Master of Arts in Religion

Find out if a Master of Arts in Religion program is right for you. Read about school and degree options, opportunities for online study and career possibilities here. Schools offering Christian Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Is a Master of Arts in Religion the Same as a Master of Divinity in Religion?

It depends on the school you attend. Sometimes these two degrees can be very similar, but usually you would pursue a Master of Divinity if you wanted to seek pastoral ordination after earning your degree. Most Master of Arts programs take about two years to complete, while most Master of Divinity programs take about three years to complete.

Degree Duration Typically two to three years (two for a Master of Arts and three for a Master of Divinity)
Degree Availability Offered at both public and private schools
Common Courses Survey of the Old Testament, Bible study and research methods, philosophy of religion, sociology and religion, the concept of evil
Learning Environments Traditional classroom and distance learning options are available
Possible Careers Pastor, teacher, museum worker, art gallery attendant, church worker

Does It Matter What Type of School I Attend?

Many master's degree programs in religion are Christian-based programs at private universities or seminaries. These programs generally focus on the Christian Bible in their curriculum. There are also master's degree programs that take a more secular approach to religious studies. These programs are often taught at public universities where you would study the philosophy of religion and various religions and practices throughout the world.

What Courses Will I Take?

Your courses will vary based on the type of program you participate in. If your program is Christian-based and concentrates on the Bible, you may take courses in the following:

  • Bible study and research methods
  • The Church
  • Survey of Matthew through Revelation
  • Survey of the Old Testament

If you participate in a program that approaches religious studies from a secular perspective, you may take courses that cover the topics listed below:

  • Sociology and religion
  • Rituals, symbols and myths
  • The concept of evil
  • Philosophy of religion
  • Religion from an anthropological perspective

Can I Complete a Program at Home?

You can find quite a few master's degree programs in religion that you can complete entirely online or through distance learning. Online programs use course websites where you can meet online with your instructor for lectures, discussions and questions. You would submit your work via e-mail or upload it to the course website. Some distance education programs use the mail to send you videos, CDs and other learning materials for you to use at home.

What Jobs Can I Get With My Master's Degree?

You can go on to complete a Ph.D. in religion or seek pastoral ordination. Some religious denominations will require a Master of Divinity for ordination, so make sure to look into the requirements before beginning your program. You could also teach religion at the high school level or at some colleges. You can work for a church in a non-pastoral role. If you concentrate on the arts in your curriculum, you may be able to work for a museum or an art gallery.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Master

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  • University of Notre Dame

    Campus Locations:

    • Indiana: Notre Dame
  • Boston University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Boston
  • Northwestern University

    Campus Locations:

    • Illinois: Evanston
  • University of Connecticut

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: Storrs
  • University of Dayton

    Campus Locations:

    • Ohio: Dayton
  • West Chester University of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: West Chester
  • Howard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Columbia (D.C.): Washington