The Master of Arts allows students
to design their own custom program
in collaboration with a faculty mentor
who shares their interests.
maximum flexibility to align your studies with your
academic passions and professional goals—such as doctoral studies,
non-traditional ministries, or personal seeking.
Student, Master of Arts with Social Justice concentration
“My interest is in Christian ethics as it relates to sex and shame in the church. Drew has given me the language to express the things I already felt and connected me to biblical and sociological sources that speak to these issues. Now I am in conversation with great thinkers such as Niebuhr and Thielicke and preparing to take my place as a writer, scholar and activist.”
My Favorite Course
“The Master of Arts seminar shows you how to make best use of the library and online resources for theological research. In that process, I came across some articles on postcolonial critical theory. Now I am considering further studies in postcolonial criticism as it relates to Korean theology and preparing to enter the Ph.D. program.”
Tae Hoon Lee Student, Master of Arts
Graduation Requirements for Master of Arts
The M.A. is a flexible program with minimal course requirements. 44 credits are required to complete the program, normally done in four semesters of full-time study.
The Master of Arts program is a two-year master's degree designed for students who wish to acquire a foundation in theological and religious studies as preparation for further studies at the doctoral level, teaching at the high school or community college level, leadership in social arenas where religion and ethics can or could play a key role, or personal exploration and interest. This degree also supplements professional expertise, such as in law, medicine, journalism, community organizing, not-for profit management or other forms of business, or library science. This degree is not specifically designed to prepare candidates for ordination and is appropriate for students from all faiths or no particular faith.
All students in the MA program deepen their education in religion in order to enter into spaces of public, professional, and scholarly conversation about religion and ethics related to local communities or wider arenas. They all will develop:
- The ability to reflect critically on both primary and secondary source materials
- The ability to use research methods and resources appropriately to the task at hand
- The ability to formulate productive scholarly questions
- The ability to critically and constructively engage questions social concern
The program is designed to be completed in two years of full time study (including the January and summer terms of those years). All requirements must be completed within five years from the date of initial matriculation. Students may not take more than fifteen credits in the fall or spring semester or three credits in the January term without approval of the Academic Standing Committee.
Students must complete a minimum of 24 credits at Drew Theological School. Students with credits earned elsewhere at the graduate professional level and not applied toward another earned degree may apply for a maximum of twelve transfer credits. See the transfer policy in the Academic Policies section of the catalogue.
Credits for the M.A. are earned in a combination of regular semester-long courses held on Drew's campus in Madison, New Jersey, online courses, intensive courses that meet in a compressed time period (one to three weeks), hybrid courses that combine on-campus meetings with online work, and off-site courses such as internships, travel seminars, and courses that meet at one of New Jersey's state prisons. Most courses meet once per week and are spread between daytime and nighttime hours.
The Master of Arts degree is awarded at the satisfactory completion of forty-four academic credits. Each student will work out an appropriate course of study in consultation with the academic adviser, which will culminate in an integrative project. The student determines the specific goals of his or her program in consultation with his or her academic advisor. Students generally opt either to attain a broad knowledge of various religious studies disciplines or to develop a focused knowledge in a specific discipline.
All M.A. students are required to take:
- INTD 690 - Research Skills I
- INTD 691 - Research Skills II
As well as complete an Integrative Project:
This project may take any one of the following forms:
1. A traditional academic thesis of 60-70 pages, directed and examined by a committee of two faculty members. The thesis option earns 6 credits in the final semester of study, and is strongly recommended for those who intend to apply for admission to a doctoral program.
2. An extended paper linked to a course. No additional credits are given for the paper. It is normally 35-40 pages and goes through several drafts, each draft receiving critical feedback from the instructor.
3. A 3-credit internship, concluding with a substantial written reflection integrating the experience with the student's academic work. Students electing to do an internship should begin planning in the first year of study. Both the advisor and the office of the Associate Dean for Contextual Learning should be consulted.
Although it is not required, it is also strongly recommended that students achieve reading proficiency in the primary and/or secondary languages (beyond English) appropriate to their academic field or vocational plans. Drew does not, offer graduate language classes other than Greek and Hebrew (for students interested in biblical studies). Instead M.A. and Ph.D. students utilize various local programs, including the summer programs offered by Princeton University and the year-round courses offered by the CUNY Graduate Center in NYC. Students also use the online program offered by the Erasmus Academy (www.languageprodigy.com). Drew's Graduate Division of Religion offers language testing for M.A. and Ph.D. students four times a year (for details, contact the GDR Office: firstname.lastname@example.org). If students pass the Princeton or CUNY program, or another approved program, with a grade of B or better they do not have to take the Drew language exam, and the language result is entered in their Drew transcript.
Suggested Course of Study:
The M.A. program is normally completed in four semesters of full-time study. This typically yields the following semester-by-semester course load:
- 1st semester: 10 credits (including the required 1 credit course, INTD 690)
- 2nd semester: 12 credits
- 3rd semester: 13 credits (including the required 1 credit course, INTD 691)
- 4th semester: 9 credits (typically, 6 credit thesis plus one course; or extended paper (no credit) plus three courses; or 3 credit internship plus two courses).
Optional Interdisciplinary Concentrations:
M.A. students have the option of developing any one of five interdisciplinary concentrations. Each concentration entails completing in-depth work related to the concentration in a specified number of courses (typically, four), and the selection of a topic appropriate to the concentration for the student's Integrative Project (whether a thesis, an extended paper, or an internship). Successful completion of the concentration is recorded in the student's academic transcript.
The five interdisciplinary M.A. concentrations are as follows:
Africana Studies:The M.A. concentration in Africana Studies invites students to engage the histories, experiences, religions, and intellectual and artistic contributions of peoples of African descent both within Africa and across the African Diaspora as its starting points of scholarly reflection. Concentrating in Africana Studies entails critical analysis of the sociological, political, historical, economic, and religious factors, as well as the structures of oppression and modes of resistance, that have created, shaped, and continue to inform African and African-Diaspora experiences throughout the world. This concentration requires that students take the Africana Studies and Religion Interdisciplinary Seminar (see course description below), if it is offered during the student's program.
Arts/Creativity/Imagination:The M.A. concentration in the Arts, Creativity, and the Imagination allows students the opportunity to study the arts in close proximity to one of the art capitals of the world, while at the same time relating these arts to the life of spiritual growth and the exciting realms of the imagination. Arts, such as painting, music, theater, dance, poetry, fiction, and sculpture, among others, not only enrich life but stand at the very heart of what it means to be an actualized spiritual being. This M.A. gives students a chance to celebrate and explore this creativity within a rigorous academic setting where scholarship goes hand in hand with the life of the imagination. This concentration offers students the option to pursue a substantial creative project (e.g., a play, a poem cycle, etc.) in fulfillment of the Integrative Project requirement.
Religion and Ecology:The M.A. concentration in Religion and Ecology encourages students to explore the many facets of this emerging interdisciplinary field. Students can combine exploration of theological, philosophical, historical, psychological and biblical perspectives on religion, nature and the ecological potentiality of the world religions and emergent eco-spiritualities, with sociological and ethical study of environmental justice, climate change, and the multiple religious responses. Themes of gender, race, the animal, global politics, and activism can intersect in this concentration. Students also have opportunity to take courses in environmental studies in the College of Liberal Arts, adding economic, anthropological, scientific and literary dimensions to their course of study.
Social Justice:The M.A. concentration in Social Justice invites students to think critically and be engaged as agents of change concerning matters of social inequality. Students working on this concentration can draw from the range of fields of study available at Drew: biblical studies, history, theological and philosophical inquiry, psychology, sociology, religious ethics, environmental studies, and gender studies, among others, mobilizing these resources for the critical analysis of structures of oppression, with the goal of contributing to a more just society. Through theoretical and practical engagements, students can develop tools essential to scholarly research and advocacy in matters of social justice. This concentration requires that students take at least one PREP [Partnership for Religion and Education in Prisons]course.
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies:The M.A. concentration in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies allows examination of the diversity of women's lives as they are informed not only by gender and religion but also by class, race/ethnicity, sexuality, age, ability, social location, and cultural and national identity. It also invites study of the diversity of masculinities and sexualities. This concentration requires that students take the Women's Studies Interdisciplinary Seminar (INTD 712 - Interdisciplinary Seminar in Women's Studies), offered every other fall.
- INTD 710 - Africana Studies & Religion
This course focuses attention on the history, culture, philosophies, aspirations, and achievements of people of African descent in regions of the world that share a history of specific kinds of colonialism. The course literature will be afro-centric, representing Africana thinkers in reflexive mode. The course will telescope between broader contextualizing topics from the above-mentioned areas and specifics of Africana religious experience. We will look at continental African religions in their traditional and imported expressions (e.g. Yoruba, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and more), African religions as practiced in the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States, and the Abrahamic religions as Africana practice. This embracive study sets a template for dialogue between Africana reflection on religious practice and Western notions of religious construction.