Master of Arts (Theology)

Degree Overview

Vocational Calling

To serve as a teacher, researcher, and/or writer in various fields of theological studies, such as Theology, Church History, Philosophy of Religion, Apologetics, Christian Ethics, and Islamic Studies. This is an advanced degree and students are expected either to have a baccalaureate degree in religion or philosophy or significant coursework in religious studies or philosophy before entering the program. This degree is suitable preparation for entry into the PhD program. It can be earned through residential and non-residential study.

Program Outcomes

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

  2. Students will demonstrate an awareness of the broader Christian tradition and affinity for a Baptist theological heritage.

  3. Students will demonstrate an ability to contextualize theology in their respective cultural and ecclesial settings.

  4. Students will show personal and spiritual maturation in their development as Christian theologians.

  5. Students will demonstrate effective skills in research and writing.

For further information, please contact:

  • Dr. Lloyd A. Harsch (Program Supervisor)

  • Dr. Michael H. Edens (Program Coordinator/Advisor)

Program Requirements

Basic Ministerial Competency Component (31 hours)

Biblical Studies Component (12 hours)



Greek Exegesis courses


Hebrew Exegesis courses


Students with elementary and intermediate Greek and Hebrew credits at the collegiate level are able to go directly into advanced Greek and Hebrew exegesis courses. Through the Accelerated MDiv Program, such students may automatically receive transcripted credit at NOBTS for elementary and intermediate Greek and Hebrew. Applicants who cannot earn credit in elementary and intermediate Greek and Hebrew through the Accelerated MDiv Program must earn these credits as a condition of graduation.

Historical Studies Component (7 hours)



History of Christianity: Early-Medieval 


History of Christianity: Reformation-Modern


Baptist Heritage


NOBTS, SBC, and Cooperative Program


Theological Studies Component (6 hours)



Systematic Theology 1 


Systematic Theology 2 


Philosophical/Ethical Studies Component (6 hours)



Philosophy of Religion 


Christian Ethics
Biblical Ethics 


Theology Concentration & Electives Component (18 hours)

Concentration (9 hours)
In order to complete these hours, students may choose to pursue a generalist degree or a concentration in one of the following areas:

Apologetics, Christian Ethics, Church History, Islamic Studies, Philosophy of Religion, Theology, or Theological Studies Generalist (hours taken from any courses offered in the T&H Division)

Electives (9 hours)
Note: Electives are to be taken from within the Division of Theological and Historical Studies.

Summative Evaluation Component (3 hours)

Theological Research and Writing Seminar (3 hours) Note: Only students within 18 hours of graduation may register for this course. Those with concentrations in theological or historical studies may request approval to adapt their summative writing assignment into a formal thesis. Further information about adapting the summative writing assignment into a formal thesis is addressed in the seminar.

Total Required: 52 hours

*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.

PhD Eligibility

Students who complete the MA (Theology) are eligible to apply to the PhD at NOBTS. Students should, however, refer to all current admission requirements for Research Doctoral Programs to ensure the MA (Theology) meets the criteria for specific majors.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the MA (Theology) degree 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. Admission to the MA (Theology) program requires additional approval by the Theological and Historical Studies Division. The following criteria will be used in reviewing applications for the MA (Theology) program:

  • 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.

  • Applicants must have completed a total of at least 15 transcripted credit hours with a grade of “B” or above in biblical studies, theology, historical studies, philosophy, and/or ethics.

  • Applicants must submit a research paper on a topic in some area of theological studies for consideration by the Theological and Historical Studies Division. In some cases the division may require a personal interview with the applicant.

  • Students should evidence the interests, aptitudes, and personal qualities necessary for the particular application of this degree.

  • The Theological and Historical Studies Division, in consultation with the Registrar, shall determine the applicant’s suitability for admission and admit qualified candidates into the MA (Theology) program. Upon admission to the MA (Theology) program, the Theological and Historical Studies Division, will tailor a program of study for each student. 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.

Academic Requirements

The 52-hour course requirement of the MA (Theology) degree (as delineated above) is intended to introduce students to a broad range of theological disciplines necessary for further studies in theological research or interdisciplinary studies related to theology. Students in the MA (Theology) must maintain at least a 3.25 GPA to remain in the program. Those who do not maintain a 3.25 GPA will go on probation status after the first semester, and will be dismissed after the second consecutive semester below a 3.25 average