Program Overview

The Master of Arts (M.A.) is a 48-unit degree that combines academic excellence and opportunities for vocational exploration with the goal of preparing students for further graduate study, various forms of religious leadership and ministry, for general education and enrichment. Students must complete a summative exercise at the end of their program which takes the form of a master’s thesis, a major paper, or a paper/project.

The Claremont School of Theology M.A. program is informed by the history of Christian reflection and practice, by deep and open dialogue between religious traditions, and by the quest to understand and respond constructively to the contemporary world.

It presupposes the need for scholars and religious leaders who are able to positively engage the needs of the world through an understanding of past traditions, present dialogue, and a continuing quest for understanding and wisdom.

The Master of Arts curriculum combines training in academic content and methods, in the research skills appropriate to the study of religion and the various theological disciplines, and in the knowledge and sensitivity necessary for teachers and ministers to engage in dialogue across cultures and religions.

All graduates are expected to acquire both breadth and depth of preparation in relation to their overall degree objectives. Breadth is established by taking a wide range of survey courses in the theological disciplines. Depth is probed in the final summative exercise.

The M.A. is divided into three options.

The M.A. with a concentration in Theological Studies is a 48-unit degree.

The Islamic Studies and Leadership track is for students interested in positions of leadership in Muslim contexts, particularly in North American Muslim communities. This track provides room for students to personalize their studies to their own areas of interest. The culmination of this degree is a summative exercise which usually takes the form of a Master’s thesis.

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This degree provides depth of study in a particular theological discipline and offers ideal preparation for persons who plan to pursue future Ph.D. studies.

Students may complete concentrations in the following disciplines:

Islamic Education
Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy

Each concentration has specific requirements plus electives that are clustered in the student’s specific theological discipline and related fields, as approved by his or her advisor.

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The M.A. with a concentration in Interdisciplinary or Comparative Studies is a 48-unit degree program for those who desire to study the integration of two or more fields. It is a flexible degree that allows students to personalize a course of advanced study in multiple areas of interest, one of which must be religious in nature.

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Nina Fernando, M.A. ’13,

serves as the Operation and Outreach Manager with an organization called Shoulder to Shoulder, in Washington, D.C. Shoulder to Shoulder is a national multi-faith coalition of 35 religious denominations and faith-based organizations committed to countering, interrupting, and ending anti-Muslim bigotry in the United States.

Nina says, “CST helped to prepare me for my work in multi-faith justice organizing. I see faith communities and faith leaders as powerful change agents who hold a great responsibility to live up to their traditions. More than ever, our Muslim neighbors are unfairly and wrongly under attack. The problem is great, and our work at Shoulder to Shoulder helps faith communities and individuals step up alongside the Muslim community.”

In addition to Nina’s work with Shoulder to Shoulder, she is an accomplished musician who integrates music into her advocacy efforts. This Fall, she will begin work with OneBeat, an organization that brings together civically engaged musicians from around the globe. She says, “As someone who works to live out the intersection of social change through music and multi-faith advocacy, it has been a privilege to work at Shoulder to Shoulder and still be able to create space to sing. CST fully supported my exploration of integrating my faith with social change and music, and now I get to do that in a new way. I do not entirely know what to expect but I am really looking forward to it.”

To learn more about OneBeat visit their website at To access a free toolkit to help you stand up to anti-Muslim bigotry, visit Shoulder to Shoulder’s website at

Theological Studies Curriculum

BSF3006Islamic Leadership and Spirituality
BTS3100The Qur’an: Composition, Collection and Teachings
BTH3025Islamic Theology and Philosophy
ES3021Islamic Law and Legal Theory
BHS3013History of Islam
BMU3009Arabic III*
BMU3010Arabic IV*
TIR3001Interreligious Dialogue and Leadership
BIR3XXXMuslims in Conversation with Christians
BIR3XXXSunni-Shia Relations and Intra-faith Issues
TIS3061Integrative Seminar I – Spring semester first year
TIS3062Integrative Seminar II – Fall semester second year
TIS3075MA Research Colloquium I – Spring semester first year
TIS3076MA Research Colloquium II – Fall semester second year

Theological Discipline Curriculum

TSC3004Theories and Practices of Spiritual Care
TIR3001Interreligious Dialogue and Leadership
THC3007History of World Christianities
TEC3001Introduction to Christian Ethics
THB3007The Hebrew Bible in Context: An Introduction
TNT3003The New Testament in Context: An Introduction
Systematic Theology

Interdisciplinary Or Comparative Studies Curriculum

TIR3001Interreligious Dialogue and Leadership
TIS3075MA Research Colloquium I – Spring semester first year
TIS3076MA Research Colloquium II – Fall semester second year