The Master’s in Theology Online

The online Master’s in Theology degree program offers a solid foundation of study in Scripture and theology with the versatility to customize your learning experience. Whether you are preparing for ministry with a particular emphasis or planning to continue your studies at the doctoral level, Concordia will partner with you to equip you for your vocation and next steps.

Faith and learning.

Concordia University invites you to participate in a community of scholars who are faithful to Scripture and willing to explore hard questions of the Christian faith. From a core curriculum of six classes, you can customize your learning experience through any of four emphasis areas. Just in case you need more flexibility and responsiveness to your educational needs, you have customized program options available to you through currently offered electives, guided readings, or colloquia. To really focus on an area of personal interest, you’ll select a topic for your thesis and work collaboratively with faculty in your journey of faith and learning.

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Denominational
distinctives.

“Do I have to be Lutheran for this program to be the right fit for me?” is a frequent question that comes up when someone is researching programs. The simple answer is “no.”

In fact, people from diverse Christian denominational backgrounds and various geographic areas have participated in the MA in Theology program and found a respectful community of scholars to walk with them in their preparation for doctoral studies, current ministries, or personal faith journeys. If you want a safe place to study and explore deep issues of the faith, you’ll meet and be nurtured in a unique community of believers and scholars at Concordia.

A blended instructional approach.

The online Master’s in Theology degree is delivered through a “blended” instructional approach that offers flexibility for distance learners who live outside of the Orange County area. Blended instructional models are growing in popularity because adult students appreciate periodic face-to-face classroom connection times while being able to complete coursework primarily online. That means less time on campus, more time online, and the flexibility to fit continuing education into your home, family, and work life.

In the online Theology Master’s program, even distance learners are required to take a minimum of two classes on site; however, with the option to take a summer intensive to complete a course in 10 days, you can manage your ministry and schedule needs while continuing your education. You might even want to use a summer intensive course as a reason to take a vacation in beautiful southern California, while you do the rest of your coursework online during the year.

Program timelines.

Due to the flexibility and ability to customize your program, contact an admissions counselor to discuss upcoming start dates and how to plan your coursework. The MA program generally runs for a 15-week term during the fall and spring semesters and for a 10-day summer intensive.

If you are pursuing certifications with the Cross-Cultural Ministry Center or other programs with oversight by the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, there may be different term lengths to understand within your expanded coursework beyond the MA in Theology.

Term Dates
Summer Jun 2 - Jun 21, 2014
Fall Aug 18 - Dec 12, 2014
Spring Jan 5 - May 1, 2015

Plan a meaningful journey.

To earn your degree, you will complete a total of 32 units comprised of core courses and emphasis courses. You may select an emphasis related to Research in Theology, Theology and Culture, Youth Ministry, or Christian Education Leadership. There are many options for customizing your academic plan within the core courses, your chosen emphasis area, and available electives. If you aren’t sure how to plan an emphasis or electives, an admissions counselor can help you determine your personal academic plan.

It can be done in 2 ½ years, but most people take between 2 ½ - 3 years to complete regular coursework and their thesis. Students seeking ministerial certification through the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod (LCMS) may have different program lengths due to additional certification coursework, field hours, or internships. Prior to program completion, master’s candidates present their thesis to a panel of faculty members.

Since you’ll work so closely with faculty during the whole process, this presentation is truly for experience only and not a typical “defense” of a thesis. There is an enormous commitment to your individual pilgrimage as well as your success in completing the program. The growth experience is the point, not just the degree outcome. Plan to grow, and know that you can take the time that you need to have a meaningful journey.

  • Theology Courses
  • 32 units
  • Core Courses- Required, but choose either 510 or 511, and choose either 528 or 529.
  • 17 units
  • THL 501: Introduction to Research
  • 2
Foundational course in Masters level theological research. Examines the essential methods and resources for the academic study of theology. Attention will also be paid to research methods for projects in programs that do not require an academic thesis. Covers procedures for identifying, proposing, researching, organizing, writing, and defending the Masters thesis or project. Students will be guided in beginning their research projects.
  • THL 504: A Survey of Historical Theology
  • 3
An introduction to historical theology and a survey of the development of the theological formulations of the church. Special emphasis will be placed on “challenges to orthodoxy” laid upon the church at various times, and the role such events played in the church’s confessional responses. These will be examined to enhance understanding of the church’s theological and doctrinal tasks today.
  • THL 510: Lutheran Confessions
  • 3
A study of the Augsburg Confession, The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Luther’s Large and Small Catechisms, The Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope and the Formula of Concord in terms of their historical setting and their theological content. Explores the relationship of the Confessions to the Scripture, and the confessional application of their teaching in the 21st century context.
  • THL 511: Creeds & Confessions
  • 3
A study of major confessions of the Christian Church. This course centers on the Ecumenical Creeds and the Book of Concord. Other confessional documents are considered in relationship to these confessional statements. The historical setting and theological content of these documents will be explored along with their contemporary use and application. (Note: students seeking ministry certification in the Lutheran Church―Missouri Synod take THL 510 instead of this class.)
  • THL 528: Seminar in Biblical Theology & Exegetical Method
  • 3
A seminar covering the Canon and Inspiration of Scripture, as well as major themes which run through the Old and New Testaments. Appropriate exegetical methods for interpreting various literary genres within the Bible will also be engaged.
  • THL 529: Lutheran Hermeneutics and the Theology of Scripture
  • 3
An intensive study of the Lutheran understanding of the nature of Scripture, followed by an examination of its major themes with special emphasis on interpretive principles (e.g., Law and Gospel) for use in congregational ministry.
  • THL 531: The Reformation Era II
  • 3
An introduction to the social, political, and intellectual contexts of the various sixteenth century Reformations of Europe as well as their events, ideas, and implications. Attention will be given to the reform movements outside of Germany including England, Switzerland, France, and northern Europe. The effects of Calvinism, Anglicanism, Anabaptism, etc. as movements of thought will be examined.
  • THL 565: Seminar in Christianity, Ethics and Contemporary Culture
  • 3
An exploration of morality and ethics in the light of Scriptural teaching concerning both creation and redemption. Seminar participants will be oriented to the main approaches, both traditional and contemporary, of non-biblical philosophical ethics and will study how Christian faith interacts with these approaches. The significance for ethics of the Lutheran Confessional distinction between God’s left and right hand rule will be explored in depth. Seminar participants will pursue a research project in ethics tailored to the overall emphasis the student is pursuing in the M.A. program.
  • THL 573: Systematic Doctrinal Theology
  • 3
Instructor and students will pursue graduate-level study of systematic doctrinal theology in biblical perspective. The course surveys the loci, i.e. the topics, of doctrinal theology. In the process we will consider the nature and task of theological reflection; the responsibilities and qualities of a theologian; and such key topics in theological reflection as the Person and Work of Christ, Justification, Law and Gospel, the Trinity, Creation, the Word of God, the Last Things, Christian Vocation, and the life of the Christian Church. Special attention will be given to recognizing and characterizing the church-related context in which and for which theology is undertaken. Our exciting and demanding task is to focus in every class session on theology that will serve the Church, the Body of Christ.
  • Research in Theology Courses: If this is your chosen emphasis, select 5 courses from the options below.
  • 15 units
  • THL 590: Guided Readings
  • 3
The objectives for this course are determined by the student and a faculty mentor in light of the student’s overall background and particular plans for research in theology. Under the direction of the mentor the student develops a bibliography and reading list for guided independent reading in theology. The student demonstrates significant progress in acquaintance with and understanding of the literature. (May be repeated.)
  • THL 591: Colloquium in Theology
  • 3
Seminar course in advanced theological research. Topics addressed will vary, and may include subjects from various theological disciplines (Exegetical, Systematic, Historical, and Practical Theology) and various time periods. Students will actively participate in determining the direction of this course as they research and present theological topics under the guidance of the instructor. (May be repeated.)
  • Elective
  • 3
Elective courses may be chosen from Theology graduate offerings TBA in consultation with faculty advisor.
  • THL 595: Thesis I
  • 3
The student develops a research project or thesis under the guidance of a faculty mentor.
  • THL 596: Thesis II
  • 3
The student works toward completion of the research project or thesis under the guidance of a faculty mentor. (Can be repeated once if needed.)
  • Theology and Culture Courses: If this is your chosen emphasis, select 5 courses from the options below.
  • 15 units
  • THL 502: Ministry in Cultural Context
  • 3
This course utilizes a sociological/anthropological framework to examine religious systems. The students will investigate the impact of social and cultural processes on the expression of faith with the goal of increasing the students’ effectiveness in ministering to people from a variety of cultures.
  • THL 503: Multicultural Ministry in Urban Context
  • 3
The various methods of church planting will be examined within their biblical, cultural, denominational contexts to determine the most functional methods to use when developing a ministry in a multicultural, urban context. Factors such as urbanization, poverty, crime, education, economic stratification, etc. will be examined as they pertain to the development of an effective congregation in an urban community.
  • THL 505: Polity, Leadership & Team Ministry
  • 3
A detailed examination of the polity of the Lutheran church and its relationship to leadership development and team ministry in the congregational setting. Using lecture and case studies, this course will biblically examine the history of LCMS polity as well as the various models that are being utilized today in various parish situations.
  • THL 521: World Religions
  • 3
A survey of the world’s major, non-Christian religions including origin and development, sacred writings, major motifs, belief patterns, ritual and worship, social patterns and ethics. Special attention will be given to the similarities and differences between these and the Christian faith, especially in the context of the multi-religious communities of 21st century America.
  • THL 528: Seminar in Biblical Theology & Exegetical Method
  • 3
A seminar covering the Canon and Inspiration of Scripture, as well as major themes which run through the Old and New Testaments. Appropriate exegetical methods for interpreting various literary genres within the Bible will also be engaged.
  • THL 530: The Reformation Era
  • 3
An introduction to the social, political, and intellectual context of the various sixteenth-century reformations of the church of Europe as well as the events, ideas, and implications of these reform movements. Attention will be given to both the “magisterial” and “radical” Protestant reformations as well as the Catholic reformation.
  • Youth Ministry Courses: If this is your chosen emphasis, select 5 courses from the options below.
  • 15 units
  • THL 591: Colloquium in Theology- Theologies of Youth Ministry
  • 3
Seminar course in advanced theological research. Topics addressed will vary, and may include subjects from various theological disciplines (Exegetical, Systematic, Historical, and Practical Theology) and various time periods. Students will actively participate in determining the direction of this course as they research and present theological topics under the guidance of the instructor. (May be repeated.)
  • THL 591: Colloquium in Theology- Missional Youth Ministry
  • 3
Seminar course in advanced theological research. Topics addressed will vary, and may include subjects from various theological disciplines (Exegetical, Systematic, Historical, and Practical Theology) and various time periods. Students will actively participate in determining the direction of this course as they research and present theological topics under the guidance of the instructor. (May be repeated.)
  • THL 591: Colloquium in Theology- Global Youth Ministry
  • 3
Seminar course in advanced theological research. Topics addressed will vary, and may include subjects from various theological disciplines (Exegetical, Systematic, Historical, and Practical Theology) and various time periods. Students will actively participate in determining the direction of this course as they research and present theological topics under the guidance of the instructor. (May be repeated.)
  • THL 595: Thesis I
  • 3
The student develops a research project or thesis under the guidance of a faculty mentor.
  • THL 596: Thesis II
  • 3
The student works toward completion of the research project or thesis under the guidance of a faculty mentor. (Can be repeated once if needed.)
  • Christian Education Leadership Courses: If this is your chosen emphasis, select 5 courses from the options below. **Select only one choice from among CEd 560, CEd 570, and CEd 580.
  • 15 units
  • CEd 502: Teaching Strategies and Management
  • 3
This course will equip students to apply the biblical, educational models of discipleship, catechesis, and spiritual formation, including principles of inductive Bible study, effective teaching methods, lesson design, curriculum evaluation, and introductory curriculum development.
  • CEd 550: Counseling in Ministry
  • 3
A foundation course providing an understanding of the content and process of counseling specific to a ministry setting. Specific aspects of the counseling process addressed include basic skills, legal and ethical issues, crisis intervention, cultural sensitivity, how and when to refer, and the integration of psychology and theology.
  • THL 595: Thesis I
  • 3
The student develops a research project or thesis under the guidance of a faculty mentor.
  • THL 596: Thesis II
  • 3
The student works toward completion of the research project or thesis under the guidance of a faculty mentor. (Can be repeated once if needed.)
  • CEd 560: Adult Education
  • 3
Adult learning theory, faith development, and discussion of andragogy as it relates to the planning of effective adult education programs in a local congregation will be presented.
  • CEd 570: Children’s Ministry
  • 3
An in-depth study of the church’s ministry with children from birth to twelve (12) years of age. Emphasizes faith development theories; family and intergenerational ministry; teaching techniques related to children’s ministries; involving children in the total life of the church; and planning, administering, implementing, and evaluating a comprehensive ministry to children. Fieldwork component required.
  • CEd 580: Youth Ministry
  • 3
This course provides students basic foundations of parish youth ministry and an opportunity to better understand the current youth culture. Supplies a variety of organizational models and an opportunity to develop programming skills needed for successful parish youth ministry. Fieldwork component required.
  • Theology elective courses and certification specific courses
  • CED 501: Introduction to DCE Ministry 3
  • 3
Examination of the ministry of the director of Christian education (DCE) in the congregations of the LCMS. Study of key and sub-roles of DCEs, history of the DCE ministry within the LCMS, the team ministry of pastors and DCEs, and contact with current field DCE models.
  • CED 502: Church Leadership & Administration 3
  • 3
Stresses theology and philosophy of Christian education as the foundations of parish programming. Teaches planning, administration, and leadership skills important to the development, management and evaluation of parish ministry programs. Prerequisite: CED 501 or consent of instructor.
  • CED 510: DCE Ministry Fieldwork I
  • 1
On-site involvement with a DCE serving a congregation to acquire experience and skills related to DCE ministry. Includes evaluation of practicum experiences and presentation of current DCE ministry trends, resources, and philosophies. Prerequisite: full acceptance into DCE program.
  • CED 511, 512, 513, 514, 515: DCE Ministry Fieldwork II-V Continuation of CED 510.
  • 1 each
  • CED 532: Methodology of Christian Teaching
  • 3
Equips students with a variety of instructional strategies for use in the parish setting. Focuses on planning, managing, delivering, and evaluating instruction. Students will practice these competencies through applied experiences (e.g., observing, teaching a Bible class, leading devotions, etc.) in a Lutheran school classroom. Transportation to and from the practicum site is the responsibility of the student. Prerequisites: background check and fingerprinting (contact Church Work Vocations office for paperwork).
  • TGRE 501: Greek I
  • 3
A study of the fundamentals of New Testament Greek. Morphology, syntax, and vocabulary for translation and linguistic analysis of passages of the New Testament.
  • TGRE 502: Greek II
  • 3
A continued study of the fundamentals of New Testament Greek. Morphology, syntax, and vocabulary for translation and linguistic analysis of passages of the New Testament. Will also overview appropriate use of Bible study software for Greek translation.
  • THL 536: Renaissance and Reformation
  • 3
The renaissance throughout Europe and the various religious movements associated with the reformation are studied in relation to the general history of the 14th to the 17th centuries, including developments in science, music, art, literature and the humanities.
  • THL 540: Entrepreneurial Mission Planting
  • 3
Explores business and entrepreneurial methods as they apply to church planters and new mission starts. Practical emphasis upon understanding entrepreneurial leadership, team ministry, learning from success, dealing with risk, reaching new people, developing marketing materials, financial planning and cash flow, and balancing a busy life will be presented by guest lecturers experienced in entrepreneurial church leadership.
  • THL 541: Mission Planning Institute & Developing Mission Planters
  • 3
This course will provide the student with the resources and techniques for designing, writing and implementing a mission plan to be used for planting a new ministry. Students will have the opportunity to develop a mission statement, core values, vision, and strategies for a mission plant. Missiology, cross-cultural ministry, evangelistic preaching, and entrepreneurial leadership will also be explored. A detailed written mission plan for a specific ministry site will be required for completion of this course.
  • TEXO 507: Old Testament Isagogics
  • 3
Introductory treatment of the Torah, the Prophets, the Historical Books and the Writings. The history of Israel is surveyed and each book studied in the light of this historical background. Emphasis is placed on the content, form and composition, theological motifs, and relevance of the materials contained in the same.
  • TEXO 510: Old Testament Book Option
  • 3
A major Old Testament book is studied in detail to uncover sermonic and Bible study concepts for communication.
  • TEXN 508: Paul’s Prison Epistles, the Pastoral Epistles, General Epistles, and Hebrews
  • 3
The course offers a comprehensive overview of all isagogical information concerning Paul’s Prison Epistles, the Pastoral Epistles, the General Epistles, and Hebrews. Individual books will also be selected for in-depth translation and application. Particular attention will be paid to the pastoral and church related issues proclaimed in the epistles towards a practical competency of leading a congregation in the ethnic, multi-cultural context of modern pastoral mission work. Prerequisite: TGRE 502 or equivalent.
  • TEXN 510: The Synoptic Gospels and Acts
  • 3
The course offers a comprehensive overview of all isagogical information concerning the Synoptic Gospels and Acts. An individual Gospel will also be selected and translated in the course. Focus will be on the theological meaning and emphasis of a particular Gospel and its modern application. Prerequisite: TGRE 502 or equivalent.
  • TEXN 520: The Pauline Epistles
  • 3
The course offers a comprehensive overview of the Pauline corpus (excluding the Prison Epistles and the Pastorals) as well as an in-depth study of correspondence with one of the congregations. Inspection of the literary, cultural and structural issues of this correspondence will be a major feature of the course. Major attention will be paid to the theological content and meaning of this correspondence with suggested applications for contemporary issues. Prerequisite: TGRE 502 or equivalent.
  • TEXN 532: The Johannine Corpus
  • 3
The course offers a comprehensive overview of the Johannine Corpus as well as an in-depth study of one of the books. Literary genre, exegetical and interpretational issues will be examined as to how they enhance one’s understanding of the book. Prerequisite: TGRE 502 or equivalent.
  • TPRC 502: Pastoral Theology
  • 3
The theology and practice of the church in her Word and Sacrament ministry, with biblical and confessional principles identified and applied for evangelical pastoral practice. A variety of pastoral care areas are considered to demonstrate the ministry of addressing and administering the Word and Sacraments to God's people, individually and corporately, in their human situation. Lectures, written projects, case studies and discussions form the core for this course, along with pertinent readings in each area. Prerequisite: Acceptance to the Cross-Cultural Ministry Program or consent of the instructor.
  • TPRC 503: Pastor as Counselor
  • 3
Theoretical and practical consideration of counseling foundations, techniques and practices as these pertain to parish and institutional ministries, with a view toward developing a personal methodological approach to pastoral counseling that integrates the Law/Gospel principle. Prerequisite: Acceptance to the Cross-Cultural Ministry Program or consent of the instructor.
  • TPRC 521: Pastor as Missionary
  • 3
The course first roots the work of "evangelism/outreach" in a thoroughly biblical view of mission and develops practical outreach methodologies to be executed in the Lutheran congregation and/or mission setting. Secondly, this course will have the student produce an "educational" plan that will allow the identification, training and deploying of committed Christian leaders for the growth of Christ's Church. Prerequisite: Acceptance to the Cross-Cultural Ministry Program or consent of the instructor.
  • TPRC 530: Homiletics I
  • 3
Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a function of Christian witness, the mammoth task in the pastor's calling, and an element of the congregation's worship. The course focuses on preaching from a text, lectures, regular written assignments and several complete sermons. Study of communication theory and development or oral communication skills, with special reference to effective proclamation of the full counsel of God (Law and Gospel). Laboratory preaching experience is video recorded for critical evaluation by instructor, students and speaker. Prerequisite: Acceptance to the Cross-Cultural Ministry Program and Thl 529 or consent of the instructor.
  • TPRC 531: Homiletics II
  • 3
Purpose, function and structure of a sermon. Textual preaching especially on parables, miracles, and Old Testament texts for occasional sermons. The sermon as part of the liturgy and worship. The polarity of Law and Gospel in all preaching. Sermon theory and delivery. Prerequisite: TPRC 530 or equivalent or consent of the instructor.
  • TPRC 542: Lutheran Worship in Cultural Context
  • 3
The course will examine and assess the historical and theological understanding of worship within the Lutheran context, to observe the forms and practice of Lutheran worship within present, Lutheran ethnic/multi-cultural communities. And, guided by proper theological, historical, and contextual models, the class will promote sacramental worship in various, new ethnic/multi-cultural missional settings.
  • TPRC 551: Ethnic-Urban Church Planting
  • 3
The organizational structure of the church is studied in various cultural and denominational models to determine those that are most functional in a given cultural context. Various new ways of planting Christian congregations within the integrity of a given culture and within biblical guidelines will be examined. Prerequisite: Acceptance to the Cross-Cultural Ministry Program or consent of the instructor.
  • TSYS 511 Systematics I
  • 3
The course examines the nature and function of biblical theology and its application to the questions posed in the post-modern age. Topics include the doctrine of God, His Trinitarian nature and His attributes, the doctrine of Creation and providence, and His creatures including angels and humans.

Dr. Steve Mueller
Dean of Christ College

Faith and faculty.

Not every program can boast about its faculty members being in touch with issues of faith and ministry. About 99% of the CUI faculty are “practitioner instructors” who have a rich background in ministry, cross-cultural, and publication experience. The diverse personal histories and approaches of the faculty allow you to study intensely in any area of emphasis. You can expect highly educated, thoughtful Christian practitioners to partner with you in your faith and education experience. One such example is Dr. Steve Mueller. Dean of Christ College and author of numerous books and articles, including several related to the writings of C.S. Lewis, Dr. Mueller has a dynamic ability to mentor students and church leaders in his roles of instructor, program director, and co-laborer in the faith.

Tuition and fees.

Tuition and fees are listed here for your reference, but are subject to change without notice.

Tuition/Fee Cost
Application Fee $50
International Application Processing Fee $150
Graduation Fee $140
Tuition $590/unit

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Admission Requirements

  1. Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, or an international evaluation showing the equivalent of a regionally accredited U.S. bachelor's degree.
  2. Evidence of ability to achieve success in a graduate program, shown by the following:
    • For full admission: a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better (4.0 scale) in all previous college work.
    • For provisional admission: a cumulative GPA of 2.70-2.99 in all previous college work. Students admitted with provisional status may enroll for a maximum of nine graduate units (three courses). If a minimum GPA of 3.25 is earned in the three graduate courses (9 units), candidates may be granted regular status in a graduate program.

Transfer Credit

A maximum of six (6) graduate units may be transferred into the program from an accredited university or college.

  • These courses must be approved by the Dean of Christ College.
  • Must closely match course descriptions in Concordia's MA in Theology program.

A maximum of six (6) graduate units may be used from courses taken during non-degree seeking student status.

  • The student must request in writing that these courses be used for matriculation in the MA.
  • Approval must be granted by the Dean of Christ College.

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