Master of Arts (Religion) (MAR)

The Master of Arts (Religion) (MAR) degree at Memphis Theological Seminary is designed for lay persons who want to broaden and deepen their theological understanding as a basis for further graduate study or application in other fields.

While the required courses and hours are less than those required for a Master of Divinity degree (M.Div.), students can expect a minimum two-year program of study that includes classroom instruction and hands-on experience through immersions and practicums.  With a strong theological and practical education, MTS graduates will be equipped to serve the church as leaders in greater faithfulness to God.

Day and Evening Classes offered in Block Schedules:

Memphis Theological Seminary works hard to offer a course schedule that will work for every student’s unique needs.  Classes are in three-hour block scheduling rather than one-hour/3x weekly.  Courses are typically offered 8-11 a.m., 1-4 p.m. and 5:30-8:30 p.m., Monday afternoons through Friday mornings.  Some elective courses are offered on Saturdays.  Faculty often rotate their intro courses in the Fall and Spring semesters so that they are offered conveniently to both day and night students.  Faculty advisors will guide each student in course selection.

MAR Curriculum:

The MAR degree curriculum seeks to accomplish the following:

  • Students will be able to understand, appreciate, and use a critical approach to biblical studies.
  • Students will be able to understand the historical development of Christian doctrine and to incorporate its ongoing significance for the Christian ethical life.
  • Students will gain insight and skills in the practice of faith within particular cultural context.
  • Students will complete a thesis or project proposal that demonstrates the development of a methodology, bibliography, and the use of critical research skills.
  • Students will complete a thesis or project that demonstrates the integration of academic study, theological reflection and praxis.

Integrative Seminars and Thesis or Project:

Two integrative seminars are required in addition to the thesis or project. In the second semester of course work, students will take Integrative Seminar I. In this seminar, students will develop their thesis or project proposal developing a methodology and bibliography, and the theological foundations for their thesis or project (2 credits). In the final semester of course work, students will take Integrative Seminar II. In this seminar, students will present their thesis research or project and further reflect upon how their thesis or project draws upon their coursework, research and/or practice, and prepares them for further theological reflection and practice (1credit). In addition to the 3 credit hours for Integrative Seminar I and II, students will receive 3 credit hours for the work of the thesis or project.

MAR Thesis Requirements

The Thesis shall be between 50 and 75 pages, plus bibliography, and written in compliance with the current version of the MLA Handbook. If the thesis is in an area of biblical study, the student must take six hours in the appropriate biblical language. In developing a thesis topic, students should take six-nine hours in the area in which they are writing the thesis. In addition to the presentation of thesis research in integrative Seminar II, there will be an oral defense of the thesis.

The VPAA/Dean will assign thesis advisors based on recommendations of the seminar professor and in consultation with the student and faculty. Readers will be approved by the VPAA/Dean in consultation with the student and faculty members. No faculty member may supervise more than one MAR thesis per academic year.

The final draft of the thesis will be submitted to the reader no later than 45 days prior to the end of the semester. Upon receipt of the final draft, the date of the oral defense will be scheduled. Two corrected copies of the thesis will be submitted to the MTS library for binding no later than one week prior to graduation.

Master of Arts (Religion) Degree Requirements

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