Master of Arts in Christian Studies


About the program

Seattle Pacific Seminary offers seven different Master of Arts (MA) degrees. Two of these, Christian Studies and Christian Scripture, are academically oriented degrees. These degrees prepare you for teaching and research in one of the theological disciplines, and are ideal for you if you are preparing for doctoral study.

All seven of these MA degrees in theology support SPU’s vision to engage the culture and change the world with the transforming gospel of Jesus Christ. They are built on an integrated core curriculum consisting of courses in Scripture, church history, theology and ethics, spiritual formation, mission, and ministry. The learning obtained from these fields of study is applied to the pressing needs of the contemporary church and the postmodern world.


Like the other six MA degree programs, the Master of Arts (Christian Studies) consists of 78 quarter credits (i.e., 52 semester credits) of coursework. 

  • The first 42 quarter credits are in a upon which all graduate programs in the Seattle Pacific Seminary are based.
  • The core curriculum consists of three courses each in Christian Formation, Christian Scripture, Global Christian Heritage, Theology/Ethics and Graduate Core Practicum, and one course in Vocational Discernment and Discipleship.
  • Of the remaining 36 credits, 30 are in a variety of program-specific courses (mainly electives) in Bible and theology, and 6 in a faculty-supervised master’s thesis

You may transfer easily from this degree program to any of the others, or to the MDiv program, if your professional objectives change during your course of study.

University and program requirements for admission into any of the MA in theology programs include:

  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Applicants must have had a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 in the last 45 quarter credits (30 semester credits) of course work completed before applying for admission or in all undergraduate work, whichever is higher.
  • Successful submission of all other materials and documents required for admission, as detailed below.

Admissions requirements

To enroll in any of Seattle Pacific Seminary's Master of Arts theology programs, you must submit:

  1. A graduate online application for admission.
  2. A $50 processing fee.
  3. Official transcripts from all undergraduate institutions.
  4. Two letters of recommendation: (1) one from a clergyperson, church staff person, or parachurch professional who will attest to the your emotional, spiritual, and academic readiness for graduate theological study; and (2) one academic reference from a former professor who knows your academic work well.
  5. A typed personal statement. Statements should be three to four pages in length. The statement should address your career objectives, a narrative of your personal Christian experience, rationale for seeking the degree and choosing to attend SPU, and other insights you deem appropriate.

International students

  • Applicants who are not citizens or permanent U.S. residents must provide an official confidential affidavit of financial support covering the first year of intended enrollment. Without this document, SPU cannot issue an I-20 immigration form.
  • Students holding undergraduate or graduate degrees from colleges, universities and/or seminaries located outside the U.S. are expected to have their transcripts evaluated by a professional credential agency. Such an evaluation is required before an application for admission to SPS can be granted and before any graduate credits taken elsewhere can be applied to an SPS degree.
  • If you earned an undergraduate degree in a country other than the United States, or your degree is in progress, an official course-by-course credential evaluation must be submitted from a NACES member-recognized credential service. Acceptable credential services include, but are not limited to, World Education Services (WES) and Foundation for International Services (FIS).

    In addition to the evaluation report, we also require official transcripts and diplomas to be submitted, in English. 
  • English language proficiency: If you do not speak English as your first language, you must also submit scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A minimum score of 600 on the TOFEL paper or 250 on the TOEFL-CBT, or 100 on the TOEFL-iBT is required. ACE scores will not be accepted.

Acceptance into the program

The Seattle Pacific Seminary Admissions Committee will evaluate you application based on a combination of your previous coursework, academic achievement, professional experience, emotional and spiritual preparedness, and personal goals.

Admission to the program will be made by the Seattle Pacific Seminary Admissions Committee and communicated to you in conjunction with Graduate Admissions.

Transfer credits

If you wish to apply graduate-level coursework completed at a regionally accredited university or an ATS-accredited divinity school or seminary toward your MA in theology program, you must provide official transcript(s) and, in some cases, course syllabi. You may transfer up to 27 quarter credits from other graduate programs.

To receive transfer credit:

  • Each course must be at least 3 graduate-quarter credits and be equivalent to courses taught in the Seattle Pacific Seminary.
  • Each course will be considered on a case-by-case basis as to the fulfillment of specific curricular requirements.
  • A minimum grade of B will be needed for transferred work.
  • All courses applied toward the graduate degree must be taken within seven years of admission.
  • In all cases, the final 27 MA in Theology credits must be taken at SPU.

Credit for prior coursework

If you (1) have been granted a master’s degree from another regionally accredited university or (2) have taken graduate level coursework in theology or a field related to the cross-disciplinary courses offered in the student ministry and culture or business and applied theology tracks, you will have your transcripts evaluated during the admissions process.

Application deadline

Applications are due May 15, although it is recommended that you complete application materials before April 1 to be eligible for financial aid.


Seattle Pacific Seminary graduate programs