Master of Arts in Theology (MA)

About the program

When you pursue a Master of Arts in Theology degree at Seattle Pacific Seminary, you combine a core study of scripture, formation, church history, theology and ethics with one of seven concentrations that support SPU’s vision to engage the culture and change the world with the transforming gospel of Jesus Christ.

The MA in Theology will prepare you either for further academic study in your chosen concentration or professional work consistent with God’s calling on your life.

the curriculum

The MA in Theology consists of 60 quarter credits (i.e., 40 semester credits) including core courses and classes in one of seven areas of concentration. The learning obtained from these areas of study is applied to the pressing needs of the contemporary church and the postmodern world.

  • You will complete 21 credits in the Scripture and Formation Core.
  • Church history, theology and ethics comprise part of the core curriculum.
  • A graduate practicum is required of all students.
  • The remaining credits in the degree are courses in the concentration of your choosing.

If your professional objectives change during your course of study, you may transfer easily from any one concentration in this degree program to any of the others, or to the MDiv program. You may also complete an MA in Theology with multiple concentrations in as few as 63–81 credits, depending on the concentrations you choose.

University and program requirements for admission into the Master of Arts in Theology (MA) program include:

  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • You 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.

admission requirements

To enroll in Seattle Pacific University's Master of Arts in Theology (MA) program, you must submit:

  • A graduate online application for admission.
  • A $50 processing fee.
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate institutions.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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, you must provide official transcripts and, in some cases, course syllabi. You may transfer up to 20 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 School of Theology at SPU.
  • 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 15 MA credits must be taken at SPU.

Credit for prior coursework

You will have your transcripts evaluated during the admissions process for the following:

  • If you have been granted a master’s degree from another regionally accredited university
  • If you have taken graduate-level coursework in theology

Seattle Pacific Seminary graduate programs