The Master of Arts in Religion or MAR degree is a two-year, graduate, academic degree program for laypersons who seek an interdisciplinary approach to theological reflection, religious experience and ethical action, or who wish to approach another field or profession from a perspective enriched by theological study. This degree is also for directors of religious education seeking certification in the Unitarian Universalist Association's certification program who would like to earn a master's degree while fulfilling those requirements.
The MAR requires a total of 16 credits from academic courses.
At least four courses must be taken in the student's chosen Area of Concentration. Possible concentrations include Theology, Ethics, Religion and the Arts, Religious Education, or Pastoral Care. In addition to the concentration courses, students must take courses in at least four other disciplinary areas of the School curriculum including Theology, Ethics, Religion and the Arts, Religious Education, Pastoral Care, History, and Ministry and the Arts.
Of the 12 course credits needed for the degree at least 10 must be taken through the TouchPoint model at Meadville Lombard Theological School or at another seminary in the Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS). Meadville Lombard's TouchPoint model is a "low residency" educational model. Students enroll in semester-long courses and are required to be in Chicago durng one-week intensives taught in January, March, and July.
Thesis / Project Requirement
In addition to the course credit requirement, MAR students must fulfill a thesis/project concentration. These credits may be registered for in a single semester or in sequence across two semesters. The student consults with a Thesis/Project Advisor throughout the research, drafting, and writing of the proposal and the final thesis or project.
- The Proposal: Must be approved by the student's Thesis Advisor no later than December 1 before the student's anticipated semester of graduation.
- The Thesis should be submitted to the Thesis Advisor and Director of the MAR program in a condition ready for approval (final draft) no later than March 15 of the spring semester of the student's anticipated graduation.
- The Project is an option for students whose needs and purposes are not best served by a standard research thesis. A brief scholarly Commentary (10-20 pp) must also be completed by students choosing the Project over the Thesis and must be submitted to the Project Advisor and the Director of the MAR program no later than March 15 of the spring semester of the student's anticipated graduation.
All transfer credits must be pre-approved by the student’s academic advisor. Transferred credits will not appear on the Meadville Lombard transcript with a letter grade (only the credit is transferring) and the letter P, for Pass, will accompany all transferred credits.