The M.Div./M.A. in Religion is designed to enhance divinity students with advanced biblical language and research skills. 

Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy

Master of Divinity/ Master of Arts in Religion

The M.Div. /M.A. in Religion is designed to enhance divinity students with advanced biblical language and research skills by permitting them to earn a second degree, the Master of Arts in Religion, instead of the usual M.Div. concentration. This degree provides students with a broadened and deepened context in the biblical languages, the academic study of religion, and opportunities in either thesis writing or teaching internship. The breadth of this type of study would enhance the understanding, interpretation, and application of the Scriptures as well as ncrease understanding of working with diverse persons within and outside parish ministry.

 

The M.Div. /M.A. in Religion is housed in the School of Divinity. The unique dual degree requires completion of the 60 hour core, 6 hours of biblical studies electives, 3 hours of historical and theological studies electives, 3 hours of practical ministry electives of the M.Div. degree, and the 36 hour M.A. in Religion for a total of 108 hours. The M.A. in Religion program includes eighteen hours taken from a common core offered by the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy. Students in the M.A. in Religion program select from one of three concentrations: Religious Studies Concentration, Biblical Studies/Languages Concentration, or Out-of-Department Concentration. Each concentration is comprised of twelve (12) semester hours. Students also select six hours from one of two tracks: the research track (thesis research and writing) or the teaching track (a pedagogy course and an internship in university teaching).

 

Dual degree students must apply to the Graduate School as well as to the School of Divinity, following the admission requirements of the respective programs, and be accepted to each in order to pursue both degrees. Also, when academic policies and standards differ between the two schools (e.g., grades required for maintaining good academic standing and for graduation), the policies and standards of the appropriate school apply to the respective portion of the dual degree.

 

Admissions Requirements

In addition to the basic requirements for admission to the University’s Graduate School (a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning, transcripts, satisfactory scores on either the Graduate Record examination or the Miller Analogies Test, and three positive letters of recommendation), full admission is granted to students who have met the following requirements:

 

  1. A minimum GPA of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale
  2. GRE or MAT scores.
  3. Submit a 15-20 page research paper with documented research on a topic in the field of Religious Studies. This essay can be something the applicant has written previously for an academic assignment. The essay must be submitted electronically in Rich Text Format by email to the Graduate School. 
  4. A successful departmental interview to determine academic preparation and vocational appropriateness of the degree for the prospective student (students desiring to work in pastoral ministry are directed to a Master of Divinity program rather than the M.A. in Religion).

 

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.

 

Purpose

The purpose of the program is the academic study of religion (rather than parish ministry) in order to prepare students for one or more of the following possibilities:

  1. Meeting Ph.D. entrance requirements
  2. College teaching on the freshman and sophomore levels
  3. Teaching in private schools

 

Goals

The Master of Arts in Religion program is designed to meet the following goals:

  1. Graduate students will develop the research and writing skills essential for scholars in the field of religious studies.
  2. Graduate students will become conversant on the philosophical assumptions, classical and modern theories, and current research in the field of religious studies.
  3. Graduate students will demonstrate proficiency in expressing scholarly ideas through either a written thesis or a supervised teaching experience.

 

Course Requirements

 

Master of Arts in Religion

  1. Common Core (18 hours):

    RELI 600: Research Seminar (3 hrs.)
    RELI 605: Biblical Studies Seminar (3 hrs.)
    RELI 640: Theological Studies Seminar (3 hrs.)
    RELI 660: World Religions Seminar (3 hrs.)
    RELI 680: Religion and Literature Seminar (3 hrs.)

    Three (3) hours from the following course offerings:

    RELI 630: Historical Studies Seminar (3 hrs.)
    RELI 650: Philosophy of Religion Seminar (3 hrs.)
    RELI 670: Psychology of Religion Seminar (3 hrs.)
  2. Concentrations (12 hours) – One will be chosen
    1. Religious Studies Concentration (12 hours)
      Students will construct a concentration consisting of four (4) courses in consultation with their advisor, selecting from courses offered by the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy and the School of Divinity.
    2. Biblical Studies/Languages Concentration (12 hours)
      RELI 610: Advanced Hebrew Exegesis Seminar (3 hrs.)
      RELI 620: Advanced Greek Exegesis Seminar (3 hrs.)
      RELI 615: Old Testament Seminar (3 hrs.)
      RELI 625: New Testament Seminar (3 hrs.)
    3. Out-of-Department Concentration (12 hours)
      Students will construct a concentration consisting of four (4) courses in consultation with their advisor, selecting from courses outside of the Department. Possibilities include (but are not limited to) the English Department and the School of Psychology.
  3. Research or Teaching Track (6 hours)
    Students also select six hours from one of two tracks: the research track (a research seminar and thesis) or the teaching track (a pedagogy course and an internship in university teaching).
    • The six-hour Advanced Research Track is encouraged for those individuals who are giving serious consideration to pursuing Ph.D. studies. 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 students will work toward the completion of an 80-120 page Thesis
    • The six-hour Teaching Track is encouraged for those individuals who are interested in teaching, whether in a high school or college setting. The student will enroll in RELI 685: Religious Instruction Seminar, a course in pedagogical methods, and RELI 690: Graduate Internship, a course that provides an opportunity for supervised classroom instruction where the student works alongside a departmental professor in either an Old Testament Survey or New Testament Survey class.

 

Biblical Studies Electives (M.Div.) 6 hrs.
Historical/Theological Electives (M.Div.) 3 hrs.
Practical Ministry Electives (M.Div.) 3 hrs.
M.Div. Core60 hrs.
M.A. in Religion 36 hrs.
TOTAL in the M.Div./M.A. in Religion108 hrs.

 

Exit Criteria

In order to graduate, all students in the program must pass comprehensive written examinations on their course work. Students in the thesis track must pass a successful oral defense of their thesis. Those students in the teaching track must pass a successful written or oral defense of their internship.

Contact
 

M. Div.

Dr. Gerald Keown

Phone: (704) 406-4629

Email: gkeown@gardner-webb.edu

 

M.A.

Dr. Kent Blevins

Phone: (704) 406-4458

Email: kblevins@gardner-webb.edu