Lee University Catalog 2016-2017 
    Sep 25, 2020  
Lee University Catalog 2016-2017 [Archived Catalog]

Master of Arts, Theological Studies (THEST.MA)

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degree Programs Offered

Purpose and Philosophy

The School of Religion at Lee University offers a program of advanced studies in the academic disciplines of Bible and Theology. These degrees will provide students with post-baccalaureate study for the purpose of preparing for further graduate work or for other vocational interests. Through its Master of Arts degrees in Biblical Studies and Theological Studies, Lee University provides a quality graduate program for Christian scholars in the designated disciplines. Committed to life and learning from an Evangelical/Pentecostal perspective and within the context of the Church of God, its sponsoring denomination, Lee University welcomes to the program all students from the Christian community who qualify for admission and subscribe to its stated goals and objectives.

Academic rather than professional in nature, the Master of Arts degree constitutes an option to professional degrees for the student seeking advanced study in the disciplines, preparing for work in the educational ministry of the church, and/or anticipating the research doctorate. This program is designed for the collegial engagement of peers whose concerns are constructive conversation and productive scholarship and whose goal is disciplinary competence.

Predicated upon the conviction that rigorous academic inquiry both ennobles and enables the participants, Lee University intends that the community of scholars engaging the Master of Arts in Biblical Studies and the Master of Arts in Theological Studies curriculum be more serviceable to the kingdom of God in the world.

Within the United States, most degrees designated as M.A. in Bible or Theology are offered by seminaries. Such programs accept applicants from various disciplines of undergraduate studies and therefore are usually two years in length (48 hours-64 hours). The program offered by Lee University is distinctive in that it will be offered in either a 36 or 48 hour program. The 36 hour program is for applicants whose undergraduate degrees are in the related areas of religious, biblical, theological or pastoral studies. Therefore, the usual first year of general introductory studies in religion is not required, and the program begins with upper level graduate courses. The 48 hour program admits students whose undergraduate work is in an area other than religious, biblical, theological or pastoral studies.

The M.A. in Bible and Theology is offered only at SEMISUD (Seminario Sudamericano) in Quito, Ecuador.  It is a combination of the Biblical Studies program and the Theological Studies program offered in a Latin American context.  http://www.semisud.edu.ec/


The School of Religion offers the M.A. in Biblical Studies and the M.A. in Theological Studies with several goals in mind. We aim:

  1. To foster the continued development of research and writing skills in the area of biblical and theological studies.
  2. To contribute to the body of biblical and theological knowledge and literature.
  3. To assist the student in developing a personal hermeneutical and exegetical position to be used in acquiring a comprehensive understanding of Old and New Testament content.
  4. To develop an understanding of the philosophical foundations for theological reflection.
  5. To prepare the student for the teaching enterprise, whether in the educational ministry of the church or in the context of the academy at large.
  6. To prepare the student to engage in more advanced degrees, including doctoral studies.
  7. To integrate faith and learning in such a way as to develop the individual in mind and spirit in order to enhance the students own spiritual development and also that of the body of Christ.

36 Hour Program Requirements

M.A. in Theological Studies Core - Total Hours: 9

M.A. in Theological Studies with Ethics Emphasis Core - Total Hours: 12

Language Requirement - Total Hours: 6

Major & Minor Concentration: Biblical, Theological, or Theological Ethics - Total Hours: 18

Area Exam or Thesis - Total Hours: 3

Theological Ethics requires a thesis, as shown in this flowchart  and under the outcomes for the emphasis.

Total Hours in Program: 36

Additional Information


There are two programs in the M.A. in Biblical Studies/Theological Studies. These programs are determined by the prior coursework of the applicant. Since this M.A. degree is an advanced study within the disciplines of Biblical Studies or Theological Studies, a certain amount of preparation and aptitude is required in this program. Both programs require the same 36 hours, but those without adequate preparation will be admitted under the condition of taking up to 12 more hours to complete this degree.

  1. An applicant must submit a completed Lee University Application to Graduate Studies form (leeuniversity.edu/uploadedFiles/GradApp.pdf).
  2. An applicant should have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Accreditation must be from a regional accrediting association (in the USA) or from ABHE (the Association for Biblical Higher Education). If the candidate has not completed the first year of Greek, they will be required to begin Greek either before entering the program or during the first year. For example, students may begin Greek in the summer semester before fall matriculation, or they must complete it before the end of the first year in the program.
  3. Beyond the mandatory year of Greek, each student will be required to take six additional hours of language. For the M.A. in Theological Studies the language requirement consists of Ecclesiastical Latin or Theological German.
  4. If an applicant has an undergraduate degree other than biblical/theological studies, they may apply for the 48 hour program. Each applicant’s background and coursework (especially in the area of humanities, philosophy, and religion) will be evaluated by the Director of Graduate Programs in Bible and Theology. Applicants accepted into this program will be required to take 48 hours of coursework, that is, the regular 36 hour program plus 12 or more hours of studies as assigned by the Director to rectify any deficiencies in undergraduate preparation . Whatever courses may be recommended to prepare the student for graduate work within these disciplines will be taken at the beginning of the student’s course of study, and may be taken concurrently with certain other courses within the graduate program.
  5. Graduate Record Exam (GRE Institutional Code: 1401) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT Institutional Code: 2540) scores are required. Scores must be sent to the office of Graduate Studies in Religion and must be no more than five years old.
  6. Two letters of reference from professors familiar with your work and one personal reference from someone familiar with your character.
  7. An essay or research paper that offers evidence of the applicant’s writing abilities and research capabilities. The paper should be between 7-20 pages in length.
  8. Although the M.A. in Theological Studies is not a seminary degree that would require pastoral training or emphasis, it should be noted that it is connected to the life and ministry of local churches and the church universal. Therefore, the program strongly encourages involvement of its students in the body of Christ, especially in the areas of teaching (which is this program’s emphasis).
  9. An interview, either by phone or in person, with the Director of Graduate Programs in Religion or a designated faculty member of the program.
  10. MMR Immunization Verification (if born after January 1, 1957). The Certificate of Immunization form (leeuniversity.edu/uploadedFiles/Content/health-clinic/ImmunizationForms.pdf) must be completed and signed by a licensed health care provider and returned to the Lee University Health Clinic prior to registration.
  11. Proof of Chicken Pox Immunity (Required for all full-time students born after 1979).

International Students

The university is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students on an F-1 visa. International applicants are expected to apply well in advance of their projected beginning date. All academic records and other credentials must be accompanied by an official English translation. If transfer credit from an institution outside the United States is desired, an evaluation from World Education Services (WES) must be submitted. [Refer to the “Transfer Credit” section under Graduate Academic Policies for additional information.]

In addition to general admissions requirements, international students must supply the following:

  1. TOEFL Scores:All applicants who are not native speakers of English and who will be attending the university on a student visa, and who are not graduates of an American college or university, are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Information on this test can be attained by writing to TOEFL Educational Testing Service; Princeton, New Jersey, 08540, U.S.A. (or go to www.toefl.org). All test scores should be sent directly from the testing agency to Lee University (Lee University Code: 1401). To be admitted to Lee University graduate studies without English remediation, a minimum TOEFL score of 61(iBT) is required. Remediation requirements are determined by the individual graduate programs.
  2. Financial Statement: An applicant on an F-1 student visa must supply, on the form provided by the university, sufficient evidence of financial support for the applicant and all members of his/her family who will accompany the applicant to Lee. This requires that the applicant certify that his/her intent is to attend full time and that no employment will be required.

All of the above credentials must be received and approved before a SEVIS Form I-20 can be issued to the applicant.  More information can be found in the Graduate International Student Booklet.

Completion Requirements

  1. 36 Credit Hours/48 Credit Hours 
  2. Area Exam/Three-hour thesis
    Detailed instructions for this final course component are provided in the Graduate Studies in Religion Student Handbook.
  3. After all coursework for the M.A. in Theological Studies degree is completed with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, students will be allowed one semester to complete their thesis or comprehensive area exams. If the thesis or exams are not completed during that semester, students will enroll in GRAD-591 and will be charged a graduate supervision fee equivalent to 1-hour of graduate student tuition for each fall and/or spring semester in which a continuation is required (Enrollment in this course will not be required over a summer semester unless collaborative work between the supervising professor and student is planned).
  4. Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 throughout the program. A student whose GPA drops below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation and could be removed from the program altogether. No student will be allowed to graduate from the program with less than a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
  5. The degree must be completed within four years of its inception. Exceptions to this will be evaluated by the M.A. Committee and the Director of Graduate Programs in Bible and Theology. 

Non-degree Seeking and Special Students

Students may register for non-degree or special status without being formally admitted into candidacy in the M.A. program. Such students may take a total of nine credit hours from courses offered in the program.

Transfer Credit

A student may transfer up to six hours credit from an approved graduate institution or seminary. The courses must have been in the areas of Bible and/or theology and must be approved by the Director of Graduate Programs in Bible and Theology. To remain in compliance with university graduate program standards, any grades considered for transfer must be a ”B” or better. In addition, transfer students need to be interviewed by the director before admittance into the program.

M.A. Committee for the Graduate Programs in Bible and Theology

Under the supervision of the Department of Theology and the Dean of the School of Religion, the M.A. Committee for the Graduate Programs in Bible and Theology oversees the entire course of study for the M.A. in Biblical Studies and the M.A. in Theological Studies. The committee considers all needed changes and makes recommendations to the Department of Theology and the Graduate Council; it serves as the Admissions Committee and reviews candidacy.

For more information contact:

Office: School of Religion 150-F

Call: 423.303.5104

E-mail: gradstudies_religion@leeuniversity.edu

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degree Programs Offered