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Theology & Religious Studies Master of Arts Degree

The Department of Theology and Religious Studies is committed to academic excellence among its faculty and students. The faculty are nationally and internationally known in the areas of church history, contemporary systematic theology, Asian religions, interfaith studies, Islam, pastoral theology, religious ethics, and scripture. Furthermore, members of the faculty are prominent in professional activities and draw their educational backgrounds from outstanding universities. Faculty have served as officers of professional societies, as advisors to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, as editors of professional journals, and as members of boards of trustees, and have published numerous books and scholarly articles. 

Program Design 

The TRS M.A. program meets the educational requirements of persons interested in continued academic study as well as those interested in religious education, ministry, and other professional careers related to theology and religion.

Current admission requirements and application process details

The Department of Theology & Religious Studies offers graduate courses in scripture, historical theology, systematic theology, religious ethics, world religions, and spirituality, leading to a Master of Arts degree. View Online Bulletin here.

The TRS M.A. Program requires 30 graduate credit hours of study, including:

  • TRS 400 Scripture & Revelation (offered in fall of odd-numbered years)
  • TRS 430 Systematic Theology (offered in fall of even-numbered years)
  • One course in Religious Ethics (TRS 46x or 56x)
  • One course in World Religions (TRS 41x, 44x, 45x, 51x, 54x, or 55x)
  • At least 15 semester hours in 500-level courses (including TRS 593 or TRS 599)
  • TRS 593 MA Essay or TRS 599 MA Thesis
  • The program concludes with the student's completion of a comprehensive academic portfolio and its oral defense.


Kristen Tobey, Ph.D., engaged in conversation with a male student in the classroom

Position Descriptions

The Theology & Religious Studies Program is accepting applications. Position Descriptions can be found here.

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Program Goals

 The JCU TRS M.A. program is designed to provide master’s students with advanced knowledge of the content and method of various disciplines of theology and religious studies (scripture, ethics, world religions, systematic theology, and Christian history). Students pursue a JCU TRS M.A. degree in order to achieve a variety of goals. Some of our students hold prior degrees or concentrations in theology and return to John Carroll to update their knowledge. Some are engaged in religious education, ministry, and professional careers in church and religion, while others are planning teaching careers. Some seek to expand their knowledge of theology and religion for personal enrichment. Still others intend to continue their work in doctoral programs after completing the M.A. degree at John Carroll. All have the flexibility to take their expertise in a variety of new directions upon graduation.

Tuition Scholarships


Scholarships are available for students enrolled in the Theology and Religious Studies Master of Arts program.

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Student Learning Outcomes

The successful TRS M.A. graduate can demonstrate the following TRS program Student Learning Outcomes at a graduate-level competency:

1. Student uses pertinent, appropriately documented, primary and secondary sources to demonstrate sophisticated critical engagement with a religious expression in its context and from an explicit, well-defined disciplinary perspective; takes into account diverse contexts, alternative explanations, assumptions, and implications, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of those interpretations.

2. Student uses pertinent, appropriately documented, primary and secondary sources to adeptly and insightfully analyze an ethical question or injustice in light of diverse religious resources or ethical theories; identifies strengths and possible critiques of the various resources or theories; and articulates own response, including an explanation of the assumptions behind, objections to, and implications of this position.