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    Harding University
  Oct 03, 2023
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
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2023-2024 Academic Catalog

Master of Arts

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Purpose: The Master of Arts 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.

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 36-hour degree that normally takes two years or less for a full-time student. 

Residency: At least six hours must be taken on the Harding School of Theology campus. One of the on-campus courses must be BMIN 5990 Advanced Theological Research , 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. 


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: HST does not allow advanced standing in the 36-hour M.A.

Transfer Credit: Students must take at least 24 semester hours from Harding School of Theology toward the M.A. HST may accept as many as 12 hours of graduate credit from another acceptable institution, subject to approval of the Admissions Committee.

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: 36 hours

Core (12 hours)

See the Course Descriptions  section for core requirements and exceptions.

Area of Concentration (12 hours)

Choose one concentration listed below.

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

For 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 .

Research (6 hours)


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

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: Students should apply for candidacy to the degree from November through December 15 prior to the spring or summer in which they intend to graduate; fall graduates should apply by July 15. Students are responsible to notify the associate dean if they apply for graduation and are 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.

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:

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