Religion (Graduate)

Master of Arts in Religion

The Master of Arts in Religion (30 graduate semester hours) provides a strong academic foundation in biblical studies, Christian history, and theology. These subjects offer essential preparation for Christian ministry and/or doctoral study in religion.

The Master of Arts in Religion provides a unique blend of religious theory and practical studies that can meet the needs of students with a variety of learning objectives. The classes in the program will be offered either totally online or online with a face-to-face session at the Community of Christ Temple in Independence, Missouri during the fourth week. The faculty is composed of scholars and professionals in the field of religion with the academic and applied backgrounds to make the study of religion stimulating and worthwhile.

Program Admission

  1. Applicant must have earned a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4-point scale, or the equivalent from a non-U.S. institution. Students with a GPA below 3.0 will need to demonstrate the ability to do work at the graduate level.
  2. Applicant must complete the application from that is available on the seminary website.
  3. Applicant must provide official transcripts of all course work.
  4. Applicant should request references from three persons who can attest to the applicant's promise for graduate study.  References should be submitted directly by recommenders using the reference form link.  Recommenders should be persons who have known the applicant for more than 1 year and who have knowledge of the intellectual and ministerial abilities of the applicant.

Graceland University Community of Christ Seminary has a rolling admissions process; students may apply at any time during the year.  New MAR cohorts begin in the fall term each year.

Degree Requirements

  1. The Master of Arts in Religion (MAR) is a 30 semester-hour graduate degree.  Students must satisfactorily complete all 10 courses of the curriculum with a cumulative 3.0 GPA.
  2. Students must attend focus sessions in person when a course includes a focus session.  Focus sessions are scheduled during the fourth weeks of January and May of each year.
  3. A maximum of nine semester hours with a grade of "C" will apply toward the MAR degree.  Students who earn a "C" in more than the maximum allowed number of hours will be required to repeat excess courses in which a "C" was earned.  Students must repeat any course in which they earn a grade lower than a "C."
  4. Students will normally successfully complete requirements for the MAR degree in two years of part-time study; students are allowed up to four years to complete the program.

M.A.R. Degree - Religion

  • RELG5011 Christian Theology 3 s.h.
  • RELG5022 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible 3 s.h.
  • RELG5040 New Testament I 3 s.h.
  • RELG5050 New Testament II 3 s.h.
  • RELG5060 History of Christian Thought I 3 s.h.
  • RELG5070 History of Christian Thought II 3 s.h.
  • *RELG5330 Community of Christ I: 1820-1914, History-Scripture-Theology 3 s.h.
  • *RELG5340 Community of Christ II: 1914-Present, History-Scripture-Theology 3 s.h.
  • RELG6115 Ministry Practicum  3 s.h.
  • RELG6240 Contemporary Culture and Theologies 3 s.h.
  • RELG6500 Portfolio 0 s.h.

*Students from other denominations may substitute approved denomination-specific course work.

Transfer of Credits

Students may request the transfer of a maximum of 9 semester hours of credit for the MAR, provided that the courses transferred approximate courses offered by Community of Christ Seminary, were taken at a regionally accredited institution or its non-US equivalent, and that the student earned at least a “B” in those courses. The request must be accompanied by an official transcript from the institution where the credit was earned.

Courses in Religion (Graduate)

RELG5011 Christian Theology 3 s.h.
This course is an initial exploration of the discipline and methods of theology. The foundational topics of Christian theology are covered including the nature and necessity of the theological task and contemporary understandings of the doctrine of God, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, humanity, the church, and Christian hope.

RELG5022 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible 3 s.h.
A review of the sacred literature of ancient Israel, centered on its covenantal themes and Ancient Near Eastern contexts.

RELG5040 New Testament I 3 s.h.
A review of the New Testament literature focusing on the gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, centered around its christological themes as they relate to other primary doctrines. Attention will be given to techniques of exegesis based on various methods of biblical criticism.

RELG5050 New Testament II 3 s.h.
A review of the New Testament literature focusing on Paul and the General Epistles, centered around its christological themes as they relate to other primary doctrines. Attention will be given to techniques of exegesis based on various methods of biblical criticism.

RELG5060 History of Christian Thought I 3 s.h.
This course traces the theological and doctrinal development of the Christian church from the biblical period to the period immediately preceding the Reformation. Attention will be given to the historical context in which this development occurred.

RELG5070 History of Christian Thought II 3 s.h.
This course traces the theological and doctrinal development of the Christian church from the Reformation into the 21st century. Attention will be given to the historical context in which this development occurred.

RELG5330 Community of Christ I: 1820-1914, History-Scripture-Theology 3 s.h.
An interdisciplinary exploration of the history, scripture and theology of the Community of Christ from its early nineteenth-century beginnings until the start of the First World War. Special attention will be given to the Church’s origins within the context of revivalism and democratization on the American frontier, its reinterpretation of important classical Christian themes, and the developing identity and theology of the Reorganization up to the death of Joseph Smith III.

RELG5340 Community of Christ II: 1914-Present, History-Scripture-Theology 3 s.h.
An interdisciplinary exploration of the history, scripture, and theology of the Community of Christ from the First World War to the present. Special attention will be given to how the Community of Christ’s identity and theology have continuously developed in response to the encounter with the intellectual, social, and cultural challenges of modernity and postmodernity.

RELG6115 Ministry Practicum 3 s.h.
An opportunity for students to gain experience in the practice of ministry in their chosen area of specialization. Students will experience ministry in a supervised setting where they will benefit from feedback by an experienced minister. Students design their practicum in consultation with the practicum director. (Graded on a Pass/Fail basis.)

RELG6240 Contemporary Culture and Theologies 3 s.h.
An examination of the nature and implications of current issues and practices found in major world cultures with emphasis on their impact on Christian ministry, particularly ecumenical and intercultural ministry.

RELG6500 Portfolio 0 s.h.
A summative project that encourages students to reflect on their experience and the directions it may take them as a disciple or minister. The Seminary Graduate Portfolio consists of a beginning paper, gathering of graduate work,and self-assessment. The student will review her/his portfolio with a committee as a “finale” of her/his graduate work. (Evaluated on a pass/fail basis.)