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.
Applications submitted after the priority deadline are considered on a rolling basis as space allows.
Fall Priority Deadline March 1st
Spring Priority Deadline October 1st
Contact the GTU Admissions office for more information.
Quick M.A. 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)
- Official GRE or TOEFL Scores (The GRE requirement is currently suspended. Any applicants seeking admission to any program for Academic Year 2021-2022 do not need to submit GRE scores with their application.)
- Official Transcripts (from each previous institution)
- Three Academic Letters of Recommendation
- Application Fee
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 him or her 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.
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. Forms are also available for downloading on this page. 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 as well as a stamped envelope addressed to: Admissions Office, Graduate Theological Union, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA 94709. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Applicants are expected to have a minimum Grade Point Average 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 Department at email@example.com.
GRE or TOEFL scores are required. GRE scores are required of all applicants whose native language is English and will be accepted from those who have completed a degree at an institution where English is the primary language. Students are strongly advised to sign up early for the examinations, as scores take up to two weeks to be reported and available to the Admissions Committee. Applicants are generally expected to have a GRE verbal score of at least 150 and writing score of 4 or above, unless there are extenuating circumstances. For further information about how to register for these examinations visit www.gre.org. GRE scores must be from tests taken within the last five years, and sent from the test companies in order to be official.
Note: As of August 1, 2011 the GRE is offering a revised test with a new score scale. There are test-prep materials as well as a discount on the GRE web site.
The GTU’s institution code is 4336.
International applicants from a country where English is not the official language must submit scores from the TOEFL examination rather than the GRE. Applicants to the M.A. program are expected to have a TOEFL score of at least 79 (internet-based) or 550 (paper-based) from an exam taken within the last two years. For registration information visit www.toefl.org.
Please note: The GRE requirement is currently suspended. Any applicants seeking admission to any program for Academic Year 2021-2022 do not need to submit GRE scores with their application.
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 CollegeNet.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about admissions or to arrange a campus visit, please contact Andrea Sheaffer, email@example.com
The GTU would like to thank the Laszlo N Tauber Family Foundation for their generous support of this program.
Member Schools, Centers, and Institutes
Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
Office of Admissions
1735 LeRoy 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 Jewish Studies contact:
Dr. Deena Aranoff, Director
Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies
Graduate Theological Union
2400 Ridge Road
Berkeley, CA 94709
For the MA in Orthodox Christian Studies contact:
Metropolitan Tarasios of Rhodopolis, Director
Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute
2311 Hearst Avenue
Berkeley, California 94709 USA
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