Master of Arts Religion

All graduate degrees

The Master of Arts degree helps prepare you for doctoral studies by developing your skills in research, writing, and independent thinking. Graduates are equipped with 36 credits and a master's degree in religion as a basis for applying for a doctoral program.

How the program works

The MA program is designed to accommodate the schedule of a full-time pastor. Courses are offered primarily as two- or three-week intensive sessions on campus during the summer, with prior and subsequent reading and writing assignments. No online courses are offered. The recommended load is a maximum of two courses per summer.

  • Summer intensives:  Each year before registering for summer classes, students must submit an Intensives Application. The application is due no later than eight weeks prior to each session, but we recommend submitting it as early as February to allow sufficient time to complete required reading assignments. The form, which lists the classes offered, will be posted here in January.
  • Southern Union pastors:  Pastors may receive a tuition waiver by submitting a signed Conference Authorization form each semester that they are enrolled for classes. CONFERENCE AUTHORIZATION FORM
  • International students:  Since graduate programs in the School of Religion are offered only as summer intensives, the part-time schedule does not meet student-visa requirements for international students.

Eligibility and prerequisites

  • Bachelor’s degree:  A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution
  • Religion courses:  A minimum of 12 semester hours in religion
  • GPA requirement: A minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.25  OR  for an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 to 3.24, the GRE is required with a combined verbal and quantitative score of at least 300 and a minimum analytical writing score of 4.5.)
  • Emphasis in Biblical and Theological Studies:  Applicants must have six semester hours of credit in a biblical language with a minimum grade of C. This may be counted as part of the required 12 hours in religion.

Admission process

  1. Graduate application:  Submit a graduate application (with non-refundable fee of $25). Apply now
  2. Transcripts: Submit official college and university transcripts. Many institutions subscribe to the convenient transcript-request service at National Student Clearinghouse, or you may also contact your institution directly. Have your transcripts sent to Melodie Lopez in the Graduate Studies office (malopez@southern.edu). If you earned your prerequisite degree at Southern, you do not need to complete this step.
  3. Recommendations:  Submit two recommendation forms (completed by work supervisors or professors).This may be done as part of the online application process, or by using the PDF form. Download form 
    If you are employed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, one recommendation must be from a superior in the organization.
  4. Service record:  Submit a denominational service record (usually available from your SDA employer), if applicable, OR the Record of Service form. Download form
  5. Formal paper:  Submit a formal paper (email to reynolds@southern.edu) of at least 3,000 words that meets these criteria:
    • It is research based, demonstrating appropriate use of valid sources.
    • It reflects the ability to write lucidly, with careful organization of ideas.
    • It demonstrates care and consistency in format, style, and mechanics.
    • It meets the standards of at least a B letter-grade paper when compared with other research papers that are completed on the undergraduate level.
  6. GRE requirement:  If your undergraduate GPA is below 3.25 (but at least 2.75), submit qualifying GRE scores to be considered for admission.?

Application deadlines

The deadline for acceptance into the MA program is April 1; however, each year before registering for summer classes, students must submit a separate Intensives Application, which is due at least eight weeks prior to each term. We recommend submitting it as early as February to allow sufficient time to complete required reading assignments. With School of Religion approval, students may take up to 12 hours of coursework on non-degree or provisional status.

INTENSIVES APPLICATION PROGRAM APPLICATION
From February 1 to no later than eight weeks before the session starts. April 1

International students

Since graduate programs in the School of Religion are offered only as summer intensives, the part-time schedule does not meet student-visa requirements for international students.

 

Course guide

Select an emphasis:

Biblical and Theological Studies

The emphasis in Biblical and Theological Studies is specifically designed to prepare students for entering an academic doctoral program in biblical or theological studies.

The emphasis in Religious Studies is specifically designed to provide a flexible graduate program in religion for those who want to enter an academic doctoral program in religious studies or to further their religious education in a more general way.

Biblical Studies Courses Credits
  RELB 510 Archaeology and Bible Interpretation 3
or RELB 530 Archaeological Fieldwork (1-6 hours) 3
or RELB 565 Topics in Biblical Studies 3
  RELB 545 General Epistles 3
or RELB 546 Pauline Epistles 3
  RELB 555 Studies in Daniel 3
  RELB 556 Studies in Revelation 3
Biblical Studies Total   12
Theological Studies Courses Credits
  RELT 531 Hermeneutics and Biblical Interpretation 3
  RELT 542 Studies in Biblical Doctrines 3
  RELT 546 Doctrine of Salvation 3
or RELT 563 Contemporary Theological Issues 3
  RELT 581 Biblical Ethics and Contemporary Society 3
Theological Studies Total   12
Research Courses Credits
  RELG 600 Research Methods and Writing 3
  RELB 650 Thesis in Biblical Studies (may be taken in increments of 1-6 hours) 6
or RELT 650 Thesis in Theological Studies (may be taken in increments of 1-6 hours) 6
Research Total   9
Elective Courses Credits
    Biblical Studies or Theological Studies

 

3
Elective Total   3
  Total   36
Biblical and Theological Courses Credits
  RELB 546 Pauline Epistles 3
or RELB 553 Studies in Romans 3
  RELB 555 Studies in Daniel 3
or RELB 556 Studies in Revelation 3
  RELT 531 Hermeneutics and Biblical Interpretation 3
  RELT 538 Prophetic Guidance in the Adventist Church 3
or RELT 563 Contemporary Theological Issues 3
  RELT 542 Studies in Biblical Doctrines 3
or RELT 546 Doctrine of Salvation 3
  RELT 568 World Religions 3
  RELT 581 Biblical Ethics and Contemporary Society 3
Biblical and Theological Total   21
Research Courses Credits
  RELG 600 Research Methods and Writing 3
  RELB 620 Project in Biblical Studies 3
or RELT 620 Project in Theological Studies 3
or RELB 650 Thesis in Biblical Studies (may be taken in increments of 1-6 hours) 6
or RELT 650 Thesis in Theological Studies (may be taken in increments of 1-6 hours) 6
Research Total   6-9
Elective Courses Credits
    Biblical Studies, Professional Studies, or Theological Studies

 

6-9
Elective total   6-9
  Total   36

Faculty

Stephen Bauer
Stephen Bauer

Professor
sbauer@southern.edu
423.236.2981

Michael Hasel
Michael Hasel

Professor
mhasel@southern.edu
423.236.2986

Doug Jacobs
Doug Jacobs

Professor
jacobs@southern.edu
423.236.2980

Martin Klingbeil
Martin Klingbeil

Professor
mklingbeil@southern.edu
423.236.2983

Carlos Martin
Carlos Martin

Professor
martin@southern.edu
423.236.2944

Alan Parker
Alan Parker

Professor
parker@southern.edu
423.236.2683

Edwin Reynolds
Edwin Reynolds

Professor
reynolds@southern.edu
423.236.2989

Barry Tryon
Barry Tryon

Professor
btryon@southern.edu
423.236.2025

Philip Samaan
Philip Samaan

Professor
pgs@southern.edu
423.236.2982

Get started

Thank you for considering Southern Adventist University for your graduate studies in Religion. We have attempted here to explain our programs and their rationale and delivery method. If after careful reading of this material you still have questions, please call or e-mail me, and I will be happy to try to answer your questions more fully. We look forward to being able to help you with your graduate studies if our programs fit your needs and situation.

Edwin Reynolds

Graduate Program Coordinator
reynolds@southern.edu
423.236.2989