Religion, Master of Arts

The purpose of the Master of Arts in Religion program is the academic study of religion in order to prepare students for one or more of the following possibilities:
  1. Meeting PhD entrance requirements;
  2. College teaching on the freshman and sophomore levels; and/or
  3. Teaching in private schools.

Admission Requirements

Application for admission to the Master of Arts in Religion Program is made through the Gardner-Webb University Office of Graduate Admissions. The following criteria will be used for consideration of acceptance:

  1. Minimum GPA of 2.7;
  2. GRE or MAT Scores;
  3. Research Writing Sample;
  4. Official Transcripts;
  5. Three Professional References; and
  6. Admission Interview.

Applicants for admission to the Master of Arts in Religion Program with a concentration in Biblical Studies/Languages will be required to demonstrate proficiency in Greek and Hebrew.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who study in the MA in Religion will demonstrate:

  1. Research and writing skills essential for scholars in the field of religious studies;
  2. An understanding of the classical and modern theories, and current research in the field of religious studies; and
  3. Proficiency in expressing scholarly ideas through a written thesis.

General Information

The MA in Religion is a thirty-six (36) credit-hour program.

Eighteen (18) hours are taken from a common core offered by the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy.

Twelve (12) hours are selected from one of three concentrations:

  1. Religious Studies Concentration: Students will construct a concentration consisting of four courses in consultation with their advisor, selecting from courses offered by the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy or the School of Divinity.
  2. Biblical Studies/Languages Concentration: Students will take the following four courses.
    1. Advanced Hebrew Exegesis Seminar
    2. Advanced Greek Exegesis Seminar
    3. Old Testament Seminar
    4. New Testament Seminar
  3. Out-of-Department Concentration: Students will construct a concentration consisting of four courses in consultation with their advisor, selecting from courses outside of the Department. Possibilities include (but are not limited to) the Department of English Language and Literature and the School of Psychology.

At the conclusion of the first 30 hours of the program, students will take comprehensive exams covering their coursework. Satisfactory completion of exams is required before commencing the last six hours of the program in either the Advanced Research Track or the Teaching Track.

The final six (6) hours of the program involve researching and writing a thesis. The student is enrolled in RELI 695 Thesis for two semesters (or more if additional time is needed to complete the Thesis). The first semester is focused on research and producing a 6-10 page thesis prospectus. In the second semester, the student will work toward the completion of an 80-120 page thesis.

Exit Criteria

In order to graduate, all students in the program must pass comprehensive written examinations on their coursework. Students must also pass a successful oral defense of their thesis.

MA in Religion Curriculum (36 hours)

Required Courses (15 hours)

RELI 600Research Seminar

3

RELI 605Biblical Studies Seminar

3

RELI 640Theological Studies Seminar

3

RELI 660World Religions Seminar

3

RELI 685Religious Instruction Seminar

3

Elective (3 hours)

Choose one of the following.
RELI 630Historical Studies Seminar

3

RELI 650Philosophy of Religion Seminar

3

RELI 670Psychology of Religion Seminar

3

RELI 680Literature and Religion Seminar

3

Concentrations (12 hours)

Choose one of the following concentrations.

Religious Studies Concentration

Students will construct a concentration consisting of four courses in consultation with their advisor, selecting from courses offered by the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy or the School of Divinity.

Biblical Studies/Languages

RELI 610Advanced Hebrew Exegesis Seminar

3

RELI 620Advanced Greek Exegesis Seminar

3

RELI 615Old Testament Seminar

3

RELI 625New Testament Seminar

3

Out-of-Department Concentration

Students will construct a concentration consisting of four courses in consultation with their advisor, selecting from courses outside of the Department. Possibilities include (but are not limited to) the Department of English Language and Literature and the School of Psychology.

Research (6 hours)

RELI 695Thesis

3

RELI 695Thesis

3

RELI 695: First semester
RELI 695: Second semester

Total Credit Hours: 36