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, Biblical and Theological Studies in the Eurasian Context (Kyiv extension only), 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). Additionally, applicants should have completed an accredited course in Old Testament survey and in New Testament survey prior to matriculation. If the prerequisite courses are not completed prior to matriculation, the student is required to take TTBE 519 and TTBE 520 as elective credits during their program.

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 specialization, contact Graduate Admissions. Due to the limited enrollment in this specialization, 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 49 credits as outlined in the curriculum requirements below. The rate of progress for many students is 12–13 credits per semester, allowing the program to be completed in two years.
  2. Students without previous courses in Old Testament Survey and New Testament Survey must take TTBE 519 and TTBE 520, which are not for credit unless taken in place of elective credits.
  3. Complete the online introduction to theological research methodologies by the end of the second semester.
  4. Submit an acceptable capstone project, as determined by the department of specialization. Students in Spiritual Formation specialization 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 specializations will receive specific directions about their capstone project from their respective departments.
  5. 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.
  6. Obtain a 3.0 average with no grade below a "C-" in all courses to be credited toward graduation.
  7. Complete the entire program in no more than five years.
  8. 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).

Specialization Requirements

Program Structure

The academic programs leading to the degree Master of Arts with specializations in Bible Exposition, Biblical and Theological Studies/Diversified, Biblical and Theological Studies in the Eurasian Context, New Testament, Old Testament, Philosophy, Spiritual Formation, and Theology are comprised of 49 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.

Students may complete the specializations in Bible Exposition, New Testament, and Theology online, on-campus, or by a combination of those two modalities.

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 Requirements

Prerequisite Courses
Survey of Genesis–Malachi 1
Survey of Matthew–Revelation 1
Program Courses
The following program courses apply to all Talbot Master of Arts specializations except for the Biblical and Theological Studies in the Eurasian Context (Kyiv Extension), and Spiritual Formation specializations. The program courses for these specializations are listed under each specialization.
TTBE 517Hermeneutics and Bible Study Methods3
TTSF 501Introduction to Spiritual Theology and Formation3
TTSF 503Personal Foundations for Spiritual Formation3
TTSF 504Spiritual Formation, Vocation, and the Disciplines1
TTSF 505Talbot Spiritual Direction I0
TTSF 506Talbot Spiritual Direction II0
TTTH 521Theology I: God, Scripture, Creation3
TTTH 522Theology II: Christ, Humanity, Sin, Salvation3
TTTH 623Theology III: Spirit, Church, Last Things3
Specialization and Elective Courses
Select a 30 credit specialization from the options below 230
Total Credits49
1

May be used to fulfill the specialization electives where available.

2

Specializations with elective options may take up to 6 graduate elective credits in other schools of Biola University with advisor's approval.

Specializations

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.
Specialization Courses
TTBE 530Elementary Principles of the Biblical Languages3
TTBE 745World of the Old Testament3
TTBE 780Teaching Scripture2
TTBE 790Bible Exposition Capstone1
TTNT 701The World of the New Testament3
Elective Courses
Bible Exposition elective courses covering OT6
Bible Exposition elective courses covering NT6
General elective courses (TTOT, NT, BE) 16
Total Credits30
1

Students may count TTBE 519 and TTBE 520 towards their elective courses. 

Biblical and Theological Studies/Diversified

As of Fall 2017, this specialization is in a teach out phase, no new students will be admitted at this time.

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.

Specialization Courses
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 Courses
Select elective courses from TTBE, CE, HT, NT, OT, PH, PT, TH (a maximium of 6 credits in TTPT or TTCE) 115
Total Credits30
1

Students may count TTBE 519 and TTBE 520 towards their elective courses. 

Biblical and Theological Studies in the Eurasian Context (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.

Prerequisite Courses
Survey of Genesis–Malachi
Survey of Matthew–Revelation
Program Courses
TTBE 517Hermeneutics and Bible Study Methods3
TTSF 501Introduction to Spiritual Theology and Formation3
TTSF 503Personal Foundations for Spiritual Formation3
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
Specialization Courses
TTBE 530Elementary Principles of the Biblical Languages3
TTBE 731Exposition of Old Testament Segments or Themes 12
TTBE 770The Life of Christ3
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
TTTH 790Kyiv Capstone Project1
Elective Courses
Select from the following: 27
Expositional Methodology in Daniel and Revelation
Old Testament Wisdom and Poetry
Educational Ministry in the Church
Apologetics
The Church and Society
Biblical Leadership and Management
Current Theological Issues
The Theology and Practice of Prayer
Cults in the Eurasian Context
Theological Systems
Co-Curricular Requirements
Participation in Spiritual Formation Labs (16 sessions). These discussion groups meet as an additional component of class time.
Total Credits51
1

 Should be taken as the theme of Central Prophetic Passages

2

Students may count TTBE 519 and TTBE 520 towards their elective courses.

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.
Specialization Courses
TTNT 501Beginning Greek I3
TTNT 502Beginning Greek II3
TTNT 503Introduction to Exegesis3
TTNT 604Exegesis in the Gospels3
TTNT 605Exegesis in the Epistles3
TTNT 610Readings in New Testament Greek2
TTNT 701The World of the New Testament 12
Elective Courses
New Testament Exegesis and Theology courses (at least one course in each category is required)8
General elective courses 23
Total Credits30
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.

2

Students may count TTBE 519 and TTBE 520 towards their elective courses. 

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 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.
Specialization Courses
TTOT 603Elements of Hebrew I3
TTOT 604Elements of Hebrew II3
TTOT 703Introduction to Hebrew Exegesis3
TTOT 720Studies in Old Testament Introduction3
TTOT 722Advanced Hebrew Reading 12
TTOT 745World of the Old Testament3
TTOT 799Old Testament Capstone (OT Capstone)1
Elective Courses
Old Testament elective courses 29
General elective courses 33
Total Credits30
1

Must be taken for 2 credits, may be taken for 3 credits with the remaining credit counting towards electives.

2

Students may count TTBE 519 towards their Old Testament elective courses.
Students must include one Semitic language course (TTOT 731 or TTOT 733) and one Old Testament Seminar (TTOT 791).

3

Students may count TTBE 520 towards their general elective courses. 

Philosophy

Learning Outcomes

The main purpose of this specialization 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 specialization 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.

These learning outcomes will be measured through the evaluation of a portfolio submitted by each student during the semester after which he or she will graduate from the M.A. Philosophy specialization. Details of the portfolio and how it will be evaluated can be found in the Talbot Philosophy Department office and will be sent to students during their first semester enrolled in the program.

Reduction and Transfer Guidelines for Philosophy Specialization

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 specialization.

Specialization Courses
TTPH 523Metaphysics I3
TTPH 544Epistemology I3
TTPH 566History and Normative Systems of Ethics3
TTPH 667Philosophical Anthropology and Philosophy of the Mind3
TTPH 684Philosophy of Religion3
TTPH 685Philosophical Theology3
Elective Courses
Philosophy elective courses12
Total Credits30

Spiritual Formation

Learning Outcomes

This specialization 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. specialization 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 specialization 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.
Program Courses
TTBE 519Survey of Genesis–Malachi3
TTBE 520Survey of Matthew–Revelation3
TTSF 517Hermeneutics and the Word in Spiritual Formation3
TTTH 521Theology I: God, Scripture, Creation3
TTTH 522Theology II: Christ, Humanity, Sin, Salvation3
TTTH 623Theology III: Spirit, Church, Last Things3
Specialization Courses
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 642Spiritual Disciplines Seminar2
TTSF 645Christian Virtue and the Spiritual Disciplines3
TTSF 672Personal Retreat and Formation 23
TTSF 701Spiritual Formation Seminar2
TTSF 740Spiritual Formation Project/Thesis3
Co-Curricular Components 3
Didactic Therapy
Faculty-Student Retreats
Personal Spiritual Direction
Personal Retreat and Formation
Total Credits49
1

TTSF 585 to be taken every term of enrollment.

2

TTSF 672 should be taken twice, once for 2 credits and again for 1 credit, for a total of 3 credits.

3

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.

Specialization Courses
TTHT 505Patristic and Medieval Theology3
TTHT 506Reformation and Modern Theology3
TTTH 709Contemporary Theology3
TTTH 765Theology Capstone Seminar3
Select one of the following:3
Apologetics
Cults of America
World Religions and Cults
Select either the Greek or Non-Greek option below15
Greek Option
TTNT 501Beginning Greek I3
TTNT 502Beginning Greek II3
TTNT 503Introduction to Exegesis3
General elective courses 16
Non-Greek Option
TTBE 530Elementary Principles of the Biblical Languages3
Elective courses from TTBE, NT, OT3
General elective courses 19
Total Credits30
1

 Students may count TTBE 519 and TTBE 520 towards their elective courses.