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M.A. in Theological StudiesTransform Your
Understanding of
Theology and
Church History

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Master of Arts in Theological Studies

Understanding where the global church has come from helps us better understand where it is going. The Master of Arts in theological studies guides you through studies of primary-source texts to gain a more comprehensive knowledge of church history and its influence on theology and Scripture.

Degree Type

  • Master of Arts


  • On Campus
  • Online


  • Grand Rapids
  • Online

Credit Hours

  • 48


  • Association of Theological Schools (ATS)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Grow Your Understanding
of the Church

The Master of Arts in theological studies is a 48-credit program designed to help students develop precision and nuance in their own theological expressions. Students will learn how the church has developed its theological stances throughout history, examine the contribution of key theologians and dig into primary source documents. As a result, you’ll be better equipped to support and articulate your own beliefs with a firm theological foundation grounded in both Scripture and history.

Through this program, you will come to understand the historical development of the church’s theology, particularly how it has been shaped by the intersection of Scripture, tradition and culture. By doing so, you will grow in your understanding of the church as we know it today. This important facet of the program will help you develop your gifts as a teacher, a leader and a learner of Scripture.


A Master of Arts in theological studies is ideal for a pastor or ministry leader dedicated to contextual interpretation of Scripture and church history.


  • Pastoral Ministry
  • Christian Publishing
  • Ph.D./D.Min. Studies

Program Highlights

Strengthen your preaching and teaching: Hone your ability to apply theology to contemporary cultural and pastoral challenges by studying how the church has historically articulated its understanding of who God is.

Understand the development of the church’s theology: Examine the historical development of the church’s theology, particularly how it has been shaped by the intersection of Scripture, tradition and culture. Through this endeavor, you will grow in your understanding of the church as we know it today.

Articulate what you believe: The M.A. in theological studies was created to help students articulate their own theology with clarity, concision and precision so that they can explain how their worldview supplies a necessary foundation for fruitful life and ministry.


Of students receive a grant or scholarship.


Total GRTS graduates in 2020.


Different denominations represented in our student body.

Course List and
Learning Outcomes

The M.A. in theological studies is designed to develop your historical and theological competency through engagement with significant theologians, movements, and primary source documents. The faculty seeks to mentor students to integrate Christian tradition into their own life and ministry.

Basic Core Courses

The basic core of the M.A. in theological studies consists of 18 credits:

BBL-501 Biblical Hermeneutics

An introduction to the process of determining the original meaning and contemporary significance of biblical texts.

BBL-508 Biblical Theology

This course is an integrated study of the central themes from the Old and New Testaments that comprise the grand narrative of Scripture.

BBL-EL Bible Elective

Students will choose a 3-credit Bible elective from the variety of biblical studies classes offered each year.

THE-501 Program Introduction Seminar

This course prepares students for the rigors of graduate scholarship by honing the skills of graduate research, reading and writing.

THE-676 Apologetics and Moral Issues in Ministry

This course will help students preserve and steward their life and doctrine by evaluating the philosophical foundations of the Christian faith and various ethical problems encountered in pastoral care, spiritual direction, and Christian counseling.

MIN-500 Christian Spiritual Formation

An investigation into the meaning of biblical Christianity and its relationship to faith and practice within contemporary cultural contexts. Special attention is given to the corporate dimensions of spirituality and spiritual formation.

MIN-711 Program Completion Seminar

This course serves to aid students in the transition from student life in the seminary to the practice in vocational ministry. Particular focus is given to ministerial identity formation, resume development, ministry search process and resources, and ordination and licensure. Embedded within the course are the administration of several existing student assessments.

Theology Specialization

The theology specialization of the M.A. in theological studies consists of 30 credits:

THE-515 Historical Theology I: The Early Church

The church from the close of the New Testament canon through Augustine in the West and the council Chalcedon in the East.

THE-516 Historical Theology II: The Medieval Church

The medieval church, primarily in the West, from Augustine through the forerunners of the Reformation.

THE-517 Historical Theology III: The Reformation Church

The reformation and post-reformation church from Martin Luther to early eighteenth century.

THE-518 Historical Theology IV: The Modern Church

The modern church from the early eighteenth century to present.

THE-540 Systematic Theology I

This course introduces and practices a metanarrative for doing theology. The biblical narratives and propositions are heard in the context of the story that begins with creation, is centered in Jesus’ first coming and reaches its culmination in the new heavens and earth.

THE-640 Systematic Theology II

This course continues our metanarrative theology by examining the Christian story of creation, fall, redemption and consummation, with special attention given to the nature and task of humanity, the distortion of the world through sin and the redemptive work and person of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

THE-641 Systematic Theology III

This course will examine in detail the doctrine of salvation (soteriology), the church (ecclesiology), the basic elements of pastoral theology (internal and external call to the ministry, ordination, ministry of the word and sacraments, church discipline and pastoral spiritual formation) and the four last things (death, judgment, heaven and hell).

Theology Seminars and Capstone Course

The M.A. in theological studies concludes with two theology seminars and a capstone course; these courses consist of 9 credit hours.

THE-710 Seminar

M.A. in theological studies students must choose two of the following seminar courses. These courses may require one or more prerequisites from the MATS basic core classes and theology specialization. The 710 theology seminars cover a range of theological topics, from important theologians to theological/social topics, both ancient and modern.


A study of his life and teachings in the context of his historical, ecclesiastical, philosophical and theological environment. Focus on the Confessions, the City of God, or the Pelagian controversy.


A study of his life and teachings in the context of German liberalism, Kierkegaard and the world wars. Focus upon the contribution and dangers of either Volume I, II or IV of the Church Dogmatics.


A study of the Institutes of the Christian Religion in the context of his commentaries, sermons and late medieval and reformation theology.

Contemporary Issues in Theology and Ministry 

This course examines various contemporary doctrinal and practical controversies from biblical, historical, philosophical, systematic, and ministerial perspectives.

Capstone Course

THE-689 Biblical, Theological and Historical Foundations of Justice

This course will aid students in constructing and enacting a theology of public justice by integrating sound biblical exegesis, theology that is grounded in the historic Christian tradition, and appropriating insights from contemporary justice movements.

Program Learning Outcomes

Through an emphasis on developing historical and theological competencies, our Master of Arts in theological studies curriculum and course requirements are designed to enable you to achieve three learning outcomes.

Understanding of Historical Theology

Students will describe the historical development of the church’s theology, particularly how it has been shaped by the intersection of Scripture, tradition and culture.

Analytical Skills

Students will critically assess the writings, systems, contributions and limitations of central theologians of the church throughout history.

Accurate Articulation of Theology

Students will articulate one’s own theology with clarity, concision and precision, explaining how it supplies a necessary foundation for fruitful life and ministry.

Want to learn more about GRTS?

When I listened to God’s calling, I realized I was capable of more than I thought.

Keoni Hughes (’17)


Faculty at GRTS are devoted to sound interpretation of Scripture and responsible theological inquiry. They seek to challenge you as a student and motivate you as a Christ-follower. All of our faculty have extensive experience in their field.

Related Programs

GRTS has a variety of graduate programs designed to prepare you for a life of dedicated ministry. Take a look at some of the other programs we offer.

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