Master of Arts (MA)

The Common Master of Arts (MA) is a two-year academic degree offered by the Graduate Theological Union in cooperation with PSR. The MA program offers an opportunity for you to explore theology and religion in response to the challenges posed by contemporary cultures.  MA students seek to understand the issues and hope to make a difference with their pursuits.  By studying with faculty and students from across the participating schools of the GTU community, MA students experience true dialogue – talking with each other across what might be entrenched or insurmountable differences.

Some of the paths our MA graduates take include advancing to doctoral study to teach at a seminary or university, teaching at the high school level, and managing nonprofit agencies and departments. Each student affiliates with a member school according to their area of concentration and the faculty resources of that school. Note that the area and school of affiliation that you select at the time you apply to the program will determine your advisor, who will most likely be the core faculty person in that area at the school you select, and you may not be able to change this assignment depending on other factors. A portion of the student's course work must be taken outside the school of affiliation, and committee members must include faculty from a second GTU school.

Course Requirements

The MA degree requires a total of 48 credits: 14 three-unit academic courses plus six units of thesis work. Two years of residence are required for satisfactory completion of the degree, and students must maintain an overall "B" average. Letter grades of B- or above in all of the 14 courses are required. The course distribution in the common MA follows:

  • Area 1: Old and New Testament Studies (BS, OT, or NT), 3 credits
  • Area 2: Historical Studies (HS), 3 credits
  • Area 3: Systematic and Philosophical Theology (PH, PT, ST), 3 credits
  • Area 4: Ethics and Social Theory or Religion & Society (CE, RS), 3 credits
  • Area of Concentration courses: 12 credits (6 of which must be advanced level, 4000 or above)
  • Electives, 18 credits
  • Thesis (MA 5000), 6 credits.

MA students with an area of concentration of Biblical Languages have different course distribution requirements and an oral examination requirement rather than a thesis.

Other MA documents and forms

For more information

For more information on GTU MA Program including the language requirement, committee, evaluation, and other details of the MA program, visit the GTU Web site. For more information on how to apply, contact the GTU Admissions Office at 2400 Ridge Rd., Berkeley, CA 94709, or 800/826-4488 and the PSR Admissions Office at