Program Director: Teofilo Correa
The MA-R program is intended for persons wishing to obtain an academic degree in religion at the master’s level, with an emphasis in one major field of religious studies. It is designed primarily for students who wish to qualify themselves for teaching religion.
The MA-R also prepares the student for entrance into the PhD or MTh program. Because of this, care has been taken to provide an academically demanding curriculum, including a thesis. The academic departments will carefully screen applicants, giving special attention to the student’s demonstrated academic ability.
The MA-R is offered with two options for the culminating phase. (1) Specialized Research or (2) Comprehensive Research. The Specialized Research option is designed to prepare the student for further studies at the doctoral level (PhD) by writing and successfully defending a thesis. The Comprehensive Research is geared towards professional careers and/or teaching at the undergraduate and college levels. This option includes six additional semester credits from the student’s area of study, and two comprehensive examinations.
Outcomes and Competencies
Educational and spiritual strengthening in major area of study
· Graduate demonstrates advanced theological knowledge in the major area chosen for study (biblical studies, biblical languages, theological-historical, mission)
· Graduate has a deepened spiritual understanding in major area of study and sustains a vibrant intellectual and relationship-oriented life as part of an ongoing commitment to Christ
Teaching for college level
· Graduate demonstrates knowledge, understanding, and professional skills in religious studies and is prepared to teach religion courses at college level
· Graduate is able to interact with the broader philosophical community and minister effectively in academic and church related settings
Research and writing in preparation for doctoral studies
· Graduate demonstrates mastery of the methodological and theoretical frameworks employed in religious studies research
· Graduate has analytic discursive skills at a high level of proficiency, has conducted research, and successfully defended a thesis in the major area of study
· Graduate is qualified for studies on the doctoral level
The MA-R degree is offered in the following majors:
The time to begin the MA in Religion is June (the first semester of the school year).
At the beginning of the student’s coursework, the department chairperson and program director will meet with the student to plan a program of study that will be implemented by the program director.
The maximum credit load is 12 semester hours per semester (6 semester hours during the intersemester). MA-R students may take some courses with students in professional programs but may expect to be given additional class assignments in reading and/or writing due to the different levels of the prefix numbering of the courses. Since the MA-R is a research degree, most courses require a major paper as part of the coursework to help prepare the student for writing the thesis. The normal duration of the program is two years. Students should plan additional time to complete any prerequisites, including the English language proficiency requirements.
All matters pertaining to a student's program will be handled by the program director in consultation with the department of the student's major field and/or the student's thesis committee.
MA-R applicants are required to demonstrate proficiency in both Greek and Hebrew by taking proficiency exams at first availability in the schedule. The minimum pass for the Grammar level is 73%. The passing grade for the Reading level is 83%. AIIAS Seminary offers proficiency exams for Hebrew and Greek before the beginning of each semester. Students with majors other than Biblical Studies will choose only one reading prerequisite.
Complete a total of 42 semester hours by taking courses at the 600 level with a maximum load of 12 credits per regular semester and 6 credits during the intersemester, with a cumulative GPA of not less than 3.00 for graduation. Each major area of study requires the successful completion of the following courses:
|Three Core Courses||9|
|GSEM 608||Advanced Methods of Teaching Bible (3 units)|
|GSEM 630||Documentary Research and Writing (3 units)|
|OTST/NTST 612||Biblical Hermeneutics (3 units)|
|One of the following research courses:|
|GSEM 630||Documentary Research and Writing (3 units)|
|GSEM 600||Applied Theology Research and Writing (3 units)|
|Six major courses||18|
Taken from the major area, these should include seminars.
|Three minor courses||9|
|May be chosen from an area different than the major.|
|One research option||6|
|Specialized Research (includes MA-R thesis) or Comprehensive Research (includes two courses and two comprehensive examinations from the major area of study)|
Except for the three core courses (GSEM 608 Advanced Methods of Teaching Bible, GSEM 630 Documentary Research and Writing, and OTST/NTST 612 Biblical Hermeneutics) up to two courses may be taken as Direct Research or Direct Study.
Register for the course GSEM 630 Documentary Research and Writing in the very beginning of the course work (first or second semester). Students with Applied Theology majors who prefer to do quantitative research may take GSEM 600 Applied Theology Research and Writing in lieu of GSEM 630. The grade earned in this course must be a B (3.00) or above. If a student fails this course he/she may retake it once. Failure to pass this course the second time will disqualify the student from continuation in the program. However, the student will not be able to register for other courses in the MA-R program until he/she passed the course with at least a B.
One purpose of the thesis is to demonstrate the student’s ability to conduct research and to express the results clearly and logically in writing. Early in his/her program, the student should select a broad area of interest for a thesis topic. Then the following steps should be taken:
The MA-R program with the option of Comprehensive Research requires two comprehensive examinations (3 hours for each exam, taken on the same day). These examinations test the student’s comprehensive knowledge in the major area, determine familiarity with the pertinent literature relating to the field of study, and the student’s powers of criticism and analysis.
Scheduling and Preparation. At the time of registration for the last semester of coursework the student is required to apply for the comprehensive examination. The exam will take place no earlier than upon completion of the student’s coursework and an appropriate period of intensive preparation (normally four to six weeks). The program committee will assign the examination date and two professors of the major area who will provide the student with detailed information and will guide him/her in the preparation for the exams.
Grading and Reporting. The MA-R director will officially notify the student of his/her performance on the comprehensive examination within two weeks. Each exam is evaluated and graded individually.
If the student fails any of the individual examinations on the second attempt s/he will be dropped from the program.
The MA-R program at AIIAS Seminary follows high standards of scholarship. Among these are the following:
Time Limitation. The time limitation for the MA-R program is five calendar years from the beginning of the first semester of class work.
Transfer Credit and Challenge Examination. The student may request to transfer credits and take challenge examinations up to the limit stated in the general policy (25%).
Overload. Normally, the MA-R program at AIIAS Seminary does not allow an overload of credits.
Assignments. A MA-R student may take classes with students in professional programs (MMin, MDiv), but will be given additional class assignments in reading and writing. The reason for additional assignments is that the MA-R is a research degree, in which most courses require a major paper as part of the coursework in order to sharpen the student’s research skills and to help prepare for the writing of the thesis.