Master of Arts

Degree Overview

A Master of Arts (MA) serves; those preparing for further graduate work in Religious Studies or other humanities disciplines at the PhD level; those preparing for teaching positions at colleges or universities; those preparing for professional careers in non-academic settings; or those simply seeking to enjoy the intellectual rewards of a liberal arts education at the graduate level.

The MA program is a 72 credit hour degree intended for students with academic interests in theological and religious studies. It is an appropriate pre-doctoral program and provides a broad background in theological and religious studies, work in an area of concentration, and a thesis project. The curriculum includes study in an area of concentration, required courses to ensure breadth of religious and theological backgrounds, an MA colloquium, language study, and the development and writing of a thesis.

In addition, Iliff’s programs offer you the unique ability to demonstrate your effectiveness to future employers, since you may earn graduate certificates in specific areas of concentration while earning your degree and you can participate in Iliff’s signature course, Authentic Engagement™, demonstrating your ability to engage complex communities.

Degree Curriculum

The disciplinary nature of the Master of Arts degree provides maximum opportunities for students focusing on particular topics, including:

  • Comparative Religious Traditions
  • Sacred Texts
  • Social/Contextual Analysis
  • Historical Development/Exploration of Religious Traditions
  • Constructive Theology
  • Theology and Religious Practices

Iliff’s MA program offers you the unique ability to showcase your effectiveness to future employers, since you may earn graduate certificates in specific areas of concentration while earning your degree. You can also learn how to engage others via Iliff’s signature course, Authentic Engagement™.

Degree Requirements

The MA degree requires at least 72 quarter credits. Students must meet the requirements as specified in the Master’s Student Handbook of their year of matriculation.

Requirements include:

  • MA Seminars 1 and 2 (8 credits)
  • Courses in the area of concentration (24 credits)
  • Other Courses (32 credits)
  • MA/MTS Thesis Proposal Seminar (4 credits)
  • Disciplinary Thesis (4 credits)

The program culminates in a disciplinary thesis which is intended to be a focused, article-length (6,000 words), original piece of academic research demonstrating the student’s: ability to work across two or more identifiable disciplines showing the ability to conduct academic research; depth and originality of thought; ability to articulate his or her research in appropriate academic discourse.

Proficiency by examination in one foreign language is required. These languages are normally limited to French, German, Spanish, Hebrew, Greek or Latin. Exceptions may be made for a research language directly related to the student’s area of study.

Areas of Concentration:

  • Theology and Philosophy of Religion
  • History of Christianity
  • Biblical Studies
  • Pastoral Care
  • Ethics and Social Change
  • Interdisciplinary /Other

MA: Disciplinary Thesis. The Thesis Project is intended to be a focused, article-length (6,000 words), original piece of academic research, demonstrating the student’s: mastery of a particular topic/subject; ability to conduct academic research; depth and originality of thought; ability to articulate his or her research in appropriate academic discourse.

Degree Options

Course Delivery

The MA draws on a broad variety of courses at Iliff that are available in a residential and intensive formats. The required courses for the MA will not be offered online and students will need to live in proximity to Iliff to have access to the full array of courses in their specific discipline. Online and hybrid courses may be taken, but only to augment other residential requirements.

Certificate Options

Students may simultaneously earn graduate certificates while earning their master’s degree. In addition, Iliff’s unique signature course, Authentic Engagement™, can help students learn how to engage communities in any setting.

Students with an MDIV

The MA degree may be completed in 40 quarter credits if the student has previously completed an MDIV degree from an accredited institution.

MA – MSW Cooperative Program

A cooperative arrangement between Iliff School of Theology and The Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver allows qualified students to pursue concurrently the Master of Arts with the Master of Social Work degree. The cooperative degree program offers students the opportunity to apply theological learning to social service settings. Each school allows students to transfer a predetermined number of credits from one degree program into the other, which allows students to complete both degrees in a shorter amount of time. Details are listed in the Master’s Student Handbook.

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