Master of Arts

  • home
  • Master of Arts

The Life of the Mind, the Passions of the Heart,
and the Master of Arts

The life of the mind is freely celebrated in Bethany’s master of arts (MA) program, because the mind, like the heart, is also a passionate organ. The work of MA students centers in an area of concentration that results in either a thesis or a portfolio on a topic of passionate academic interest. The MA program strives to foster growth of the whole person—spirit, mind, and body.

Bethany’s MA program consists of 42 credits (fourteen 3-credit-hour courses) and may be done as a residential student or through our distance education option via the MA Connections track.

Earning an MA from Bethany will prepare you for

  • PhD programs across the country, in preparation for careers in teaching and writing;
  • work with faith-based agencies or organizations, especially nonprofits;
  • personal, theological, and professional enrichment.

Program Objectives

The MA program is designed to prepare persons for theological reflection and research. This program provides general theological enrichment and serves as the basis for further graduate study in religion and for developing a theological perspective for a variety of vocations. This purpose informs the entire educational program and shapes the following educational objectives. It is not designed to prepare persons for ordained ministry in the Church of the Brethren.

Graduates from the MA program will

  1. interpret scripture, tradition, and theology;
  2. communicate faith and values with contextual awareness;
  3. integrate learning that is interdisciplinary, intercontextual, and imaginative across one’s program of study;
  4. demonstrate expertise in an area of concentration through coursework and a thesis or portfolio.

MA Areas of Concentration

Each student chooses one of the following areas of concentration that supports their thesis research or portfolio:

  • Biblical studies
  • Brethren studies
  • Historical studies
  • Peace studies
  • Theological studies

Recent MA thesis topics have included the following:

  • Brethren history, focusing on 1968 as a cultural case study
  • Peace studies
  • Theology
  • Biblical studies
  • Theopoetics
  • Ecotheology
  • An inclusive church
  • Feminist theology
  • The Underground Railroad in Wayne County, Indiana


For more information about a master of arts at Bethany, refer to the Bethany Academic Catalog.

Bethany Theological Seminary Announces New Faculty Member in Peace Studies

Dr. Margaret (Maggie) Elwell will join Bethany Theological Seminary this fall as Assistant Professor of Peace Studies. Chosen from an international search, Elwell comes to Bethany from the University of Maryland where she has been an assistant clinical professor in the University Honors program since 2019.    “I’m pleased to welcome Dr. Elwell to Bethany,” says … Continue reading “Bethany Theological Seminary Announces New Faculty Member in Peace Studies”

Seeking Racial Justice

Bethany Theological Seminary is continuing its multifaceted efforts to pursue racial justice. The foundation of this work is a framework created in 2019 which was designed to intentionally confront racial hierarchy, implicit bias, and systemic racism. This approach grew out of the Seminary’s Strategic Vision Implementation Plan goal “to promote cultural, racial, and theological diversity throughout … Continue reading “Seeking Racial Justice”

New May Intensive Course Links Visual Art and Christian Life

Bethany is introducing a new May Intensive course that will explore the spiritual nature of Modern and Contemporary works of visual art — some explicitly Christian, some not — found both in secular art galleries and in the church. The course will be taught by Dr. Joelle Hathaway, assistant professor of theological studies. May Intensive courses … Continue reading “New May Intensive Course Links Visual Art and Christian Life”