The Master of Arts (Biblical and Theological Studies) Degree Program

Program Overview

The purpose of the Master of Arts (Biblical and Theological Studies) (MABTS) degree is to provide a graduate-level understanding of biblical and theological disciplines for students seeking specialized education. It is ideal for students with various academic goals who realize the need for graduate study in theological and biblical disciplines; persons seeking a solid theological education to enhance their chosen professions and prepare them to fill a vital ministry role; students building a substantial academic foundation for doctoral studies; and for those serving with parachurch organizations or other specialized ministries who desire advanced biblical/theological competency. The Master of Divinity (MDiv) is recommended for those seeking ordination (chaplaincy), or for those who anticipate subsequent Doctor of Ministry Studies.

Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

The MA (Biblical and Theological Studies) program goals include:

  • Cultivate skills in the efficient study and interpretation of Scripture.
  • Provide theoretical and practical skills in one area of focused specialization; and
  • Promote growth in Christian maturity demonstrated through effective interpersonal relationships.

Program learning outcomes:

  • Students understand and integrate Scripture into decision making and problem-solving.
  • Students effectively judge between competing ideas and apply theological truth.
  • Students exhibit Christ-like integrity that encompasses their personal and public life.
  • Students are committed to an ongoing process of spiritual formation that is clearly grounded in the Gospel.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the general requirements for admission to the Seminary, applicants for the MABTS program must possess a four-year baccalaureate degree or its educational equivalent from a college or university accredited by a United States association holding membership in one of the seven regional accrediting associations, membership in the Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada, membership in the Association for Biblical Higher Education, or from an institution which maintains similar academic requirements and standards. Additionally, MA applicants must present a GPA of 3.0 or higher, including a breadth of liberal arts. Applicants who do not meet these general academic requirements may petition the Admissions Committee for consideration. A recommendation from the applicant’s pastor and three personal recommendations regarding the applicant’s Christian character and leadership also are required.

Degree Requirements

Students may complete their studies in as few as four semesters with a minimum of 56 credit hours required for graduation. The program is designed around a common core of 36 credits and a combination of electives for an additional 20 credits.

The MABTS degree is conferred upon the attainment of certain personal and academic requirements. In addition to the general seminary requirements, degree candidates must (1) give evidence of a genuine Christian character, orthodox belief, and conduct consistent with a God-given call to a position of leadership; (2) complete all courses in the prescribed MA curriculum with a minimum grade point average of 3.0.

All work leading to the MABTS must be completed within five years from the time of matriculation. Permission to extend the five-year statute of limitations must be granted through the submission of an academic petition. Reinstatement to the program after withdrawal requires Admissions Committee action and may subject the student to additional requirements for the degree. All credits applied toward the degree requirements earned within ten years of the awarding of the degree. Alternatively, new or re-entering students whose prior coursework exceeds the ten-year limit may request to demonstrate current competency by examination up to the advanced standing credit limitations for each degree program as specified elsewhere in this catalog.

Master of Arts (Biblical and Theological Studies) Curriculum Plan

Foundational Studies: 12 credits
BT501 Hermeneutics 2
BT502 Understanding Biblical Theology 2
CS501 Learning to Love God and Others 2
CS502 Growing in Prayer and Other Key Spiritual Disciplines 2
MF501 Introduction to Theological Study and Ministry Formation 2
ML506 Ministerial Ethics 2
Biblical Studies: 12 credits
BL501 Interpreting Genesis to Song of Solomon 4
BL502 Interpreting the Prophets and Gospel 4
BL503 Interpreting Acts to Revelation 4
Theological Studies: 12 credits
TH501
Knowing the Living God: Theology I 4
TH502 Glorifying the Word of Life: Theology II 4
TH503 Living as the Community of the Spirit: Theology III 4
Church History: 2 credits
CH502 Learning from Church History 2
Program Electives: 12 credits

With the advisor's consent, select courses from BL, BT, CH, NT, OT, or TH prefixes. Students are encouraged to consider using part of these electives for study in the biblical languages.

Open Electives: 6 credits

 

MA(BTS) Exegetical Track
  • This track has 62 credits
  • Students in the exegetical track are advised to take spiritual formation classes (CS501, 502, MF501) and RE500 within their first year.
  • Students in this track will follow a strict schedule, with four credits in church history, the full language track including Greek and Hebrew Exegesis.
  • This track highlights the commitment to the Biblical languages at Western.
  • This track is tailored for students interested in Th.M. or Ph.D. level education.

Classes in this track are as follows:

Program Electives: 12 credits

RE500

Research methods

2

BT501

Hermeneutics

2

BT502

Understanding Biblical Theology

2

BL501

Interpreting Genesis to Song of Solomon

4

BL502

Interpreting the Prophets and Gospel

4

BL503

Interpreting Acts to Revelation

4

TH501

Knowing the Living God: Theology I

4

TH502

Glorifying the Word of Life: Theology II

4

TH503

Living as the Community of the Spirit: Theology III

4

CH501

Learning from Church History

4

CS501

Loving God and Others

2

CS502

Growing in Prayer and Other Key Spiritual Disciplines

2

MF501

Introduction to Theological Study and Ministry Formation

2

NT521

Greek I

3

NT522

Greek II

3

NT523

Greek III

2

NT524

Greek Exegesis

2

OT521

Hebrew I

3

OT522

Hebrew II

3

OT523

Hebrew III

2

OT524

Hebrew Exegesis

2

ML508

Homiletics

2