Prepare for a Rewarding Career in Academia

Whether you want to pursue a PhD, a teaching role in a religious or academic institution, or even as an add-on to your MDiv, a Master of Arts degree from United is the perfect first step toward a fulfilling and thought-provoking future.

Degree Overview

MA Program Details

Required Credits

To graduate with a MA degree, you will be required to complete a total of 36 credits. Typically, MA students complete 11 courses at 3 credits each, followed by a 3-credit thesis. Alternatively, you may choose to complete 10 courses followed by a longer 6-credit thesis.

Time to Complete

This 36-credit program can be completed in approximately 2 years if you maintain a full-time course load (24 credits per year) and complete your thesis in one trimester.


An advisor will support you as you complete work on your thesis. Once completed, the thesis will be read and evaluated by your thesis advisor and other qualified evaluators (typically other professors). You will then be required to “defend” the thesis in an oral examination with the evaluators.

Distance Learning

All MA concentrations can be completed entirely via distance learning. All courses have the option to attend classes either in person or via Zoom, and many courses can be taken completely asynchronously with no required class meetings.

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Learning Outcomes

A graduate of United’s Master of Arts degree program will be able to:

  • interpret a selected passage from a selected religious text from multiple historical and contemporary perspectives and using one or more critical methods, demonstrating understanding of the influence of their own situatedness on that interpretation;
  • critically interpret, analyze and reflect on a selected theological text or perspective in its historical context as well as through the lens of modern questions and challenges;
  • apply to their vocational context or academic study an appropriate critical analysis of and reflection on a selected moral dilemma from a variety of Christian OR interreligious ethical perspectives;
  • critically analyze and reflect on the religious history and theological perspectives of a selected population historically marginalized by the dominant voices of their religious traditions;
  • demonstrate a competent understanding of a selected topic within their chosen degree concentration through the effective critical interpretation, analysis and synthesis of appropriate sources; and
  • demonstrate effective academic theological research and writing skills.
Photo of Dwayne Dixon Photo of Dwayne Dixon

“United is a place that is a very big tent. [It] has space for all faith traditions, for all kinds of people, space for all kinds of beliefs, and that is appealing.”

Dwayne Dixon – MA, Directed Studies

Master of Arts Concentrations

United’s MA degree offers the following areas of concentration:


Theology and the Arts
Ethics and Justice
Religion and Theology
Biblical Studies
Interreligious Studies
Directed Study

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