MA Application Information

Jump to...

The Master of Arts is an academic degree offered by the Graduate Theological Union in cooperation with its member schools and centers. 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 MA student is required to affiliate with a member school, or a participating academic center or institute. The primary academic base for the MA is the school of affiliation, chosen according to study interests and/or denominational ties. Students select a specific academic concentration as the focus of their MA work.

Applicants to the GTU Common MA program must have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution by the time they intend to enroll in the program.

Application Deadlines & Instructions

GTU Common MA Applicants: Prospective students are encouraged to submit their applications by the deadlines listed below in order to receive consideration for institutional grants. We review applications as they are received so we encourage applicants to submit as early as possible. 

Spring 2024 Deadline       November 1st 2023

Fall 2024 Deadline   May 1st 2024 June 3rd 2024 (Application deadline extended for select programs - read more here)

Contact the GTU Admissions Office for more information.

Quick M.A. Application Checklist

  • Select Department and Concentration of Study  
  • Select School of Affiliation
  • Complete and Sign Application Form
  • Submit Supporting Documents:
    • Statement of Purpose (300-500 words). Click here for a video by GTU Admissions Associate Kelly Colwell on tips for crafting an outstanding Statement of Purpose. 
    • Official TOEFL or IELTS Scores
    • Official Transcripts from all previous college-level institutions
    • Three Academic Letters of Recommendation
  • Pay Application Fee
  • Apply for GTU Financial Aid by the May 1, 2023 deadline

Please note that as of December 2022, the GRE is no longer a required application material. The Admissions Committee will not include GRE scores in the review process, even if an applicant supplies them.

Choose a School of Affiliation for your MA Program

Determine which schools offer an MA in your field of interest. Don’t overlook the options of the specialized MA concentrations in Buddhist Studies, Islamic Studies, Jewish Studies, Orthodox Christian Studies, and Biblical Languages. Contact the school(s) with which you are considering affiliation and have a discussion with the Admissions Director to determine whether your sense of “fit” with the program is well founded. Explore with them whether your background and interests are suitable for their program.

The GTU Admissions Office can also help direct you to an appropriate school, but a conversation with admissions staff at the school, center or institute is strongly recommended. *See the list of admissions staff at the bottom of the page for schools of affiliation to contact to find out more about a particular school.

Components of the GTU Common M.A. Application

You can apply online or with a paper form. Make sure to indicate your proposed department and concentration of study and choice of school of affiliation. Provide accurate contact information and include details on any prior language study and research and writing experience. You may attach a resume on a separate page if you like.

The statement of purpose is not a personal biography, but a statement of goals that explains your academic study interests, and outlines the reasons the GTU, its faculty, and the school of affiliation are an appropriate place for the proposed program of study. This statement should be approximately 300-500 words.

Statement of Purpose Workshop

Choose people who can speak knowledgeably and articulately about your academic and intellectual potential and will write specific letters. Academic references are different from general character references. Letters are requested by the applicant and submitted by the recommender via the online application system.  The form is available for download here. If you do not use the online system, we suggest that your recommenders seal the letter in an envelope and sign across the seal, return it to you to send with your application materials, or if they prefer, they may send the letter directly to the GTU via email or hard copy. Inform them of the application deadline and provide them with the recommendation form that can be sent through email: or mail in a stamped envelope addressed to:

Graduate Theological Union

Office of Admissions

2400 Ridge Road,

Berkeley, CA 94709

Applicants are expected to have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0) for the bachelor’s degree. Transcripts should show a range of undergraduate courses which demonstrate solid preparation in the humanities and some knowledge of religion. If an applicant is currently enrolled in a program, an in-progress transcript showing work to-date needs to be submitted. Upon admittance, final transcripts must demonstrate conferral of degree. An applicant should also list all post-secondary schools attended, with the most recent listed first. Official transcripts are sealed, unopened documents issued by the institution which bear the actual signature of the registrar and the seal of the institution. Institutions can also send official transcripts directly to the GTU's Admissions Office through email: or mail in a stamped envelope addressed to:

Graduate Theological Union

Office of Admissions

2400 Ridge Road,

Berkeley, CA 94709

International applicants from a country where English is not the official language must submit scores from the TOEFL or IELTS examination. Applicants are expected to have a TOEFL score of at least 80 (internet-based) or 550 (paper-based) from an exam taken within the last two years. For registration information visit

Applicants are expected to have a IELTS minimum score of at least 7.0. For registration information visit


The fee should be sent in a check payable on a U.S. bank or by means of an international postal money order. Online applicants will pay the application fee when submitting the application via SONIS.

Applicants to the Jewish Studies MA program must submit a 10-page writing sample, preferably on a Jewish Studies topic.
The Jewish Community Fellowship at the Center for Jewish Studies, Graduate Theological Union

The Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies (CJS) at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) is pleased to announce a new fellowship for Bay Area Jewish educators and community professionals. The fellowship provides full tuition for a single course in Jewish Studies at the GTU. Participants in the fellowship will become part of a cohort of students exploring the intersection of critical studies and Jewish communal endeavors. In addition to the course for credit, fellows participate in a two-day workshop on Jewish education led by senior faculty in the field.

Eligibility: Applicants should have at least one year of experience as a Jewish educator or as a Jewish community professional. The fellowship is open only to individuals who are not currently enrolled at the GTU.

Applications: To apply for the fellowship, applicants must submit a 250-word essay in which they describe their work in the Jewish community and how graduate study will serve this broader commitment. Students apply for the fellowship via the admissions office of the GTU. Applications are due at least two weeks before the start of each semester. For information about the fellowship or studies at CJS, please contact Deena Aranoff, For information about admissions or to arrange a campus visit, please contact the GTU Admissions Office,

The GTU would like to thank the Laszlo N Tauber Family Foundation for their generous support of this program.

Member Schools, Centers, and Institutes

Graduate Theological Union
Office of Admissions
2400 Ridge Road
Berkeley, CA 94709

Berkeley School of Theology
Office of Admissions
2606 Dwight Way
Berkeley, CA 94704

Church Divinity School of the Pacific
Office of Admissions
2451 Ridge Road
Berkeley, CA 94709

Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
Office of Admissions
2301 Vine Street
Berkeley, CA 94709

Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
Office of Admissions
1735 LeRoy Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709

Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
Office of Admissions
2770 Marin Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94708

Pacific School of Religion
Office of Admissions
1798 Scenic Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709

University of the Redlands Graduate School of Theology formerly San Francisco Theological Seminary
Office of Admissions
105 Seminary Road
San Anselmo, CA 94960

For the MA in Art and Religion contact:
Office of Admissions, GTU
Center for the Arts and Religion
2465 LeConte Ave
Berkeley, CA 94709
Telephone: 510/649-2456

For the MA in Buddhist Studies contact:
Dr. Scott Mitchell, Dean
Institute of Buddhist Studies
2410 Durant Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94707
Telephone: 510/649-2482

For the MA in Hindu or Jain Studies contact:
Dr. Rita Sherma, Director
Center for Dharma Studies 
2400 Ridge Road
Berkeley, CA 94709
Telephone: 510/649-2579 

For the MA in Islamic Studies contact:
Center for Islamic Studies
Graduate Theological Union
2400 Ridge Road
Berkeley, CA 94709
Telephone: 510/649-2562

For the MA in Jewish Studies contact:
Dr. Deena Aranoff, Director
Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies
Graduate Theological Union
2400 Ridge Road
Berkeley, CA 94709
Telephone: 510/649-2482

For the MA in Orthodox Christian Studies contact:
Metropolitan Tarasios of Rhodopolis, Director
Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute
2311 Hearst Avenue
Berkeley, California 94709 USA
Tel. 510/649-3450

For the MA in Theology and the Natural Sciences contact:
Director of Admissions
Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences
2400 Ridge Road
Berkeley, California 94709 USA
Tel. 510/649-2564