Master of Arts (Talbot)

Director: Alan Hultberg, Ph.D.

Mission

The mission of the Master of Arts is to produce biblically, theologically, and spiritually discerning Christian thinkers who can serve the body of Christ in lay, parachurch or academic ministries. The Master of Arts program provides both a general biblical, theological, and spiritual foundation for reflection and a specialized focus on a discipline crucial to fulfilling Talbot's mission and from which students can serve or go on for advanced study. These disciplines include Bible Exposition, Biblical and Theological Studies/Diversified, New Testament, Old Testament, Philosophy, Spiritual Formation, and Theology.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Master of Arts, students will be able to:

  1. Integrate a sound understanding of Scripture with the contents of their respective emphasized disciplines (ULO 3).
  2. Explain the major doctrines of Christianity, including their biblical basis, historical development, and contemporary relevance, and assess non-evangelical doctrines from an evangelical perspective (ULO 1).
  3.  
    1. Explain the basic elements of Spiritual Theology, namely, the nature, process, and practices of spiritual growth (ULO 1);
    2. demonstrate how knowledge of self integrates with knowledge of God in one's own life (ULO 2);
    3. demonstrate relational skills that develop community (ULO 3);
    4. articulate how the biblical teaching on vocation shapes one's own understanding of vocation and gainful employment (ULO 1, 2, 3).
  4. Perform and report research in their respective disciplines at a level sufficient to begin a doctoral program (ULO 3).

Each Program Learning Outcome (PLO) listed above references at least one of the University Learning Outcomes (ULO 1, 2, 3), which may be found in the General Information section of this catalog.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must possess a Bachelor of Arts degree or its academic equivalent from an accredited college with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).

All applicants must submit a written statement outlining their vocational objectives and how the degree might relate to those objectives.

For special admissions deadlines and requirements involved in the Spiritual Formation concentration, contact Graduate Admissions. Due to the limited enrollment in this concentration, all applicants will be personally interviewed.

Academic Probation

Students are placed on academic probation if their grade point average for any semester falls below 3.0 and will remain on probation as long as the single semester or cumulative grade point average remains below 3.0. Probation students are granted one semester in which to bring their academic work up to the required level (3.0) for continuance in the seminary. A student cannot graduate while on probation.

Graduation Requirements

  1. Satisfactorily complete 64–66 semester credits as outlined in the curriculum requirements below. The rate of progress for many students is 11–12 credits per semester, allowing the program to be completed in three years.
  2. Submit an acceptable capstone project, as determined by the department of concentration. Students in Spiritual Formation concentration submit an acceptable Spiritual Formation Master's Project-Thesis, which includes 3 credits for writing and one credit for personal growth exploration. The Project-Thesis must involve both a theoretical and practical-experiential dimension in consultation with thesis advisor. Students in other MA concentrations will receive specific directions about their capstone project from their respective departments.
  3. At least 24 of the total credits required for the degree program must be completed in residency at Biola. Advanced Standing, Reduction and transfer credit are not considered residency credits.
  4. Obtain a 3.0 average with no grade below a "C-" in all courses to be credited toward graduation.
  5. Complete the entire program in no more than five years.
  6. Meet with a Graduate Graduation Counselor in the Office of the Registrar one year prior to graduation to declare intent to graduate. (See Graduate Graduation Check description in Admission, Enrollment and Graduation Requirements section).

Concentration Requirements

Program Structure

The academic programs leading to the degree Master of Arts with concentrations in Bible Exposition, Biblical and Theological Studies/Diversified, New Testament, Old Testament, Philosophy, Spiritual Formation, and Theology are comprised of 64–66 credits structured in common to include:

  1. Biblical and theological foundations.
  2. Spiritual Formation Focus (SFF).
  3. Academic specialization in one of four disciplines requiring biblical language studies, or general studies in which biblical languages are not required.
  4. Additional elective courses determined by the student in consultation with the advisor.

Reduction

Applicants who have taken undergraduate courses in biblical or theological studies may request a program reduction based on collegiate work. See Talbot Admissions Requirements for details. Note: if master's level courses are reduced based on undergraduate coursework, some Ph.D. programs may require additional graduate courses in order to meet doctoral program requirements.

Curriculum (64 Credits)

Core Requirements
The following are the core requirements for all Talbot Master of Arts Concentrations except the Spiritual Formation Concentration and Biblical and Theological Studies/Diversified (Kyiv Extension) Concentration. The core requirements for these concentrations are listed separately.
TTBE 517Hermeneutics and Bible Study Methods3
TTBE 519Survey of Genesis–Malachi3
TTBE 520Survey of Matthew–Revelation3
TTHT 514Historical Theology Survey3
TTSF 501Introduction to Spiritual Theology and Formation3
TTSF 503Personal Foundations for Spiritual Formation3
TTSF 504Spiritual Formation, Vocation, and the Disciplines0
TTSF 505Talbot Spiritual Direction I0
TTSF 506Talbot Spiritual Direction II0
TTSS 510Theological Research Methodologies1
TTTH 511Theology I - Introduction: Revelation and Nature of God3
TTTH 512Theology II - Works of God, Angels, Man and Sin3
TTTH 613Theology III - Christ, Salvation and the Spirit3
TTTH 614Theology IV - The Church and Last Things3
Concentration/Elective Requirements
Select 33 credits in a concentration or electives from the lists below 133
Total Credits64
1

Up to 6 graduate elective credits may be taken in other schools of Biola University with advisor's approval.

Concentrations with Curriculum

Bible Exposition

Learning Outcomes

As a result of this program, the student will:

  1. Be able to identify the basic contents, backgrounds, and purpose of each book of the Old and New Testaments.
  2. Be able to explain the general history and cultures relevant to the study of the Old and New Testament.
  3. Be able to interpret and apply passages of the Old and New Testaments through use of the grammatical-historical method, including understanding the contribution of genre to the passage‚ ancient meaning and modern significance.
Concentration-Specific Requirements
TTNT 501Beginning Greek I2
TTNT 502Beginning Greek II2
TTNT 503Introduction to Exegesis3
TTNT 604Exegesis in the Gospels3
TTNT 605Exegesis in the Epistles3
TTOT 603Elements of Hebrew I3
TTOT 604Elements of Hebrew II3
Elective Requirements
Bible Exposition electives 110
General electives4
Total Credits33
1

One 2-credit Old Testament course and one 2-credit New Testament course must be taken from the list below.  These courses may be taken for 2 or 3 credits. If taken for 3 credits the additional credit will count toward the BE elective requirement.

Old Testament

New Testament

Biblical and Theological Studies/Diversified

Learning Outcomes

As a result of this program, the student will:

  1. Be able to research either the Old Testament or the New Testament using exegetical commentaries and certain tools designed for those with limited knowledge of Greek and Hebrew.

  2. Be able to dialog with those who are outside of a biblically centered faith confidently and effectively, applying the knowledge of biblical doctrine to refute errors and to utilize practical techniques of dialog with the intent to reach those who "seek to know the reason for the hope that lies within you."

  3. Be able to articulate a clear theology/philosophy of educational ministry.

  4. Have an understanding and appreciation for the teaching/learning process, utilizing a broad range of ministry methods and resources in educational ministry.

  5. Be able to plan, administrate, and evaluate an effective educational ministry program at a basic level.

Concentration-Specific Requirements
TTBE 530Elementary Principles of the Biblical Languages3
TTCE 600Educational Ministry in the Church3
TTPT 510Evangelism and Follow-Up3
TTPT 703The Church and Society3
Select one of the following:3
World Religions
Cults of America
Apologetics
Elective Requirements
Specialized Electives: 14 credits selected from TTBE, CE, HT, NT, OT, PH, PT, TH courses. A maximium of 6 credits in TTPT or TTCE14
General Electives4
Total Credits33

Biblical and Theological Studies/Diversified (Kyiv Extension)

Learning Outcomes

As a result of this program, students will:

  1. Be able to recall the key contents of the Old and New Testaments and will identify important historical and cultural background information relevant to the study of the Old and New Testaments.
  2. Be able to exegete and apply a biblical text through the application of historical-grammatical hermeneutics.
  3. Be able to articulate the major elements of orthodox Christian theology, including biblical foundations, and will be able to apply this theology to an issue in the Eurasian church context.
  4. Be able to explain the theory of "the sanctification gap"1 and will reflect upon the calling(s) of God in their lives.
1

For the purposes of assessment, "sanctification gap" is defined as the perceived gap between the goal of santification and one's present spiritual life.

Core Requirements
TTSF 501Introduction to Spiritual Theology and Formation3
TTSF 503Personal Foundations for Spiritual Formation3
TTSS 510Theological Research Methodologies1
TTTH 511Theology I - Introduction: Revelation and Nature of God3
TTTH 512Theology II - Works of God, Angels, Man and Sin3
TTTH 613Theology III - Christ, Salvation and the Spirit3
TTTH 614Theology IV - The Church and Last Things3
Concentration Specific Requirements
TTBE 530Elementary Principles of the Biblical Languages3
TTBE 602Genesis2
TTBE 726Expositional Methodology in Daniel and Revelation3
TTBE 731Exposition of Old Testament Segments or Themes 12
TTBE 741Issues in Biblical Exposition 22
TTCE 600Educational Ministry in the Church3
TTHT 505Patristic and Medieval Theology3
TTHT 506Reformation and Modern Theology3
TTNT 701The World of the New Testament2
TTNT 791New Testament Seminar2
TTOT 745World of the Old Testament2
TTOT 791Old Testament Seminar2
TTPH 602Apologetics3
TTPT 703The Church and Society3
TTPT 730Biblical Leadership and Management3
TTTH 712Current Theological Issues2
TTTH 720The Theology and Practice of Prayer2
TTTH 727Cults in the Eurasian Context2
TTTH 728Theological Systems2
TTTH 790Kyiv Capstone Project1
Elective Requirements
There are no available elective credits in this concentration
Co-Curricular Requirements
Participation in Spiritual Formation Labs (16 sessions). These discussion groups meet as an additional component of class time
Total Credits66
1

 Should be taken as the theme of Central Prophetic Passages

2

 Should be taken as the theme of Hermeneutical Principles

New Testament

Learning Outcomes

As a result of this program, the student will:

  1. Have a developing appreciation of the New Testament through application of skills in the areas of Greek language, exegesis, the historical-cultural setting of the New Testament, and biblical theology.
  2. Have a developing appreciation for the value of studying New Testament Greek for a better understanding of God's written word. It is expected that the graduate will use an exegetical methodology for the New Testament on a regular basis throughout his or her lifetime.
  3. Personal study and teaching of the New Testament will also be within the framework of:
    1. Accurate interpretation of the New Testament in its various genres, especially the Gospels and the Epistles.
    2. The life and ministry of Jesus, the apostles, and the early church within the context of the culture of first-century Judaism and the Greco-Roman world.
  4. Be able to articulate key critical issues about the New Testament and give perspective on a reasonable and informed solution.
Concentration-Specific Requirements
TTNT 501Beginning Greek I2
TTNT 502Beginning Greek II2
TTNT 503Introduction to Exegesis3
TTNT 604Exegesis in the Gospels3
TTNT 605Exegesis in the Epistles3
TTNT 701The World of the New Testament 12-3
TTOT 603Elements of Hebrew I3
TTOT 604Elements of Hebrew II3
Elective Requirements
New Testament electives8
General electives4
Total Credits33
1

TTNT 701 should be taken for a minimum of 2 credits.  If taken for 3 credits, the third credit may count toward the required number of New Testament electives (see Elective Requirements). Must be taken within the final 20 credits of the program.

Old Testament

Learning Outcomes

As a result of this program, the student will:

  1. Have a developing appreciation of the Old Testament through application of skills in the areas of Hebrew language, exegesis, and the historical-cultural setting of the Old Testament.
  2. Have a developing appreciation for the value of studying Old Testament Hebrew for a better understanding of God’s written word. It is expected that the graduate will use an exegetical methodology for the Old Testament on a regular basis throughout his or her lifetime.
  3. Be able to research the Old Testament using the exegetical tools of Hebrew language and archaeological and historical studies. It is expected that the insights into the biblical text will be more original and better supported as a result of the exegetical method.
  4. Be able to research the New Testament using the exegetical tools associated with the Greek language. It is expected that the insights into the biblical text will be more original and better supported as a result of the exegetical method.
  5. Be able to help others understand the textual history, historical accuracy, and key critical issues of the Old Testament in light of the latest findings and based on a thoroughly biblical worldview.
Concentration-Specific Requirements
TTNT 501Beginning Greek I2
TTNT 502Beginning Greek II2
TTNT 503Introduction to Exegesis3
TTOT 603Elements of Hebrew I3
TTOT 604Elements of Hebrew II3
TTOT 705Exegesis in Genesis and Selected Passages3
TTOT 745World of the Old Testament 13
Elective Requirements
General electives3
Old Testament electives 211
Total Credits33
1

TTOT 745 should be taken for a minimum of 2 credits. If taken for 3 credits, the third credit may count toward the required number of Old Testament electives (see Elective Requirements).

2

Three of these credits must be OT exegesis.

Philosophy

Learning Outcomes

The main purpose of this concentration is to help the student develop the skills to do philosophy from a Christian worldview. The attitudes and character traits of a Christian philosopher will be fostered by departmental activities, professional modeling, and teaching techniques. Skills necessary for the craft of philosophy will be developed by equipping the student to think critically, conduct high-level philosophical research, and interact with the broader philosophical community. The program is aimed at developing the ability to do philosophy in various ministry programs, such as parachurch and local church apologetics as well as preparing the student for further graduate work in fields such as philosophy, ethics, religious studies, law, political science, and theology.

Collectively, graduates of our program should be providing visionary leadership, articulating a Christian worldview in various cultural contexts—at Christian colleges, in seminaries, and in parachurch ministries, for example—and should be penetrating the secular university and venues of popular culture, such as art, media, and music. Therefore, many graduates will qualify for admission to competitive doctoral programs in philosophy, ethics, religious studies, and other fields.

As a result of this program, the student will achieve the following learning outcomes (in addition to the core M.A. learning outcomes):

  1. Graduates will be able to explain the importance of sustaining a vibrant intellectual life as part of an ongoing commitment to following Christ.
  2. Graduates will be able to summarize and critique, in written form, professional philosophical literature published in specialized philosophical journals and with academic presses, and will be able to relate the material in professional philosophical literature to various aspects of a Christian worldview, for use either in a professional academic setting, in the local church, or through engagement with popular culture.
  3. With respect to the history or current state of discipline, graduates will be able to articulate:
    1. three distinct normative ethical theories, namely utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics, and the fundamental disagreements underlying disputes about beginning- and end-of-life ethics;
    2. three theories of properties (realism, nominalism, and trope theory), the distinction between libertarian and compatibilist theories of free will, and the distinctions among substance dualism, property dualism, and physicalism;
    3. the basic contours of a correspondence theory of truth and a foundationalist theory of the structure of knowledge;
    4. two classical arguments for the existence of God, and the basic contours of the challenges to Christianity from the coherence of the Incarnation and the Trinity, from God's foreknowledge, and from evil.

These learning outcomes will be measured through the evaluation of a portfolio submitted by and an oral exam taken by each student during the semester after which he or she will graduate from the M.A. Philosophy program. Details of the portfolio, oral exams, and how they will be evaluated can be found in the Talbot Philosophy Department office, and details about these requirements will be sent to students during their first semester enrolled in the program.

Reduction and Transfer Guidelines for Philosophy Concentration

Students with satisfactory undergraduate parallel content in philosophy will be considered for course reduction. All requests for course reduction are subject to departmental approval on a case by case basis. Students seeking course reduction must have earned at least a "B" grade.

Students may only transfer courses that are parallel in content and taken from accredited graduate schools and seminaries. Request for transfer of courses should be submitted to the Office of the Registrar with prior approval from the department. Students must complete in residence a minimum of 24 credits in the Philosophy concentration.

Concentration-Specific Requirements
TTPH 523Metaphysics I3
TTPH 544Epistemology I3
TTPH 547The Theology and Philosophy of Science3
TTPH 566History and Normative Systems of Ethics3
TTPH 624Ethical Issues I3
TTPH 667Philosophical Anthropology and Philosophy of the Mind3
TTPH 684Philosophy of Religion3
TTPH 685Philosophical Theology3
Elective Requirements
Philosophy electives6
General electives3
Total Credits33

Spiritual Formation

Learning Outcomes

This concentration is designed as a personal growth and academic degree. It is an intensive, integrative program within the Institute for Spiritual Formation at Talbot School of Theology, designed to equip men and women for the ministry of discipleship and spiritual formation in general, in the local church, and for further academic training in spiritual formation. The program is designed entirely around promoting growth in the believer's inner life of faith and prayer with God in the context of a shared community and developed knowledge-base in the Word.

Because the program is experiential and theoretical in nature with respect to spiritual growth and the dynamic processes involved, the M.A. Concentration in Spiritual Formation draws upon an interdisciplinary faculty from both Talbot and Rosemead School of Psychology.

It includes both in-depth theoretical and integrative coursework, employing the creation disciplines such as theology, philosophy, psychology and education as well as experiential-relational soul work in classes and co-curricular requirements to aid in understanding the spiritual life mentoring.

Note also that this more academic M.A. with a concentration in Spiritual Formation is to be distinguished from the more professional M.A. in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care, the latter being fashioned more along the lines of an Apprentice Training Model which includes training, supervision and service components in spiritual direction and mentoring.

As a result of this program, students will:

  1. Develop the PLOs having to do with biblical integration (#1) and spiritual formation (#3) to a higher level of mastery.
Core Requirements
TTBE 519Survey of Genesis–Malachi3
TTBE 520Survey of Matthew–Revelation3
TTSS 510Theological Research Methodologies1
TTTH 511Theology I - Introduction: Revelation and Nature of God3
TTTH 512Theology II - Works of God, Angels, Man and Sin3
TTTH 613Theology III - Christ, Salvation and the Spirit3
TTTH 614Theology IV - The Church and Last Things3
Concentration-Specific Requirements
TTSF 517Hermeneutics and the Word in Spiritual Formation3
TTSF 521Introduction to Christian Spirituality and Prayer3
TTSF 524History and Theory of Christian Soul Care and Direction3
TTSF 531History and Traditions of Christian Spirituality3
TTSF 532Developmental Spirituality and Contemplative Prayer3
TTSF 543Personal Foundations of Spirituality and Retreat3
TTSF 544Personality Development and Psychopathology3
TTSF 585Personal Spiritual Direction 10
TTSF 621Spiritual Formation and Theology Seminar3
TTSF 642Spiritual Disciplines Seminar3
TTSF 645Christian Virtue and the Spiritual Disciplines3
TTSF 672Personal Retreat and Formation 24
TTSF 701Spiritual Formation Seminar 33
TTSF 740Spiritual Formation Project/Thesis4
Elective Requirements
General electives6
Co-Curricular Requirements 4
Didactic Therapy
Faculty-Student Retreats
Personal Spiritual Direction
Personal Retreat and Formation
Total Credits66
1

TTSF 585 to be taken every term of enrollment.

2

TTSF 672 should be taken twice for 2 credits each, for a total of 4 credits.

3

TTSF 701 should be taken in Interterm.

4

See Institute for Spiritual Formation section for full description.

Theology

Learning Outcomes

As a result of this program, the student will be able to explain the major doctrines of Christianity, including their biblical basis, historical development, and contemporary relevance, and assess non-evangelical doctrines from an evangelical perspective.

Greek Option

Concentration-Specific Requirements
TTNT 501Beginning Greek I2
TTNT 502Beginning Greek II2
TTNT 503Introduction to Exegesis3
TTHT 726Cults of America3
or TTTH 733 World Religions and Cults
TTPH 602Apologetics3
TTTH 709Contemporary Theology3
TTTH 765Theology Capstone Seminar3
Elective Requirements
Theology electives selected from TTTH, PM and HT courses.6
Theology and related electives selected from TTBE, NT, OT, PH, TH, PM, and HT courses.5
General electives selected from any Talbot department.3
Total Credits33

Non-Greek Option

Concentration-Specific Requirements
TTBE 530Elementary Principles of the Biblical Languages3
TTHT 726Cults of America3
or TTTH 733 World Religions and Cults
TTPH 602Apologetics3
TTTH 709Contemporary Theology3
TTTH 765Theology Capstone Seminar3
Elective Requirements
Theology electives selected from TTTH, PM and HT courses.12
Theology and related electives selected from TTBE, NT, OT, PH, TH, PM and HT courses.3
General electives selected from any Talbot department.3
Total Credits33