proficiency in other required languages or shows a plan for acquiring language proficiency as determined by the selected area of concentration. Proficiency is defined as the reading knowledge of a language at the intermediate level. Examinations may be required to demonstrate proficiency. Biblical language proficiency must be demonstrated before registration for exegesis courses. Modern language deficiencies must be made up before registering for the MA thesis (see below). Language proficiency courses do not apply toward the 38 credits of the MA degree requirements.
  3. Complete and return the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire as directed.

Degree Requirements

In addition to the scholarship standards  in the Graduate Programs Academic Information section of this bulletin, students must fulfill the following requirements:

  • 38 semester credits with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or above. [Only 3 credit courses may be used to meet these requirements.] 
  • Core classes (15 credits):
  • The area of concentration with 18 credits in consultation with the Department. 
  • GSEM 679 Thesis for MA Degree (5 credits)
  • A modern language of French or German must be completed by examination and/or course work (FREN 505 , GRMN 505 ) which is in addition to the minimum 38 program credits. Other modern research languages may be considered by the program director if the language is relevant to the topic of the thesis/project.  Modern language requirement must be completed before registering for your thesis/project credits.

Concentration Requirements. In the event that a required course in the area of concentration is not offered during any given term, another course in the same area can be substituted for the required course in consultation with the chair of the department. 

Research Requirements. An MA thesis with a total of 5 credits must be completed and defended. It cannot be started until all language requirements are finished. A student who has registered the required 5 thesis course credits but has not finished the thesis must register for GSEM 688-Master Degree Continuation, 0 credits, until the thesis has been approved.

​Academic Advisement. The director of the MA in Religion program, in cooperation with department chairs, assigns academic advisers in the student’s area of specialization. The selection of the remaining course requirements is monitored by the director.

Certification for Teaching. Students who plan to teach religion in a Seventh-day Adventist academy or in a secondary school are urged to consult as early in the program as possible with the director of the MA program and the School of Education regarding qualifying for SDA teaching credentials. See recommended methods courses in Bible teaching designed to meet the certification requirements.

Distance Courses. Online courses must be approved by the MA Religion director before the course begins. These courses must cover appropriate content with sufficient rigor to meet the academic expectations of the MA Religion degree. 

Time Limits. A student must complete the requirements for the MA (Religion) degree and graduate within six years of first enrolling in the program regardless of admission classification.

Program Track Offered At International Sites

The MA (Religion) offered at international sites provides a survey knowledge of various theological disciplines in order to prepare students to act as teachers and church workers in a variety of areas. The program requires a thesis. It may reflect context-sensitive needs in its curriculum as approved by the program director. See the complete listing of international locations and programs.

Romanian Site: Language of instruction - English

Institutul Teologic Adventist

Şos. Decebal, nr. 11-13, Comuna Cernica, 077035, Judeţul Ilfov, România


Zaoksky Site: Language of instruction - Russian

Zaoksky Adventist University

Tula , Russia

Degree Requirements

In addition to the scholarship standards  in the Graduate Programs Academic Information section of this bulletin, students must fulfill the following requirements for both the research and the general academic orientation options:

Independent Study. Independent study credits are not accepted as part of the MA (Religion) degree offered at international sites.

Research Requirements. An MA thesis/project with a total of 6 credits is to be completed and defended. A student who has registered the required course work (6 thesis credits) but has not finished the thesis/project, must register for GSEM 688 - Master's Degree Continuation , 0 Credits until the thesis/project has been approved.

Time Limits. A student must complete the requirements for the MA (Religion) degree and graduate within six years of first enrolling in the program regardless of admission classification.

Preparation for the Andrews’ PhD Religion program. Students completing the more general MA Religion at international sites will need to do additional coursework in an area of specialization before they can be accepted into Andrews’ PhD Religion program.

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