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Master of Arts in Theology


Culminating Experience

The M.A. in Theology program concludes with a comprehensive exam, a colloquium, or a thesis.


Option 1: Comprehensive Exam

The comprehensive exam may be taken by any student and must be taken by all students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 to 3.49. The exam consists of two three-hour parts taken over two days. Questions are based on topics from across the curriculum. A guide to the exam, which lists the topics to be covered, may be obtained from the E.I. office at any time. Students who have completed at least 38 credits may take the exam during either term of their final year of enrollment in the program.

Successful completion of the comprehensive exam requires a grade of B- or better. Students who do not pass the exam on the first attempt are permitted one retake.

Option 2: Master's Colloquium
The master's colloquium (TH799) is an interdisciplinary, integrative three-credit seminar that seeks to bring a variety of resources and perspectives to bear on a particular theological topic. It is offered only in the fall, and enrollment is restricted to matriculated M.A. in Theology candidates who have completed at least 38 credits toward the degree with a minimum GPA of 3.5 and who plan to graduate in the spring of that academic year. (Candidates for the Certificate of Advanced Studies are normally also permitted to enroll in TH799.)

Topics for the colloquium have included sin and redemption, love, the cross, revelation, conversion, discipleship, and other subjects. Students produce short weekly papers and a final substantive paper of 20-25 pages. Successful completion of the course, which consists of three credits beyond the 50 in the basic curriculum, requires a minimum grade of B. Part-time students enrolled in the colloquium are normally advised not to register for additional courses.

Option 3: Thesis
With the approval of the Dean, a student in the M.A. in Theology program may choose to write a thesis. The thesis replaces one free elective and the supplementary three credits of the colloquium, resulting in a total of six credits. Only students who have completed at least 38 credits toward the degree with very high grades (normally a GPA of 3.80 or better), adequate course preparation in the area of the proposed thesis, and advanced research and writing skills will be considered for the thesis option. A foreign language may be required if the thesis topic warrants it.

Thesis students register for two terms (normally the fall and spring semesters of their last year of enrollment in the program) of independent study with their thesis advisor (at independent-study tuition rates). Advance planning and approval of a thesis proposal during the year before registration for the thesis helps to ensure successful completion of the project. Normally, all other course work toward the degree must be completed before the student may register for the first thesis course (TH800). Students who do not complete the thesis in two semesters of independent study pay a continuing study fee of $300 per term (excluding summers). The thesis must be completed in no more than two academic years. The minimum passing grade on the thesis is a B+. Further guidelines for the M.A. thesis are available from the Office of Academic Services.