The GTU Common Master of Arts is an exciting opportunity for you to explore theology and religion in response to the challenges posed by contemporary cultures.
Students entering the MA program at the GTU can choose their fields of study from among more than thirty concentrations grouped into four interdisciplinary departments: Sacred Texts and Their Interpretation, Historical and Cultural Studies of Religion, Theology and Ethics, and Religion and Practice.
Each MA student affiliates with a GTU member school, academic center or affiliate during their program. See a listing of MA concentrations supported by each GTU school and center.
Students in the MA Program seek to understand the issues and make a difference with their pursuits. By studying with faculty and students from across the participating schools of the GTU community, our MA students experience true dialogue – talking with each other across what might be entrenched or insurmountable differences. The GTU provides students with the opportunities to pursue intensive study of many religious traditions including various forms of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, and Judaism, as well as interdisciplinary topics such as art and religion or theology and science.
In addition to the options at the member schools, centers, and affiliates, MA students can affiliate with the GTU to pursue an MA with a concentration in Interreligious Studies. This will offer MA students an opportunity to customize a degree path in conjunction with their GTU affiliated advisor that will draw on the resources offered across the academic centers, affiliates, and member schools of the GTU. Click here to learn more about the MA with a concentration in Interreligious Studies.
The GTU is a religiously and culturally diverse environment, and students can incorporate exploration into their program through Certificate options in Women’s Studies, Islamic Studies, Jewish Studies, Orthodox Christian Studies, Interreligious Chaplaincy, and new options in Hindu Studies, Asian and Oceanic Cultures and Faith Traditions, and in Black Church/Africana Religious Studies.
We would love to discuss your interests with you and explore the best options for your study at the GTU. You are welcome to email GTU Admissions or call 800-826-4488 to start a conversation.
The Master of Arts is an academic degree offered in cooperation with the member schools and centers of the GTU. The program provides ecumenical and interreligious learning opportunities, and students have access to courses offered throughout the consortium, and many courses at UC Berkeley. The purpose of the program is to provide a basic understanding of theological or religious studies as preparation for doctoral study or as an academic foundation for secondary school teaching, educational or social justice ministries, or religious leadership in the non-profit sector.
Students who complete the MA program will be able to demonstrate focused knowledge in the field of study represented by a chosen concentration; demonstrate general knowledge of several different approaches to theological and religious studies; engage in respectful dialogue with practitioners of another religious tradition; and produce research projects, each with a clearly formulated thesis statement that is supported by appropriate evidence from primary and secondary sources and communicated in an effective scholarly presentation.
The MA student is required to affiliate with one of the following:
- The GTU in the Interreligious Studies Concentration
- A GTU Member School (concentrations vary – please click here for a full list of concentrations and corresponding member schools)
- A GTU Academic Center or Affiliate (concentrations vary – please click here for a full list of concentrations and corresponding centers/affiliates).
The primary academic base for the MA is the student's school, center, or affiliate, chosen according to study interests and/or denominational ties. Students select a specific academic concentration as the focus of their MA work.
The GTU MA is a two-year degree program requiring a total of fourteen or fifteen 3-unit academic courses, plus three to six units of capstone work. Early in the second year of residence, all MA students are required to demonstrate proficiency in at least one modern foreign language relevant to their field of study, as determined by their advisors, with the approval of the member school dean or center/affiliate director. Non-native speakers of English may, with permission, certify English as their second language. Two courses must be taken outside the student's school of affiliation. The capstone must be in the student's chosen concentration. The three-unit capstone is a 30–40 page paper, and the six-unit capstone is a 75–90 page thesis. Students should consult their advisor when choosing which capstone option they want to pursue. Students are required to complete the following courses:
- 1 course on Research Methods
- 1 course in Interreligious Studies
- 1 course in Sacred Texts & Their Interpretation
- 1 course in Historical & Cultural Studies of Religion
- 1 course in Theology & Ethics
- 1 course in Religion & Practice
- 4 courses (at least 2 at the 4000 level or above) in the chosen concentration
- 4 elective courses
Students in tradition-specific concentrations must fulfill the departmental distribution requirements by taking courses in that tradition. Accelerated degree options are possible with previous coursework from an accredited institution. Contact the Admissions Office for more information.