Master of Arts in Theology Degree (MA-THEO)

Program overview

When you pursue a Master of Arts degree at Seattle Pacific Seminary, you combine a core study of general theology with course work in the concentration of your choosing: Christian Scripture, Christian Traditions, Worship and The Arts, Christian Ministry, Theological Integration, Theology and Ethics, or Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies. The core classes in the program focus on the classical theological disciplines of Scripture, Church history, theology, and ethics, and reflect Seattle Pacific University’s vision to engage the culture and change the world with the transforming gospel of Jesus Christ.

Overview

Concentrations

Don’t need to be ordained? This theology degree is for you.

Are you interested in theological study? This low-residency Master’s Degree in Theology: Christian Ministry is a highly flexible, self-designed master’s degree for those in congregational or parachurch ministries — or who are considering further advanced academic study in theology. 

Combine classical theological disciplines and vocational discernment to reach your goals.

Focus of this degree

If you are preparing for leadership in a church or denomination — including various non-ordained ministries in congregational settings, parachurches, and Christian organizations that do not require a Master of Divinity degree — the Master of Arts in Theology with a Christian Ministry concentration is intended for you.

View courses and degree requirements

Expand your knowledge of the church’s global heritage.

A Master of Art in Theology degree with a Christian Traditions concentration from Seattle Pacific Seminary expands your knowledge of the church’s global heritage from the era of the New Testament to the present. Discover how this graduate program brings together the classical theological disciplines of Scripture, church history, theology, and ethics. 

Put this graduate degree in theology into faithful and effective practice in a hurting world.

Focus of this degree

The Master of Arts in Theology degree with the Christian Traditions concentration is designed to expand your knowledge of the church’s global heritage from the era of the New Testament to the present. You will discover the amazing breadth and depth of God’s redemptive work through time and throughout the world, as well as the ways in which the people of God have sometimes failed to live up to Jesus’ command to love one another.

Consequently, in addition to encountering the biblical texts as texts, you will study them within the context of the church’s larger canonical context: its foundational theology, ethics, and history of interpretation.

View courses and degree requirements

Deepen your understanding of the Bible as the church’s Scripture.

The Master of Theology degree with the Christian Scripture concentration is designed to deepen your understanding and appropriation of the Bible as the church’s Scripture — originating with God’s people living in particular times and places, but authoritative for us as God’s people in all times and places.

Consequently, in addition to encountering the biblical texts as texts, you will study them within the context of the church’s larger canonical context: its foundational theology, ethics, and history of interpretation.

Focus of this degree

The Master of Theology degree with the Christian Scripture concentration is designed to deepen your understanding and appropriation of the Bible as the church’s Scripture — originating with God’s people living in particular times and places, but authoritative for us as God’s people in all times and places.

Consequently, in addition to encountering the biblical texts as texts, you will study them within the context of the church’s larger canonical context: its foundational theology, ethics, and history of interpretation.

View courses and degree requirements

Hone your knowledge and practice of worship and of the arts

Develop your skills as you serve in the field of worship and the arts. This Master of Arts in Theology with a Worship and the Arts concentration will increase your understanding, experience, and practice of the theological disciplines of Scripture, church history, theology, and ethics. The program also includes an internship, and you will choose specific courses to develop leadership skills as you work, or intend to work, a career combining worship and the arts.

Prepare to experience opportunities for worship, fellowship, and personal spiritual growth.

Focus of this degree

The Master of Arts in Theology degree program focuses on the classical theological disciplines of Scripture, church history, theology, and ethics. Our Worship and the Arts concentration is designed for individuals who work, or intend to work, in the fields of worship and the arts.

This program gives those students a thorough grounding in the understanding, experience, and practice of theological disciplines (e.g., biblical, historical, and theological studies). Through core and elective courses this degree program enables students to grow in their knowledge and love of God, to develop their leadership skills, and to hone their knowledge and practice of worship and the arts.

View courses and degree requirements

A graduate degree in Theology: Christian Ministry with the flexibility to help you meet your goals.

Are you engaged in congregational or parachurch leadership? Do you have an interest in theological study? The Seattle Pacific Seminary Master of Arts in Theology degree program lets you focus on the classical theological disciplines of Scripture, church history, theology, and ethics to fashion the theology degree best for you. 

See how this graduate degree can prepare you to lead Christian ministries or prepare for more advanced study.

Focus of this degree

If you are preparing for leadership in a church or denomination — including various non-ordained ministries in congregational settings, parachurches, and Christian organizations that do not require a Master of Divinity degree — the Christian Ministry concentration is intended for you.

View courses and degree requirements

A theological degree to enhance and integrate with your vocation.

Combine rigorous study in the classical theological disciplines with an interdisciplinary focus. The Master of Arts in Theology with a concentration in Theological Integration prepares you to serve in diverse settings and equips you to live a more integrated life of faith and mission as an administrator, manager, or marketplace or Christian organization professional. 

Discover how you can apply this master’s in theology to serve a hurting world.

Focus of this degree

This degree concentration is specific to those who are looking to integrate theology into other professional work. The Theological Integration concentration requires students to be pursing a dual-degree in one of our partnership graduate programs

View courses and degree requirements

Gain a strong theological foundation to address today’s ethical concerns.

Prepare to teach or research in one of the theological disciplines with an MA in Theology with a concentration in Theology and Ethics. Study doctrines and traditions from systematic theology while also reflecting critically on race, gender, disability, and cultural contexts. This degree is ideal if you are preparing for doctoral study. 

See how you can apply this graduate degree in theology to serve a hurting world.

Focus of this degree

This Master of Arts in Theology degree with a concentration in Theology and Ethics is designed to integrate a strong foundation of theological studies with contemporary ethical concerns. You will study doctrines and traditions from systematic theology while also reflecting critically on race, gender, disability, and cultural contexts.

View courses and degree requirements

Minister effectively in today’s diverse, global society.

Embark on a specialized study of theology with an emphasis on gender, race, culture, and reconciliation. Rooted in God’s mission that the church should be an agent of reconciliation, this concentration explores the connections between cultural, theological, social, and missiological perspectives that promote reconciliation in a divided world.  

Become equipped to lead with insights in compassion and justice.

Focus of this degree

The Master of Arts in Theology with a concentration in Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies prepares Christian leaders to minister effectively in a diverse, global society.

Rooted in God’s mission that the church should be an agent of reconciliation, this concentration explores the connections between cultural, theological, social, and missiological perspectives that promote reconciliation in a divided world. There is no doubt that the world desperately needs Christian leaders who are socially relevant, interculturally competent, and theologically grounded.

View courses and degree requirements

Benefits

  1. Serving in a postmodern world
    Our goal is that you will be able to apply what you learn in each field of study to the pressing needs of the contemporary church and the postmodern world.

  2. Ministering to the hurting
    As a master’s degree student, you will develop the knowledge, skills, and multicultural sensitivities you need to understand the Christian faith and put it into faithful and effective practice in a hurting world.

  3. Personal growth
    You will also experience rich opportunities for worship, fellowship, and personal spiritual growth in the context of SPU’s evangelical Wesleyan heritage.

  4. Dual degrees
    Do you feel called to add a theological component to a business degree, counseling degree, or an MFA? The Seminary offers dual degree programs in partnership with other SPU schools to let you earn two advanced degrees in less time earning the same two degrees separately.

Requirements

The Master of Arts in Theology degree requires you to complete 60 credits. 33 credits are taken from the core curriculum common to all Seattle Pacific Seminary degree programs. The curriculum for each concentration also consists of:

  • Three 2-credit intensive courses in spiritual formation and mission.
  • Three courses in Bible.
  • Three courses in church history.
  • Three courses in theology/ethics.
  • The remaining credits focus on the degree concentration and related theological disciplines.
Back to top

Curriculum

Curriculum

The Master of Arts in Theology degree with the Christian Scripture concentration consists of 60 quarter credits of coursework* (i.e., 40 semester credits) including core courses and classes in one of seven areas of concentration. The learning obtained from these areas of study is applied to the pressing needs of the contemporary church and the postmodern world. 

  • The first 33 credits are taken from the  core curriculum upon which all graduate programs in the Seattle Pacific Seminary are based. The core curriculum consists of three courses each in Christian Formation, Christian Scripture, Global Christian Heritage, and Theology/Ethics.
  • Admittance into the Theological Integration concentration is limited to dual degree students and/or Theological Integration Fellows. 
  • The Low- Residency Christian Ministry concentration allows for most of the degree to be completed online.
  • The remaining credits in the degree are courses in the concentration of your choosing. 

*If your professional objectives change during your course of study, you may transfer easily from any one concentration in the degree program or to the Mdiv program. 

University and program requirements for admission into any of the MA in Theology programs include:

  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Applicants must have had a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 in the last 45 quarter credits (30 semester credits) of course work completed before applying for admission or in all undergraduate work, whichever is higher.
  • Successful submission of all other materials and documents required for admission.

*For the Christian Ministry Low-Residency concentration, all but courses THEO 6001, THEO 6002, and THEO 6003 may be taken through distance education.

Back to top

Costs

2023–24 Tuition and Fees

money icon

$595

per credit

Total $35,700 minimum

dollar icon

$50; $150

application fee; one-time matriculation fee

See additional fee details.
textbook icon

60 credits

to complete

All tuition, fees, and other charges stated are payable in U.S. dollars ($US).

In addition to direct instructional costs, Seattle Pacific Seminary’s Master of Arts (Christian Scripture) tuition covers academic and student support services. Other benefits include use of athletic facilities (e.g., gym, locker room, and fitness rooms), the SPU Library, and the Kingswood House.

Scholarships and financial aid

Scholarship and other financial aid is offered to newly admitted and continuing students of SPS. For eligibility requirements, download the SPS Scholarship application. To apply for a scholarship, you should complete the application prior to the March 31 deadline. Scholarships will be distributed evenly across the Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters of the academic year for which a scholarship is awarded.

Back to top

Application

Applying to Seattle Pacific Seminary 

Admission to Seattle Pacific Seminary is a two-way process of discernment. You, the applicant, must determine whether SPS offers the kind of theological education and spiritual formation appropriate to your vocational objectives. You do so by studying our promotional materials, by visiting campus (if possible), by talking with our faculty, staff, and students, by praying for God’s guidance, and by consulting with trusted spiritual advisors.

Conversely, the SPS Admissions Committee must determine whether you are spiritually and academically prepared to succeed in one of our programs. We do so by carefully and prayerfully studying your application materials and by assessing how your gifts, graces, and sense of vocation fit with the mission and ethos of the Seminary. We admit women and men who can demonstrate a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ, a commitment to the proclamation of the reign of God, an ability to succeed academically in master’s level work, and an emotional and spiritual readiness to undertake graduate theological study.

To be considered for admission into the Master of Arts in Theology (Christian Scripture), you must apply online. Find the help you need with the admissions process of the program of your choice through Graduate Admissions

If you are an international student, also refer to International Graduate Students information about additional admission requirements. 

The Seattle Pacific Seminary application

In addition to fulfilling general SPU graduate admissions requirements, you will provide these items specific to Seattle Pacific Seminary:

A typed three- to four-page personal statement, including:

  • Your career objectives.
  • A narrative of your personal Christian experience. In your personal statement, you may consider reflecting on those people (e.g., parents, pastors, friends, teachers), institutions (e.g., schools, congregations, ministries), and/or "mountaintop experiences" (e.g., retreats, conferences, life-changing conversations) that have most influenced your spiritual growth.
  • Your rationale for seeking the degree and choosing Seattle Pacific Seminary.
  • Other insights you deem appropriate.

Two letters of recommendation

We ask you to secure letters of recommendation from two persons, both of whom know you well, but in different capacities, and who can therefore speak to different aspects of your preparedness for the challenges of graduate theological education.

  1. Spiritual/emotional preparedness: This letter should be from a pastor, church staff person, chaplain, parachurch professional, youth leader, Bible study leader or college religion professor. It should describe the depth of your Christian faith, as evidenced by the way you live your life, serve your neighbors, and participate in the ministry of a Christian community (local congregation, parachurch organization, chapel program, etc.).
  2. Academic preparedness: This letter should be from a former college professor who knows your academic work well and can describe your intellectual curiosity and your skills in research, writing, critical thinking, problem-solving, and time management. If you cannot secure a letter from a former professor, a letter from an employer or manager who can address these matters will be accepted with approval from the Seminary Director, Ashley Skinner Creek (skinnera3@bettyfordwestlosangelestuesdaynightmeeting.com); in such cases, an interview may be required. You may request permission to submit an alternative letter of reference by emailing seminary@bettyfordwestlosangelestuesdaynightmeeting.com.

Transfer credits

If you wish to apply graduate-level coursework completed at a regionally accredited university or an ATS-accredited divinity school or seminary toward your MA in theology program, you must provide official transcript(s) and, in some cases, course syllabi. You may transfer up to 20 quarter credits from other graduate programs. To receive transfer credit:

  • Each course must be at least 3 graduate-quarter credits and be equivalent to courses taught in the Seattle Pacific Seminary.
  • Each course will be considered on a case-by-case basis as to the fulfillment of specific curricular requirements.
  • A minimum grade of B will be needed for transferred work.
  • All courses applied toward the graduate degree must be taken within seven years of admission.
  • In all cases, the final 20 MA in Theology credits must be taken at SPU.

Application deadlines

Students can apply to Seattle Pacific Seminary to begin Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters, and to begin during Summer Sessions, though most students choose to begin their program in Autumn Quarter.

  • Autumn Quarter (courses begin in September), the application deadline is July 31.
  • Winter Quarter (courses begin in January), the application deadline is November 15.
  • Spring Quarter (courses begin in March), the application deadline is February 15.
  • Summer Sessions (courses begin in June), the application deadline is May 1.

Non-degree students

You may take up to nine credits of graduate theology courses as a non-degree student, if you:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Fill out a short application form with the Seattle Pacific Seminary office.
  • Receive permission from the dean or associate dean of the School of Theology.

Contact the Seattle Pacific Seminary at seminary@bettyfordwestlosangelestuesdaynightmeeting.com or 206-281-2342 for more information.

Back to top

Career Opportunities

Career opportunities

  • Christian Ministry concentration (Low-Residency) — You will be prepared in various professional skills, such as preaching, pastoral care, organizational leadership, and church administration. This degree will also prepare you for roles as an administrative leader in churches, parachurches, and other Christian organizations.
  • Christian Traditions concentration — This graduate degree will equip you to pursue a ministry career or for continued study in your discipline. It is built on an integrated core curriculum consisting of courses in Scripture, church history, theology and ethics, spiritual formation, mission, and ministry. The learning obtained from this field of study can be applied to the pressing needs of the contemporary church and the postmodern world.
  • Christian Scripture concentration — The Master of Arts in Theology degree with a concentration in Christian Scripture prepares you for teaching and research in one of the theological disciplines. In fact, this degree is ideal if you are preparing for doctoral study. This graduate degree in theology is built on an integrated core curriculum consisting of courses in Scripture, church history, theology and ethics, spiritual formation, mission, and ministry. The learning obtained from this field of study is applied to the pressing needs of the contemporary church and the postmodern world.
  • Worship and the Arts concentration — Upon graduation from the Master of Arts in Theology program with a concentration in Worship and the Arts, you will be equipped to pursue a ministry career as a pastor in a variety of areas, including as music minister; a director of a parachurch ministry; a director or pastor of community life and outreach; and as an administrator in an urban and community development ministry.
  • Christian Ministry concentration — Your graduate degree in Theology with a concentration in Christian Ministry will prepare you for in various professional skills, including organizational leadership. chaplaincy, preaching, pastoral care, and church administration. This degree will also prepare you for roles as an administrative leader in churches, parachurches, and other Christian organizations.
  • Theological Integration concentration — The Master of Arts in Theology degree with the Theological Integration concentration is well-suited for those who already have administrative or managerial responsibilities in a Christian organization (e.g., church, parachurch ministry, nonprofit organization) or those who will work in the business/corporate world and desire to live a more integrated life of faith in the workplace. It is built on an integrated core curriculum consisting of courses in Scripture, church history, theology and ethics, spiritual formation, mission, and ministry. The learning obtained from this field of study is applied to the pressing needs of Christians in a wide-array of workplaces.
  • Theology and Ethics concentration — The Master of Arts in Theology degree with a concentration in Theology and Ethics prepares you for teaching and research in one of the theological disciplines. This degree is also ideal for you if you are preparing for doctoral study. It is built on an integrated core curriculum consisting of courses in Scripture, church history, theology and ethics, spiritual formation, mission, and ministry. The learning obtained from this field of study is applied to the pressing needs of the contemporary church and the postmodern world.
  • Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies concentration — With the MA in Theology and a concentration in Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies, students will be equipped to pursue these kinds of careers:
    • Pastor of multicultural churches
    • Director of multiethnic ministries
    • Campus ministers
    • Director or pastor of outreach, missions, compassion and justice
    • Organizational positions with nonprofits, urban ministries, NGOs, and global peace and development agencies

Job leads

Supporting the careers of our Seminary students and alumni is a high priority for Seattle Pacific Seminary. The following career resources are available:

  • The Center for Career and Calling Resources for Current Graduate Students, which offers online vocational resources and résumé tips, workshops, and events. 
  • Job leads through SPU’s job posting board Handshake and Falcon Connect, the online community where you can engage and connect with the SPU network.
Back to top

International Students

International students

In addition to the SPU general and Seminary’s additional admission requirements for the Master of Arts (Christian Scripture), international students must also submit:

  • Applicants who are not citizens or permanent U.S. residents must provide an official confidential affidavit of financial support covering the first year of intended enrollment. Without this document, SPU cannot issue an I-20 immigration form.
  • Students holding undergraduate or graduate degrees from colleges, universities and/or seminaries located outside the U.S. are expected to have their transcripts evaluated by a professional credential agency. Such an evaluation is required before an application for admission to SPS can be granted and before any graduate credits taken elsewhere can be applied to an SPS degree.
  • If you earned an undergraduate degree in a country other than the United States, or your degree is in progress, an official course-by-course credential evaluation must be submitted from a NACES member-recognized credential service. Acceptable credential services include, but are not limited to, World Education Services (WES) and Foundation for International Services (FIS).
  • In addition to the evaluation report, we also require official transcripts and diplomas to be submitted, in English.
  •  English language proficiency: If you do not speak English as your first language, you must also submit scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A minimum score of 600 on the TOFEL paper or 250 on the TOEFL-CBT, or 100 on the TOEFL-iBT is required. ACE scores will not be accepted.
Back to top