Master of Arts (Religion)
Hermeneutics and Biblical
Interpretation

6.5 Master of Arts (Religion)


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A student who holds a baccalaureate degree from an approved institution receives the degree of Master of Arts (Religion) (M.A.R.) on the completion of the prescribed program of study.

This program is designed for men and women who desire a theological background and training for various callings other than the gospel ministry or for advanced study in religion or other disciplines.

The M.A.R. is an academic program which may serve either as a terminal degree or as a degree leading to further academic work. In the former case, it is especially appropriate for Christian professionals (such as physicians, attorneys, teachers, administrators, writers, and other laypeople) who desire simply to provide for themselves a solid biblical foundation for the work in which they are or will be engaged.

When the M.A.R. is conceived of as a terminal degree, the choice of one of four possible emphases will depend upon the individual’s aptitudes, interests, and career direction. Individuals who desire thorough and extensive familiarity with the biblical materials themselves should choose the Biblical Studies emphasis. Those whose interests and concerns involve overall theological or historical perspectives would probably be better served with a Theological Studies emphasis. A General Studies emphasis allows a student to individualize the program even more and thereby make it directly relevant to his or her own situation. Westminster is not accepting applications for the Urban Mission emphasis.

All of those for whom the M.A.R. is a terminal degree receive thorough grounding in the Scriptures, Reformed theology, church history, and apologetics. All graduates of the program, therefore, possess tools for bringing the lordship of Christ to bear directly upon that part of God’s world in which they are called to serve. This satisfies one of the purposes of the program.

Another purpose of the M.A.R. is preparation for further academic work. An individual taking the M.A.R. in Biblical Studies is particularly well prepared for doctoral work in that field (either at Westminster or elsewhere) and the same would be true for an individual taking the M.A.R. in Theological Studies. Those who complete the M.A.R. with an Urban Mission emphasis will have a good foundation for further academic work in sociology, anthropology, and related disciplines.

6.5.a Student Learning Goals

Upon graduation, the student will:

  1. Exhibit a deep love for the triune God, his word, his truth and his church and a Christ-like humility in relation to others.
  2. Understand and articulate in writing a foundational knowledge of theological disciplines, including the scriptures, Reformed theology, church history and apologetics. 
  3. Understand and articulate in writing a more focused knowledge of the student’s area of emphasis as preparation for advanced academic work.
  4. Understand and articulate the system of doctrine contained in the Westminster Standards and its importance for biblical and systematic theology and integrate this doctrine into life and ministry.
  5. Be able to exegete the text of scripture as given in the original languages.