Master of Arts (Religion)

The Master of Arts (Religion) (MAR) at Memphis Theological Seminary is designed for persons who want to prepare for further graduate study or acquire a general theological education not oriented toward ministry.

Become a Student

Learn how you can become a student at MTS by requesting information from the Admissions Department.


The Master of Arts (Religion) (MAR) at Memphis Theological Seminary is designed for persons who want to prepare for further graduate study or acquire a general theological education not oriented toward ministry.

The Master of Arts (Religion) degree curriculum objectives:

1) Students will be able to understand, appreciate, and use a critical approach to biblical studies.

2) Students will be able to understand the historical development of Christian doctrine and to incorporate its ongoing significance for the life of faith.

3) Students will gain insight into the way religion and cultural context shape one another.

4) Students will complete a thesis that demonstrates the development of a methodology, bibliography, and the use of critical research skills.

5) Students will complete a thesis that explores in depth a theological topic.


Core Courses

Introduction to Old Testament 3
Introduction to New Testament 3
Christian Heritage I 3
Christian Heritage II 3
Introduction to Christian Ethics 3
Total Core Credits: 12


Students must take 15 credit hours of electives, 9 of which must be in the area of which they seek to focus their thesis. 15
Integrative Seminar and Thesis
Students must complete an integrative seminar during the second semester of coursework that will prepare them for completing their thesis. The Integrative Seminar will assist students in developing a methodology, bibliography, and theoretical foundation for their thesis. Students shall receive 3 credit hours for completing the Integrative Seminar and an additional 3 credit hours upon completion of the thesis.

Total Credit Hours: 36

Master of Arts (Religion) students are required to earn 6 Theological Colloquia credits. 



The Thesis shall be between 50 and 75 pages, plus bibliography, and written in compliance with the current version of the MLA Handbook. If the thesis is in an area of biblical study, the student must take 6 hours in the appropriate biblical language. In developing a thesis topic, students must take 9 hours of courses in the area in which they are writing the thesis.


The VPAA/Dean will assign thesis advisors based on recommendations of the Integrative Seminar professor and in consultation with the student and faculty. Readers will be approved by the VPAA/Dean in consultation with the student and faculty members.


The final draft of the thesis will be submitted to the reader no later than 45 days prior to the end of the semester. Upon receipt of the final draft, the date of the oral defense will be scheduled. Two corrected copies of the thesis will be submitted to the MTS library for binding no later than one week prior to graduation.


“After several years of discerning God’s call for my life, I finally made ​​the decision to start seminary in September 2009. I knew that I was not going to be the traditional student at the seminary, since it was clear that I was not being called to be a pastor of a local church. My calling as I understood it was more a vocation to work within the community outside of our churches.
Memphis Theological Seminary gave me the opportunity I was looking for to explore different areas of ministry. One of the greatest blessings was sharing with students from different backgrounds and ministries. I was greatly enriched for my future ministry by the professors who left their prints and legacies in me. I believe that education makes a difference in any person called by God to serve in the local church or outside in the community.”

Francia Ortiz

Master of Arts (Religion) - 2013 Graduate


Memphis Theological Seminary now offers a Night Track for our Master’s degree programs. The program makes it possible for a working adult to obtain their MDiv, MACM, or MAR while still maintaining their full- time job. Classes are offered Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings from 6-9 pm. A full time student may complete the MDiv in 4 years and the MACM and MAR may be completed in 3 years. Learn how you can become a student.

Rev. Felecia LaVant

Rev. Felecia LaVant

Admissions Associate

Felecia completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology at Fisk University in 1982, and MDiv at Memphis Theological Seminary in 2014. She serves as an Associate Minister and the Director of Christian Education at Central Baptist Church, Inc. Felecia also volunteers with Manna House, a place of hospitality in the Catholic Worker Tradition. She is the proud mother of two adult daughters, Andraea and Alexandria.

Contact Felecia:

Rev. Byron Forester

Rev. Byron Forester

Admissions Associate

Byron is a graduate of Bethel University (1974) and of Memphis Theological Seminary (2007). He serves as pastor of Hopewell Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Benton Co. MS and as Coordinator of Ministries for West Tennessee Presbytery. He participates and serves in several ministries to people who are unsheltered. Byron and his wife, Michelle Brown have three daughters. They live five blocks from MTS.

Contact Byron: