Master of Arts
The Master of Arts (Religious Studies) is a two-year graduate program that focuses on the study of religion traditions, theology and ethics. Culminating with a Master’s Thesis, this program allows each student to focus theological study in an area of personal interest. This is an appropriate theological degree for those preparing for further study at the doctoral level; anyone desiring advanced theological study as a foundation for service in another field; active church members and lay-leaders working in non-ordained capacity or others who simply wish to study theology and religion without the aim of entering professional ministry.
M.A. Program Learning Goals
- Demonstrate foundational knowledge of and the capacity to interpret and communicate theological/ethical and religious traditions.
- Demonstrate the capacity to critically integrate the study of religion, theology and ethics with at least one of the following:
a. the study of the humanities or social sciences, or
b. significant contemporary social or political issues.
- Demonstrate the capacity to complete graduate level academic research in religious studies.
|1st Year||2nd Year|
Interpreting the Hebrew Bible
Global Sensitivity in Ministry OR Elective*
Master’s Writing Seminar (2nd half, for credit)
* Either Christian Ethics or Global Sensitivity must be taken.
Note: Of the ten electives listed, two must be in Religious Heritage (RH), and two must be in Theology, Ethics, and Culture (TEC).
Apply to the M.A. Program
The final application deadline for Fall 2013 will be July 16th. All those planning to apply for Fall 2013 who have not already submitted an application should contact the Admissions Office at (773) 896-2411 as soon as possible.
The M.A. (Religious Studies) is a two-year program that allows the student to focus theological study in an area of personal interest. The M.A. culminates in the Master’s Thesis and is an appropriate theological degree for those preparing for further study at the doctoral level; anyone desiring advanced theological study as a foundation for service in another field; active church members and lay-leaders working in non-ordained capacity or others who wish to simply study theology and religion without the aim of entering professional ministry.
Qualifications: M.A. applicants must have completed a Bachelor’s Degree and may have earned a first theological degree.
1. APPLICATION PROCESS: Completion of the online application form is only one part of the comprehensive application process. Official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and application for financial aid will be submitted in hard copy. Applications must be complete before they will be forwarded to the CTS Admissions Committee for consideration. Please plan accordingly to meet the appropriate deadlines.
2. ONLINE APPLICATION FORM: The bulk of your application information will be collected by way of the online form. Read all directions prior to beginning the form to understand the requirements for the degree program to which you are applying. Prepare your written materials and assemble them in one document to be submitted as an attachment. Identify the persons who will serve as referents. Gather information regarding institutions attended and degrees received. Determine your form of payment for the application fee.
3. WRITTEN MATERIALS: Written materials should be carefully assembled into one document to be included as an attachment on the online application form. The application form will refer to this collective document as an “essay”.
1. Autobiographical Statement Please write an autobiographical statement (2000 words or less) incorporating a response to the following:
1. Describe your religious history and/or a personal experience that has led you to pursue theological studies.
2. What are your educational and vocational goals in seeking theological education?
3. What do you believe to be two of the most important issues facing society that demand theological response, and why?
2.Current Resume: Provide a current resume or a brief description of any of the following: your recent work experience, participation in volunteer and community service, religious or church involvement, and any honors/awards you have received.
3. Statement of Focus: Please submit a two-page statement of your proposed focus of study. This statement should identify the level of prior theological education that you bring, indicate the objectives that you intend to accomplish through your study and note the kinds of courses that would be in pursuit of these objectives. The focus should be sufficiently broad to ensure that there will be an adequate number of courses offered at CTS and through the other ACTS seminaries to meet your needs. At the same time, it must be sufficiently narrow to permit you to meet your objectives within the 16 course structure of the program.
4. REFERENCES: Master of Arts; Religious Studies applicants must submit four (4) written references. At least two (2) of the references must be academic. One may come from a pastor or other ministry professional, and one may come from a professional colleague or personal friend.
List the names and contact information for these references on the online form. Identify the type of reference (academic, pastoral, or professional/personal).
Provide a copy of the downloadable REQUEST FOR REFERENCE to each of the four referents named on your application form. Prior to delivery to the referent, complete the top section, identify the type of reference, and sign the form.
It is an expected courtesy for you to provide each person with a pre-addressed, stamped envelope. Each writer should return the completed reference directly to CTS (or to you) in a sealed envelope with a signature across the back flap.
Reference waiver: Unless otherwise indicated, you waive your right to review letters of reference. Waiving your right will assure freedom of full expression in the evaluation you are asking each person to provide. If you do not wish to waive this right, you must indicate as much on the reference form.
5. ACADEMIC RECORDS: Provide the names of all colleges and universities attended or presently attending and indicate the degrees earned or expected on the online form. List them in chronological order. The online form can accommodate up to five institutions.
Request the Registrar of each institution to send an official transcript of all academic work in a sealed and signed/stamped envelope directly to CTS. Please include transcripts for all post-secondary schools attended, including those at which you did not earn a degree.
6. APPLICATION FEE: A non-refundable $50 application fee is required of all online applicants. Payment may be made by debit card or credit card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover Card or American Express.) Persons serving as volunteers, team members, Corp members, staff and alums of the AmeriCorps, City Year, Peace Corps, and VISTA are eligible for an application fee refund. Refund will be done by mail following receipt of proof of affiliation.
7. MASTER OF ARTS APPLICATION CHECKLIST: A downloadable checklist is provided for your convenience to assist you in organizing your materials and completing the requirements.
8. SUBMISSION: Transcripts, sealed references, and the CTS Application for Financial Aid form should be mailed to:
Chicago Theological Seminary
1407 E. 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
9. FACULTY INTERVIEW: Once your application file is complete and ready for review by the Admissions Committee, the Office of Admissions will contact you to arrange a brief personal interview with a member of the CTS faculty. The interview may be done in person or by telephone.
10. FINANCIAL AID: Applicants wishing to be considered for merit scholarships or need-based grants must complete the application process and submit the CTS Application for Financial Aid by the priority deadline of February 15. Merit scholarships and need-based grants are available for students matriculating in the fall only.
11. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS: All applicants must complete the admissions process within two years of submission of application materials. No applications will be held after two years. Applicants who are not accepted to CTS may only re?apply after two years, and must re?submit an application. Submission of an application and the supporting documents assumes that the information is accurate and true to the best of the applicant’s knowledge. All documents submitted as a part of an application become the property of the Chicago Theological Seminary and are not transferrable to a third party.
12. TRANSFER APPLICANTS: Transfer students must complete a minimum of eight (8) courses at CTS to be eligible to receive a CTS degree. Master’s level transfer students who wish to transfer credits into a CTS program must have an admissions interview with the CTS Registrar. In addition to materials required of the degree program into which you hope to transfer, please submit a letter of honorary dismissal as well as transcripts from the Registrar or Academic Dean of your previous school. Please note that a Master’s level transfer student who has one year or less before completing his/her degree may not be eligible for institutional financial aid.
13. APPLICATION FEE: A non-refundable $50 application fee is required of all online applicants. Payment may be made by credit card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover Card and American Express), debit card, or direct withdrawal from a bank account.
Chicago Theological Seminary welcomes applications from international students for admission to graduate study. International students should plan to begin their studies at the Seminary in the Fall Term. All necessary documents must be received by the appropriate application deadline. Follow the general application instructions above, noting the following additions and clarifications:
1. TRANSCRIPTS written in a language other than English must be accompanied by a notarized translation.
2. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): TOEFL scores are required of applicants for whom English is not their first language. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 550 on the written test, 217 on the computer test, and 80 on the internet-based test. The CTS school code for the TOEFL is 1120. The TOEFL may only be waived if the applicant has completed another degree, in English, in the United States.
3. I-20 FORMS: I-20 forms are not issued until after an international student is admitted. If admitted, your admissions letter packet will include a CTS International Student I-20 Application form and an estimate of the cost of attendance for your degree program. The form will explain the financial documentation requirements for the issuance of the I-20 by the seminary. You may contact the CTS Office of Financial Aid prior to applying for information about cost of attendance or I-20 requirements.