Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
    Harding University
  Sep 23, 2023
2019-2020 Academic Catalog 
Catalog Navigation
2019-2020 Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Master of Arts

Return to School of Theology Return to: School of Theology

Purpose: The M.A. degree is designed to provide a foundational understanding of one of four designated areas - Old Testament, New Testament, Historical Theology, and Systematic Theology - as a basis for further graduate study or general educational purposes. (See the division system in the Course Descriptions .)

Emphasis: The focus is on scholarly research, with special attention to writing a thesis or guided research.

Intended Educational Outcomes: Master of Arts graduates are expected to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to research and to write a major scholarly work in a selected area of specialization.
  • Demonstrate reasonable exegetical skills in the interpretation of Scripture. This will equip students to understand God and God’s will at the highest level for both personal spiritual formation and the teaching of others.

Time Frame: The M.A. is a 48-hour degree that normally takes two years or less for a full-time student. Students admitted with advanced standing may complete the program in as few as 36 hours.

Residency: At least 6 hours must be taken on the Harding School of Theology campus. One of the two on-campus courses must be BMIN 5990 , which is taken within the first nine hours. It will include a retreat at the end of each intensive course. In semesters where the course is available only on a weekly basis the retreat will be near the end of the term. The other required on-campus course will be chosen by the student in consultation with their advisor.


Undergraduate GPA: A student whose undergraduate grade point average is between 2.30 and 2.70 may be admitted on probation to the M.A. program. Probation will be removed upon successfully completing 18 semester hours of graduate courses with a grade point average of 3.00.

Advanced Standing: The School grants up to 24 hours of advanced standing toward this degree if the student successfully passes an examination based on his/her undergraduate course work.

Transfer Credit: At least 30 semester hours must be taken from Harding School of Theology. As many as 24 hours of graduate credit from another acceptable institution may be applied toward course work requirements, subject to approval of the Admissions Committee. Any advanced standing hours awarded will count against the 24 hours allowed in transfer.

Language Requirement: One year of Greek or Hebrew at the undergraduate level with a grade of C or better is required, or the student may take Hebrew BOLD 5090  and BOLD 5091  or Greek BNEW 5310  and BNEW 5311  for graduate credit. (Students who concentrate in Old Testament must take additional course work in Hebrew; for the New Testament area, additional work is required in Greek.)

Testing: Psychological, career and other types of testing may be used for guidance purposes.

Program: 48 hours

I. Advanced Standing or Leveling Work: (12 hours)

II. CORE (12 hours)

See the Course Descriptions  section for core requirements and exceptions.

III. Area of Concentration (12 hours)

IV. From Area(s) other than Area of Concentration (6 hours)

(See the division system in the Course Descriptions .)2

V. Research (6 hours)

  • Thesis (6) or
  • Guided Research (3) and
  • Elective (3)


1Students concentrating in New Testament must take BNEW 5321 - Advanced New Testament Exegesis .

2For M.A. students concentrating in Old Testament or New Testament three of these six hours must be chosen from BDOC 5400 , BDOC 5442 , or BHIS 5640 .

Additional Requirements

Level of Scholarship: An average scholarship level of 3.00 (B) is required for the M.A. No grade below C is acceptable for graduate credit. Only six hours of C are permitted for the M.A. degree, and these must be balanced by an equal number of hours of A credit.

Prospectus: A student should work with a professor in the appropriate area to develop a prospectus for a thesis or guided research.

Research: A grade of S in Thesis or B or better in Guided Research is required to receive credit toward the M.A. An approved prospectus is due before signing up for a guided research paper. Two copies of the thesis or guided research must be submitted to the candidate’s professor in his/her area of concentration for permanent placement in the library before graduation. A helpful pamphlet prepared by the HST faculty, titled “Guide for Developing a Dissertation, Thesis or a Guided Research Paper at Harding School of Theology” (January 2000), is available free of charge from the dean’s office.

Degree Candidacy: The student should apply for candidacy to the degree during November of the academic year in which he/she hopes to graduate. The student is responsible for notifying the associate dean if, after applying, he or she is unable to complete graduation requirements.

English Bible Exam: All students in all master’s degree plans must pass a comprehensive English Bible exam within their first semester. Students who fail must take the corresponding survey(s), BOLD 5000  and/or BNEW 5200 .

Statute of Limitation: All degree requirements must be completed within a seven-year period from time of entry into the program.

Probation: After the completion of 12 semester hours and thereafter, students with grades below a 3.00 average will be placed on academic probation. To remove probation, a student must achieve a 3.00 overall average during the next 18 hours of study.

Leveling Work

For students who come to HST with no Bible or related course work, this degree will require the following 12 hours of leveling work:

Requirements for Areas of Concentration for Master of Arts

In addition to the CORE courses, each concentration area has specific requirements. The following requirements conform with the rules that: (1) the student must study with two professors in the division containing his/her area of concentration, and (2) courses to be taken with the second professor must be approved by the student’s faculty advisor.

For an outline of divisions and areas, refer to the Course Descriptions  section.

Historical Theology:

Systematic Theology:

Return to School of Theology Return to: School of Theology