Description of MA Program

The Baylor University Religion Department offers a Master of Arts (MA) degree, with concentrations in Old Testament, New Testament, Historical Studies, and Theological Studies. The 30 credit hour program has both thesis and non-thesis options available. The application deadline for admission into the 2022-2023 academic year was December 15, 2021, but we are not currently admitting students except in rare situations. Before applying, please contact the  Academic and Student Support Associate (254-710-3742) in the Graduate Studies office for the Religion Department to see whether your goals fit these criteria or whether other Masters programs at Baylor would meet your needs.  

Benefits of the program include:

  • Targeted research in desired area
  • Flexible curriculum design
  • Tuition discounts of up to 50% available
  • Degree can be completed in 3-4 semesters
  • Preference given to those who already have an MA or Master of Divinity (MDiv)
  • Small seminars
  • Hands on faculty who publish in their discipline
  • Faculty who take seriously the need to engage the academy and the church


For admission to study toward a Master of Arts in religion, students must have completed a minimum of eighteen hours in the classical theological disciplines (biblical, historical, theological) including nine hours of 3000- to 4000-level courses. Certain courses in closely related fields may apply with the approval of the graduate committee in religion. Admission to this program of study shall follow the policy of admission described elsewhere in the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must present grade-point averages and Graduate Record Examination General Test (GRE) scores that are predictive of success in the program. An applicant’s academic record must be high in quality and broad in content. It must be of such quality as to give positive evidence of capacity for graduate study and a genuine scholarly interest. Those seeking admission into the M.A. program will need intermediate competence (at least two semesters or the equivalent) in ancient languages if required by the field to which they are applying.

If you are interested in pursuing this option, please contact the Academic and Student Support Associate (254-710-3742).

Application Checklist

The following checklist includes items required for a complete application:

  1. Graduate School Admissions Application. The application can be completed and submitted online. Click here to complete an admissions application.
  2. Official GRE Score. An official GRE score is one that is submitted to the Graduate School by the testing institution. Testing institutions can submit GRE scores to the Graduate School at the applicant's request (Baylor's GRE code is 6032). GRE scores submitted by the applicant are not official and therefore do not satisfy the requirement.
  3. TOEFL. The TOEFL is required for all international applicants unless they have completed a bachelor's (or higher) degree from an accredited U.S. institution. This requirement does not apply to non-international applicants. For additional information, consult the current Graduate Catalog or contact the Graduate School.
  4. Transcript(s). For application purposes the Graduate School will accept unofficial transcripts. A transcript must be submitted for each academic institution attended by the applicant. If an applicant receives an offer of admission from Baylor University, admission is contingent upon receipt of official transcripts from each academic institution attended by the applicant.
  5. Recommendation Letters. Three letters of recommendation are required from professors who have had you in their class.
  6. Autobiographical Essay. The autobiographical essay (600-1000 words) may be submitted online as part of the online application process. The essay is a personal statement that must clearly and specifically provide the following information:
    • A statement concerning your area of specialization to which you are applying (Old Testament, New Testament, Historical Studies, or Theological Studies)
    • A description of your academic pilgrimage and how it has prepared you for pursuing an MA in religion at Baylor University
    • A delineation of your career goals
    • A clear description of your research agenda and how you envision fulfilling that at Baylor. While we do not expect students to have a fully defined thesis topic, knowing the questions and topics that interest you, as well as a description of the work you have done on the topic, allows us to make more informed decisions.
  7. Recent Research Paper. The research paper (suggested length of 12-15 pages) may be submitted online as part of the online application process. Submit a paper on a topic related to the area to which you are applying (i.e., do not submit an Old Testament paper if you are applying to Historical Studies). Submit a paper that gives us a good indication of who you are as a scholar at this point in your development.
  8. The application can be completed and submitted online (see link at top right of page). Please send physical copies of any materials that cannot be submitted online to the following address:

    Graduate School Admissions Office
    Baylor University
    One Bear Place #97264
    Waco, TX 76798-7264