Master of Arts (Biblical Archaeology)

Degree Overview

Vocational Calling

To prepare students for research in the fields of biblical studies and archaeology, and the combined field of Biblical Archaeology. This degree also would provide the necessary foundations to enable the student to pursue the advanced PhD degree in the field.


A minimum of 3 semester hours in each of the following areas: Exploring the Old Testament, Exploring the New Testament, and Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics.

Program Outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate their understanding and ability to interpret and communicate accurately biblical, theological, and historical truth.

  2. Students will demonstrate their understanding and interpretation of Biblical Backgrounds and Archeology for the edification of the church and the education of the community.

  3. Students will demonstrate improved skills in research and writing in the field of Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology.

  4. Students will demonstrate personal and spiritual maturity.

For further information, please contact:

  • Dr. Archie W. England (Program Supervisor)

  • Dr. James O. Parker (Program Coordinator/Advisor)

Program Requirements

Foundational Studies Component (26 hours)

Anthropological and Cultural Studies (11 hours)



The Social Setting of the New Testament 


Encountering the Biblical World


Introduction to Anthropology** 


Choose one course from the following:

Cultural Anthropology 


Social and Cultural Settings of Ancient Israel** 


History and Geography of Ancient Israel 


Archaeology Courses (15 hours)



Archaeological Field Work 


Choose four courses from the following:

Syro-Palestinian Archaeology and the Old Testament 


Archaeology and the New Testament 


Archaeology of the Ancient Near East 


Archaeology and History of the Early Church** 


Dead Sea Scrolls 


Archaeological Method and Theory** 


Ceramic Analysis in Field Archaeology 


Biblical Languages Component (15 hours)



Introductory Hebrew Grammar 


Intermediate Hebrew Grammar for OT Exegesis 


Introductory Greek Grammar 


Intermediate Greek Grammar for NT Exegesis 


Choose one course from the following:

Hebrew Exegesis
Greek Exegesis 


Biblical Aramaic 


Northwest Semitic Inscriptions** 


Electives Component (6 hours)

Choose 6 hours from any of the following options:



Option 1:

Backgrounds for New Testament Study 


Hebrew Exegesis OR Greek Exegesis 


History of Ancient Israel** 


History of the Second Temple Period** 


Independent Directed Study in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology (Prerequisite: Encountering the Biblical World)


Independent Directed Study in Advanced Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology

Option 2:
Any archaeology or anthropological course listed in this degree plan which is not being applied toward the Foundational Studies Component or the Biblical Languages Component

Option 3: Free electives
Any master’s level course(s)

Option 4:
Any combination of courses from Options.


Thesis Component (4 hours)





Required Course (0 hours)

NOBTS, SBC, and Cooperative Program*

Total Required: 51 hours

PhD Eligibility

Students who complete all the degree requirements of the MA (Biblical Archaeology) are eligible to apply to the PhD at NOBTS in the majors of Biblical Interpretation, Old Testament, or New Testament. Students who choose to major in other disciplines may be required to take other prerequisite courses as required in those majors.

Admission Requirements and Process

Admission to the Master of Arts (Biblical Archaeology) requires the following:

  1. Applicants must fulfill all the normal admission requirements for NOBTS, including the admission form, transcript, church endorsement, statement of call, medical clearance, TOEFL for international students, etc.

  2. Applicants must have earned a baccalaureate degree, normally with at least a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale, from an institution accredited by a regional accreditation agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or holding membership in the Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada, or the educational equivalent.

  3. Applicants must have completed a total of at least 24 transcript credit hours with a grade of “B” or above in biblical studies, theology, historical studies, philosophy, and ethics. These courses should include Introduction to Old and New Testaments and Biblical Hermeneutics.

  4. The Division of Biblical Studies, in consultation with the Registrar, will evaluate the transcript of the applicant. Students should evidence the interests, aptitudes, and personal qualities necessary for the particular application of this degree. Students with weak undergraduate preparation in a discipline may be required to take introductory courses or, in some cases, remedial work to insure minimum competency in that discipline. Students with strong undergraduate preparation in a discipline may be eligible for advanced standing and may therefore take advanced electives in that discipline rather than the introductory courses in that discipline. After the transcript evaluation and the approval of the Division of Biblical Studies, a faculty advisor will be assigned who will assist in the design of a plan of study tailored to meet the needs of the student.

Prerequisite Studies

Prerequisite to entry into Intermediate Greek and Hebrew courses are elementary Greek and Hebrew, and Biblical Hermeneutics at the collegiate level; thus, the student with such prerequisites would be able to go directly into advanced Greek and Hebrew exegesis courses. Applicants who cannot earn credit in elementary and intermediate Greek and Hebrew through the Accelerated MDiv Program must earn these credits prior to entry into the MA (Biblical Archaeology) program. Students who complete the MA (Biblical Archaeology) program will have earned the 12 hours each in Greek and Hebrew required for application to the PhD program in the area of Old Testament or New Testament.

Academic Requirements

The 51-hour course requirement of the Master of Arts (Biblical Archaeology) degree (as delineated above) is intended to introduce students to a broad range of theological disciplines necessary for further studies in biblical studies. A thesis is required. Students in the MA (Biblical Archaeology) must maintain at least a B average in the program. Those who do not maintain a 3.0 GPA will go on probation status after the first semester and will be dismissed after the second consecutive semester below a 3.0 average.

Thesis Guidelines

An acceptable research thesis of 75-100 pages in Turabian style must be written in the student’s area of concentration.

Thesis Proposal

  1. Upon the completion of 30 semester hours of the degree program, the student will contact the Division Chair to discuss the Thesis Proposal process. The student should develop a preliminary topic for the Thesis, and the Division Chair will guide the student in determining the appropriate faculty member to work with that student as the Thesis Advisor. The Thesis Advisor will facilitate the student’s development of the Thesis Proposal and oversee the Thesis process to completion. Sample proposals will be provided to the student for reference material to assist the student in preparing a quality Thesis Proposal.

  2. During the last semester of coursework (after completion of at least 45 hours), but no later than one semester following completion of coursework, the student shall present the Thesis Proposal for approval (1 hard copy and 1 pdf ) to the Thesis Advisor. The Thesis Proposal must be approved by February 1 for May graduation or September 1 for December graduation.

  3. The Thesis Advisor will approve the Thesis Proposal in consultation with the Division faculty and provide guidance to the student during the writing of the Thesis.

    • Upon approval of the Thesis Proposal, the Thesis Advisor must contact the Registrar’s Office to approve enrollment into the Thesis component.

    • The student will then enroll in the Thesis component. In order to maintain current enrollment in the program, the student must enroll in the Thesis component no later than the semester after the completion of coursework, with or without submission or approval of a Thesis Proposal.

  4. Upon enrollment into the Thesis component, a Thesis reader will be appointed by the Division Chair to assist the Thesis Advisor in evaluating the Thesis.

Thesis Approval

  1. The student should submit the following to the Office of Associate Dean of Graduate Studies no later than April 1 for May graduation and November 1 for December graduation:

    • Two plain-paper copies of the Thesis

    • An electronic copy (pdf ) of the Thesis

    • A completed Thesis Fee and Order Form (The student must have on deposit in the Business Office sufficient funds to cover the indicated costs before the Thesis Fee and Order Form can be submitted.)

    • Graduation application

  2. The Office of Associate Dean of Graduate Studies will send the copies of the Thesis to the Thesis Advisor, who will send one copy to the Thesis Reader. The Thesis Advisor will work with the student to generate a final approved Thesis.

  3. Upon final approval of the revised Thesis, the Thesis Advisor will submit the following documents to the Office of Associate Dean of Graduate Studies no later than May 1 for May graduation and December 1 for December graduation:

    • Four final copies of the Thesis (plus any additional copies the student may have ordered on the Thesis Fee and Order Form) on 20-lb., white, 100% cotton paper. Students receive one bound copy from the 4 copies they are required to submit.

    • A completed ProQuest/UMI Dissertation/Master’s Thesis Submission Form

    • A plain paper copy of the Thesis title page and abstract for submission with the UMI form

    • Thesis Advisor Checklist

    • Thesis Review Report

    • Report of M.A. Thesis Evaluation form

  4. Should a student not meet either the Thesis Proposal or Thesis Approval deadlines, the student will register the following semester for a program continuance course and will register in that course each subsequent semester until the Thesis is submitted for graduation. The student will pay the necessary continuance fees (see Graduate Catalog for current fees). Students that do not complete their Thesis during the semester in which they are enrolled in the Thesis component will receive an “E” (extension) for that semester. The Thesis Advisor must send approval to the Registrar’s Office in order for the student to be registered for the thesis component the following semester.

  5. MA students may not walk in graduation exercises without submission of the final four copies of the thesis.

NOTE: Further guidance on the Thesis process may be obtained from the Division Chair’s Office in conjunction with the Office of Associate Dean of Graduate Studies.

*All graduate students must take this course during orientation in their first semester; however, students will not receive a credit hour or be charged for the course.

**New courses to be developed.