MA, Religion

Study Format Online
Program Length 33 credits*, 6 semesters


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The Master of Arts in Religion (MAR) capitalizes on the rich Lutheran confession of Concordia University Chicago (CUC). It is an ideal way for church workers and laypersons to enrich their understanding of the Bible and Christian theology in an online format designed for people who work full time.

The program is taught in cohort groups who move through the 11 courses together. Each course is eight weeks in length; one course is taken at a time. Students may begin study in the fall or spring semester. No courses are taught in the summer.

Who benefits from the Master of Arts in Religion?

  • Lutheran educators, deaconesses, Directors of Christian Education, missionaries, church workers and laypersons. Holding an advanced degree may help LCMS church workers receive increased benefits from their employers.
  • Informed Christian lay persons from any denomination who desire faithful, Confessional study of theology from professors who believe the Bible to be inerrant and authoritative.
  • Retirees who wish to study God’s Word and Lutheran doctrine.
  • Spouses of Lutheran church workers may utilize this education for effective service in their congregation.

Who teaches the courses?

Courses are taught by CUC’s theology professors. Our theologians are all ordained pastors in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) who hold advanced degrees and teach in their areas of specialty. Because the online format allows us to find the best professors from across the country, some courses may be taught by adjunct ordained LCMS theologians.

What are the program prerequisites?

Basic courses in Lutheran studies of the Old Testament, New Testament and Lutheran Doctrine are required before full acceptance into the MAR is granted. Prior to acceptance, students who have not previously taken these basic courses will need to do so at the undergraduate level or demonstrate competency in these areas. Competency exams are available.

Master of Arts in Religion with Deaconess Certification

Most Master of Arts in Religion with Deaconess Certification full-time students complete the academic requirements in 2 years and then complete a 1-year paid internship.
Courses are in Old and New Testament, Christian faith, Christian history, world religions, and biblical studies.

Deaconess Specialization:
Deaconess classes in skills, foundations, field experience, grief, counseling, leadership, youth work, and teaching.

Concentration 1:
Psychology, social work, sociology, language, church music, nursing, youth ministry, family ministry, missions, parish education, management, or other, as approved by the Deaconess Program Director and Theology Department Chairperson.

Concentration 2:
Can be continuing study in the same area as Concentration 1 or a different area.

Paid Internship:
Internship classes and seminar 

Supplemental Coursework or Requirements:

  • Two annual Deaconess Conferences
  • Deaconess community participation
  • Supplemental requirements may be assigned to address unique student needs.

Additional requirements for the MA, Religion
Research & Capstone Experience

Application to the Deaconess Program is separate from Concordia University Chicago's application.

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