MA/TS Purpose

The MA/TS provides a basic understanding of Christianity for general educational purposes. Trinity’s MA/TS draws from the breadth of the curriculum requiring substantive study in biblical, theological, and historical and global areas, combined with a significant number of hours in the student’s area of interest. The MA/TS is particularly suited for Christians desiring to better understand God’s revelation to humanity in the biblical and theological context of orthodox historic Christianity and who are engaged in non-church-related vocations or for those seeking a general theological degree to accompany a specialized master’s degree. As a seminary degree, its particular focus is to relate theological studies to the work of the church. Program participants may also elect to focus their elective coursework, capstone project, and field education coursework on a particular subject area available in the curriculum or at their particular site.

The MA/TS may be completed in full at the Chicago Regional Center, the Florida Regional Center, and at extension sites in Madison, Wisconsin; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Indianapolis, Indiana; Akron, Ohio; and Columbus, Ohio. Coursework may also be completed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Some coursework may also be completed through TEDS online courses.

Program Outcomes:

Students graduating with a Master of Arts degree in Theological Studies will be able to:

  • understand the biblical and theological constructs that form the foundation for the Christian faith
  • think critically and constructively about the historic and global contexts of Christianity
  • examine closely an area of Christian studies of personal interest
  • articulate their Christian faith in light of their present vocational engagement
  • grow in personal and spiritual maturity
  • demonstrate competence in writing and research

MA/TS and the MDiv or a Second Degree

The flexibility of the MA/TS curriculum and its biblical-theological focus makes it an ideal fit as a complementary degree to other MA programs, such as the MA/MHC. Students may also complete their MA/TS degree and then use all the hours in the program toward an MDiv degree. If MA/TS students are anticipating future MDiv studies, they should select courses that are required in the MDiv program, including biblical language courses. (See “Degree Combinations” in this Catalog.)

MA/TS Objectives

The MA/TS will enable participants to:

  • Understand the biblical and theological constructs that form the foundation for the Christian faith
  • Think critically and constructively about the historic and global contexts of Christianity
  • Examine closely an area of theological studies of personal interest
  • Articulate their Christian faith in light of their present vocational engagement
  • Grow in personal and spiritual maturity
  • Demonstrate competence in writing and research

MA/TS Admission Requirements and Prerequisites

The admission requirements for the MA/TS are those described in the Admissions section of the Catalog and the following requirements specific to the MA/TS:

Applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree, or the educational equivalent, from a recognized accredited institution. In some cases, admission with deficiencies is possible with the fulfillment of those deficiencies at Trinity.

The applicant’s undergraduate grade point average must be a minimum of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale; however, since GPA is not always an accurate indicator of an applicant’s abilities for graduate work, those with a lower GPA are encouraged to consult with an admissions counselor.

Scores from the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) (preferred) or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) are required for applicants whose undergraduate GPA is less than 2.5, and for others upon request from the Admissions Office.

MA/TS Residency Requirement and Program Duration

The residency requirement for the MA/TS degree is a minimum of 24 hours must be completed through Trinity coursework, with the final 8 hours taken through Trinity. The 24 hours may be completed with a combination of Deerfield and extension site courses and through Trinity Distance Education or independent study courses as arranged with the program advisor.

Note: It is not the design or intent of the MA/TS to be completed solely in an independent or distant mode. Participants should anticipate spending a majority of their coursework in the classroom at a TEDS site, either Deerfield or an extension. Numerous delivery options are available, including summer, modular, weekend, evening, and other class formats.

MA/TS Statute of Limitation

All MA/TS requirements must be completed within eight years of matriculation into the program. Extension of the statute of limitation for up to two years may be granted by petition when a student has demonstrated consistent program progress toward the degree.

MA/TS Candidacy Requirements

Admission to the MA/TS must be followed by achievement of candidacy for the degree. Program candidacy occurs when:

  • A minimum of 16 hours in the program is completed with a minimum GPA of 2.5 for program coursework after admission to the program.
  • All entrance deficiencies and conditions are removed.
  • Formal action has been taken by the faculty to grant candidacy for the degree.
  • Additional candidacy requirements may be present at regional sites. Contact the local program director for details.

MA/TS Graduation Requirements

  1. Complete the General Graduation Requirements for all master’s programs.
  2. Complete a minimum of 42 semester hours with a cumulative GPA for program coursework of at least 2.5, with no coursework graded below a “C-” applicable to the degree.
  3. Complete two semesters of Field Education; or one semester of Field Education and two semesters of Formation Group.
  4. Complete the MA/TS capstone project in the form of an integrative paper or ministry project for 2 hours.

The flexibility of the curriculum in the MA/TS allows participants to focus a significant part of their studies in an area of interest. Options available vary widely according to the eclectic interests of the student, curriculum available at a particular site, and course selections a student might make from the ability to cross-register into other seminaries in the Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS) consortium. Such flexibility provides a strong understanding of Christianity for general educational purposes while enabling students to complete as many as 14 or more semester hours (electives plus capstone) in their area of interest. Interest areas include: church administration, age or specialized ministry, Bible, theology, and many others. Many interest areas may be further pursued in a complete degree program in that area.

Biblical Studies
Select 7-12 hours of Biblical Studies 17-12
Intro to the Old Testament
Intro to the New Testament
Theological Studies
Select 9-12 hours of Theological Studies 29-12
Biblical Theology and Interpretation
Theology I: The God of the Gospel
Theology II: The Gospel of God
Historical and Global Studies
Select 5-9 hours of Historical and Global Studies 35-9
History of Christianity I
History of Christianity II
American Church History
Understanding the Social and Cultural Contexts of Ministry
History of Missions in the Modern World
Theology of Mission & Evangelism
Electives 45-16
PT 5100Spiritual Formation for Ministry2
Select one option from the following:0
Option 1:
Field Education (two semesters)
Option 2:
Field Education (one semester)
Formation Group (two semesters)
ID 7468MA (Theological Studies) Capstone2
Total Hours42

Include both OT and NT studies; languages not applicable.


Select from ST, PR, CC, BE studies


Select from CH and ME studies


These courses may focus in a department or area of interest or be selected from across the curriculum.

Trinity provides the opportunity for students to earn multiple masters degrees without substantially lengthening their stay.  Multiple Masters options include: