Theology M.A.

The MA in Theology enhances a students’ understanding of biblically-informed faith by providing a firm foundation in systematic theology, biblical studies, and applied theology. This degree prepares students for ministry in the Church and can serve as a strong academic platform for post-graduate studies.  

Admission Requirements for the M.A.T

A student seeking the Master of Arts in Theology Degree must meet the following admission requirements:

  1. The completion of a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
    1. Exceptions: Applicants from institutions that are accredited by the American Association of Bible Colleges, or from other institutions not accredited by a regional association, are considered on an individual basis. If accepted, provisional standing is applied. After completion of 12 units earning a grade of “B” or better in each course, the student may request transferring to regular standing.
    2. Students in the senior year of their Bachelor’s degree can still apply. Such students may be admitted with provisional standing while finishing their Bachelor’s degree.
  2. A cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or higher (on a four-point scale) in all Bachelor’s work.
    1. Exception: If the GPA is below 2.5, student applications may still be considered at the discretion of the Admissions Committee. If accepted, provisional standing is granted, requiring completion the first 12 units of graduate level courses with grades of “B” or above before receiving further consideration for regular standing in the GPR.
  3. Prerequisites: Old Testament Survey and New Testament Survey.  Students may submit portfolio for Faculty approval.

Transfer Credit

Students in the M.A.T. program may transfer a maximum of twelve (12) units of coursework from an accredited graduate program when the coursework applies directly to their program design. Requests for transfer credit are to be submitted to the Registrar no later than the deadline for advancement to candidacy. Final decisions on matters of transfer credit rest with the Registrar upon receipt of the recommendation of the Director. No course with a grade lower than “B-” (2.67) is considered in transfer toward the M.A.T. degree. No transfer credit can be granted for coursework used for a degree awarded by another institution. A minimum of 36 units at VU is required of all students in the M.A.T. degree program.

The Academic Program of the M.A.T.

This degree program requires 12 required courses (36 units), 3 elective courses (9 units) and the Exit Option Integrative Seminar (3 units). Students choosing the Directed Reading (3 units) or the Master’s Thesis (3 units) Exit Option instead of the Integrative Seminar will register in additional 3 units for the Exit Option Design and Proposal course, which will be applied toward the 9 unit elective requirement. The program will consist of  48 total units.

Graduation Requirements

Overview: To complete a graduate degree program, students will need to successfully complete the specified coursework, choose and complete an exit option, and  apply for graduation. The graduation requirements for these steps are as follows:

Coursework and Academic Standing

Successfully complete the core and elective courses for an approved program. “Successful completion” means achieving a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 for the M.A. degree, or a grade point average of 2.67 for the M.A.T. degree. Also, no more than two course grades of C+ or C can count toward the M.A. degree, and no more than two course grades of C or C- can count toward the M.A.T. degree. Lastly, the student must have regular standing (rather than provisional), with all academic deficiencies resolved.

Choose Exit Option

The final stage of the degree program is the exit option, which allows the candidate to develop specialized expertise in an area of interest related to the academic program.

M.A.T students may complete the exit option in one of the following ways:

Option 1: RELG-693 Integrative Seminar (3 units) 

Option 2: RELG-795 Directed Reading + RELG-791 Exit Option Design/Proposal:leadership (6 units)

Option 3: RELG-798 Master's Thesis + RELG-791 Exit Option Design/Proposal:leadership (6 units)

Students who choose Option 2 or Option 3, must obtain approval from appropriate faculty on the Exit Option Application and return it to the GPT Office by no later than the beginning of the semester in which the exit option will be completed.

GUIDELINES FOR INTEGRATIVE SEMINAR

The Integrative Seminar option is available to students who are enrolled in the M.A.T. programs. The Integrative Seminar is designed to help students reflect theologically on ministry experience by integrating what they have learned in graduate coursework with the practice of ministry.

To complete this exit option:

Register in RELG-693 Integrative Seminar Integrative Seminar (3 units).

GUIDELINES FOR DIRECTED READING OPTION 

In general, the directed reading option is an opportunity to explore a subject of interest. Research should be supported by at least 4,500 pages of scholarly reading, and the results are expressed by written critiques, oral or written examinations, annotated bibliographies, or other means that the student and faculty mentor have agreed on.

To complete this exit option:

  1. Students should register for RELG-795 Directed Reading (3 units)and RELG-791 Exit Option Design/Proposal:leadership (3 units)
  2. Select a topic. The exit option design and proposal professor and/or academic advisor should be consulted as needed.
  3. Select Faculty Committee Chair and begin to describe the research topic in prospectus form (as instructed in the exit option design and proposal course).
  4. Select one other faculty reader after consulting with the Chair.
  5. Complete the Exit Option Application and return it to the GPT Office.
  6. Submit a copy of the approved prospectus with the GPT Office.
  7. Submit the final draft of the synthesis paper to the Faculty reader and Chair. Deadlines for submission of the synthesis paper are available from the GPT Office.
  8. Complete the directed reading in consultation with the Chair, and submit a copy of the final synthesis paper with the GPT Office.

GUIDELINES FOR THESIS

A thesis is an intensive study of a subject relevant to the student’s concentration. The project options allow one to study/survey, and contribute to some aspect of ministerial studies. Research for any option will be guided by three professors and formally written and defended. The average size of a thesis is approximately 100 pages.

To complete this exit option:

  1. Register for  RELG-798 Master's Thesis (3 units) AND RELG-791 Exit Option Design/Proposal:leadership (3 units)
  2. Select a topic. The research methodology professor and/or academic advisor should be consulted as needed.
  3. Select a faculty committee chair and clarify the research topic in prospectus form (as instructed in the Exit Option Design and Proposal course).
  4. Select a faculty committee in consultation with the committee chair. The committee must consist of at least three faculty members. In rare instances, students may request that scholars other than VU faculty be allowed to serve as readers on their thesis committee.
  5. Complete the Exit Option Application and return it to the o GPT Office
  6. File a copy of the approved prospectus with the GPT Office.
  7. The completed thesis must be submitted at least three months prior to defense date. Deadlines for Defending the Thesis/Project are available from the GPT Office.
  8. Defend the exit option when the committee agrees that it is complete enough to defend.

Application for Graduation

Students must file an application for graduation with the GPT Office by no later than the beginning of the semester in which the degree will be granted, even if the student does not participate in the commencement ceremony. The Application for Graduation form is available in the GPT Office and the Registrar’s Office. The degree is conferred on the last day of the semester in which the student has completed all degree program requirements as described above, and has satisfied the following requirements:

  1. File all the necessary forms in accordance with the timetable provided by the GPT Office.
  2. Successfully complete all degree requirements within the “maximum time” limits of eight (8) years.
  3. If transferring any graduate coursework, submit official, original transcripts accompanied by proper certification from all transfer institutions.
  4. Settle all financial obligations to the University.

  1. Students will gain competence in theology by reflecting on its classical topics in light of their historical developments and contextual challenges.
  2. Students will develop competence in biblical theology and Scriptural interpretation.
  3. Students will develop competence in applied theology through the study of ethics, leadership and ministry in various contexts.

Core Course Requirements  

These core courses embody specific, foundational readings, dialogue and research/writing instruction for each of the three areas of the degree.  Students gain familiarity with the scope of each academic discipline enabling them to proceed with the second level of the program.  These courses also introduce the student to the books of the Old Testament and New Testament, to the study of Christian theology and ethics, to the distinctive features of a Pentecostal/Charismatic theology of church leadership and mission, including its biblical foundations and moral responsibilities, and principles of leadership which include sermon preparation, administration, pastoral care and counseling, intercultural and urban ministry, and spirituality.

Core Course Requirements
THOG-510Systematic Theology: Christology, Anthropology, Soteriology3
NTG-508New Testament Theology & Interpretation3
OTG-518Old Testament Theology & Interpretation3
CLSG-741Expository Preaching3
THOG-520Systematic Theology: Pneumatology, Ecclesiology, and Eschatology3
THOG-530Systematic Theology: Theological Method, Revelation, and Theology Proper3
THOG-536Contemporary Pentecostal Theology3
OTG-690Seminar in Old Testament3
NTG-690Seminar:3
CLSG-715Church/Contemporary Moral Issues3
CLSG-720Theology/Theory of Leadership3
THOG-645Theology & Ministry/Postmodern Context3
Elective Course Requirements9
The elective courses provide a broad base of interpretive skills in biblical interpretation, an understanding of Christian theology, and an introduction to the ministry and mission of the Christian church. The elective courses can be distributed between Biblical Studies, Theology and Leadership, or focused on any one of the three areas.
Bibilical Studies Electives:
Old Testament
Beginning Hebrew I
Beginning Hebrew II
Intermediate Hebrew I
Intermediate Hebrew II
Old Testament Ethics
Special Topic:
Individual Study in Old Testament
New Testament
Beginning Greek I
Beginning Greek II
Intermediate Greek I
Intermediate Greek II
Parables for Preaching
New Testament Ethics
Special Topic:
Ind Study:
Theology and Ethics
Special Topic:
Individual Study:
Leadership Electives
History of Spirituality
Spiritual Formation
Spiritual Direction
Change and Strategic Planning
Team Development & Conflict Management
Leadership/Character Developmt
Mission/Culture in Theo Persp
Special Topic:
Ind Study: Leadership Studies
Seminar in Leadership Studies
Field Education Electives
Field Education in Student Ministries
Field Education in Church Administration
Field Education in Worship Leadership
Field Education in Family Life and Small Group Ministries
Field Education in Pastoral Leadership Ministries
Exit Option
Select one of the following options:3-6
Integrative Seminar
Exit Option Design/Proposal:leadership
and Directed Reading
Exit Option Design/Proposal:leadership
and Master's Thesis
Total Units48-51