Western Theological Seminary

Master of Arts

Do you want to broaden your biblical and theological knowledge? The Master of Arts program will give you the tools to go deeper in your vocation of ministry or study.

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The Master of Arts (M.A.) is our most flexible degree program. Fully half of the 48 credits needed to earn this degree are electives. That means YOU decide what interests you and where you want to focus your learning.

The MA is designed to provide men and women with the resources for thoughtful and competent Christian leadership in a broad range of ministry settings.  It is grounded in integrated reflection on Scripture, systematic theology, and core Christian practices.

Elective credits may be  utilized to focus learning in your specific areas of biblical and theological interest.  As an example, students interested in studying the impact of ministry within increasingly secular city center areas may consider electives from the course curriculum offered through the WTS-Newbigin Distance Learning Master of Divinity program.  These courses, taught by faculty in San Francisco, focus on challenges and opportunities that Christians face in an increasingly globalized and urbanized world and the components of a missional ecclesiology for the city.  Course descriptions for these and all electives are available by opening the "Requirements" tab below or by reading through the Course Descriptions on this website.  

Courses are delivered through our acclaimed distance learning format and include hybrid and fully on-line offerings. For those who prefer to take most courses on campus, in residence options may also be available.

The Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools has approved this Master of Arts program.


Sixteen distance learning courses (48 academic credits) are required to earn this degree.  Eight required courses provide a general theological foundation. These are the core requirements which can be taken in any order:

  • BL102 New Testament Foundations
  • BL103 Old Testament Foundations
  • TH113Systematic Theology I
  • TH114Systematic Theology II
  • MN102Practice of Discipleship
  • MN120 Leadership
  • TH100 or TH101 Church History I or II
  • TH126 Summative Examination


Eight elective courses provide students the flexibility to focus on their learning interests. Take a look at the various courses available.   

WTS welcomes transfer students and transferred coursework.  Up to half of the coursework required to complete the MA may be completed at another ATS accredited seminary. 


Distance Learning

Western Theological Seminary’s highly effective and relationship-rich distance learning environment makes coursework available wherever you are and whenever you want.  All core required courses are delivered completely online.  Some electives may use a hybrid design, blending online learning with 5 days per semester of face-to-face instruction on the WTS campus. 

Two distance learning semesters and two short online terms annually:

Fall Semester: 14 weeks, early September-December. Hybrid courses that blend online and classroom learning include a 5-day on-campus intensive in Holland, MI in mid-October.

January Term: 3 weeks, fully-online elective courses.

Spring Semester: 14 weeks, January-May.   Hybrid courses that blend online and classroom learning include a 5-day on-campus intensive in Holland, MI in mid-May.

Summer Term: 6 weeks, late May-late June, fully online courses


Are you a distance learner?

How do you learn best?  What environment do you prefer? Before signing up for any online course or stepping into a classroom, it is important to discern your own learning style.

In-Residence Learner

  • Prefers the physical environment of the classroom
  • Enjoys regular face-to-face interaction with professors and peers
  • Needs a consistent class schedule and structured learning formats

Distance Learning Learner

  • Self-motivated, independent learner
  • Wants flexibility of organizing his or her own learning schedule
  • Disciplined, can set aside 15-20 hours per week to study and participate in an online setting
  • Prefers to continue in current ministry or home situation
  • Can travel twice a year for classroom-based intensives on campus in Holland, MI


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