Masters Degrees in Theology/Religion

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Michael, Feb 11, 2001.

  1. Michael

    Michael Member

    Hello; I'm new here. I am interested in getting a Master's degree in theology or religion.

    Any recommendations?
  2. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member


    At one time, I posted a less-than-comprehensive (but fairly decent) list of accredited/recognized distance learning programs in philosophy and religion. You can find it here:

    It's over a year old, and many new options have come about since then, but it might be a useful start. If you're looking for something very specific (e.g. a Th.M. in church history or an M.A. in religion with a most comparative bent), let me know and I might know of other workable options.

    Other resources include Walston's Guide to Christian Distance Learning, 4th edition (Persuasion Press) and Baker's Guide to Christian Distance Education (Baker). If you're open to foreign and/or unaccredited and/or TRACS-accredited programs, Walston's Guide is the better bet; if you'd like to stick to U.S.-based programs that are accredited by either a regional agency or the DETC, Baker's is a better bet.

    I'd avoid unaccredited programs in general, even in this field, if there's a chance that you might be using them in any sort of professional setting. There are just so many accredited/equivalent options out there these days, especially in the U.K., South Africa, and Australia.

    Good luck!


  3. Michael

    Michael Member


    Thank you very much for the information. I had done some research on this, and I had about decided on Liberty. The cost of their program is very reasonable compared to other U.S. programs.

    I went to the Potchefstroom U. web site, and they now require 3 months residency for the Masters and 6 months for the doctorate; I couldn't meet that, but their programs surely are interesting and the prices are amazingly reasonable--very inexpensive, compared to U.S. prices.

    I think I like UNISA's programs the best, but I'm unclear as to their prerequisites for admission, as to degrees already earned. If I got a MAR from Liberty, would that degree get me into a Ph.D or Th.D program at Univ. of South Africa? What about a doctoral program in the U.S.? Or would I need more than just the MAR?

    I couldn't get the U. of Wales website to come in, but I'll keep trying; I'm very interested to read more about their degrees/programs.

    You mentioned that Australian schools might be an option; do you have any specific schools in mind?

    Tom, I appreciate very much your help and any answers you can give to my questions.


  4. Guest

    Guest Guest


    Potchefstroom University offers degrees through one of its accredited schools, Greenwich School of Theology in England. All degrees are completed entirely through distance learning. All course work is completed through Greenwich, examined and approved by promoters from both Greenwich and Potchefstroom, with the degree being awarded by Potchefstroom.

    The Ph.D. degree is a research degree, which requires an 80,000 word thesis, with correspondence conducted via e-mail, fax, phone, etc., as the student works under the close supervision of a promoter and co-promoter (One from GST, One from Potch.) Admission into the doctoral program requires a master's degree in the same field one is researching for the doctoral thesis.

    The Potch/GST program offers the BA, Th.B, MA, M.Th., Ph.D., Th.D., and D.Phil. in religious/theological studies.

    Hope this is informative.

  5. Michael

    Michael Member


    Thanks for the information!
  6. mattdennis

    mattdennis New Member


    I just started an MA program at the U. of Wales, Lampeter. Keep trying their Web site--it occasionally goes down (as does their e-mail server) for a couple of days at a time, but eventually comes back. Fortunately, their academic program appears to be much more solid than their info. systems infrastructure!


  7. Michael

    Michael Member


    Is the MA you're enrolled in a research degree? What field are you studying--theology, religion, church history?

    How much does the MA cost? Are you getting any kind of financial aid?

    Hope I haven't bombarded you with too many questions; thanks for your response.

  8. mattdennis

    mattdennis New Member


    First of all, I'm sorry for taking so long to respond...I've been buried with stuff at work.

    Actually, I'm in what is called a "taught Masters" program, rather than a "research" program. What this means is that I actually take six courses ("modules"), each of which consists of a huge amount of reading and an essay of approximately 5,000 words. Once these are done, I will work on my 20,000-word "dissertation" ("thesis" is the doctoral work in the U.K.). The module material is of a high quality, but requires more self-motivation and initiative (in asking questions, for example) than the U.S. DL equivalent (from my experience, that is). Most successful MA students at Lampeter then progress into a PhD program.

    My MA program is in "Death and Immortality," one of the more interesting ones around--and quite pertinent to my involvement with our local hospice. However, there are a number of taught MA programs available--of course, one can also go the "research" Masters route. Information about my department and its programs is available at:

    The program costs 2,000 pounds per year (plus books) for the first two years, then 0 after that for up to a total of five years--my plan is to get the coursework out of the way in two years, then use a year or two for the dissertation. Fees can be paid by credit card. It is absolutely imperative that you have access to a good university/college library, including on-line journal access. A couple of used book search sites ( and have become my best friends, as they may be one's best bet for some of the assigned reading Also, is also a lifesaver, as it has available for immediate shipment volumes published in the U.K. that either never appear on U.S. sites, or are "backordered" forever.

    While they don't force it, the University strongly encourages a student to visit once per year (April, June, or September one-week sessions). I am making my first trek at the end of this month, and will be happy to fill anybody in on the particulars. Careful shopping on the internet got my round-trip ticket price from rather-remote Eureka, CA direct to Heathrow (via SFO) down to $580. Lampeter is the third-oldest university in England and Wales, but also is the only university in the U.K. not directly accessible by rail--National Express (the "coach" lines) has some good R/T prices right from Heathrow Terminal 3 to Lampeter. My wife and I look at this as a great travel opportunity, rather than a "forced" trip.

    My best source of information has been the department's postgraduate contact, Jayne Chaplin, who is also a very nice person--her mail address is: [email protected]

    If you have any additional questions, I'll try to answer them.


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