Master of Arts in Archaeology and Biblical Studies: Program Details

Master of Arts in Archaeology and Biblical Studies Degree Program Overview PDF

Purpose of the Degree
The purpose of the degree of Master of Arts in Archaeology and Biblical Studies is to offer graduate level degree offering advanced work in classical archaeological disciplines: Archaeological methods, fieldwork, archaeology, history and backgrounds of Bible lands, ancient biblical and cognate language 1The MA in Archaeology and Biblical Studies is a degree, unlike the MDiv, that is designed specifically to train students to utilize the social sciences in biblical interpretation. Students will not take any of the pastoral ministry, missions, nor exegetical courses of a typical seminary program. Nevertheless, it is expected that candidates will have a strong Christian calling and purpose for ministry. Students are prepared to control both disciplines-Archaeology and Biblical Studies-thus preparing our graduates to pursue an advanced degree in a broad range of programs or teach in a humanities based discipline, bible college, or a seminary. Students will take courses from the following disciplines: anthropology, archaeology, archaeological method and theory, history, and language.

The target audience for the Master of Arts in Archaeology and Biblical Studies degree are those students who desire an intensive program of biblical studies, the ability to function professionally in the field of archaeology and/or pursue further academic work at the doctoral level.

Primary Goals of the Program
The Southwestern Master of Arts in Archaeology and Biblical Studies program seeks to produce students who: 1) Have a broad based training in the Humanities; 2) are introduced to methods and theories in social sciences and their contributions to biblical studies; have practical training in field archaeology and material studies; are competent to integrate archaeological data into the interpretation of the Bible; and 5) think and behave Christianly and practice both personal and corporate spiritual disciplines.

As a result of the goals listed above, students who complete the Southwestern Master of Arts in Archaeology and Biblical Studies will accomplish the following four Student Learning Outcomes:
1.Students are required to complete courses in Anthropology, History, Archaeology, and Geography.
2.During their MA program, students will have over 300 hours of internship in field schools, museum studies, and/or labwork.
3.Students will be required to have at least one (1) excavation season.
4.Students will become active members in the scholarly guild and be exposed to current research in the discipline.

The goals and student learning outcomes are designed to address the following priorities.
Core Knowledge-students will have a wide range of knowledge about the disciplines of archaeology and biblical archaeology, specifically how these disciplines interface. They will become familiar with key concepts, terms, and theories.

Skill acquisition-students will be required to learn in a real world setting by participating in a field school overseas in the Middle East. They will also be required to take a minimum of two lab courses that require them to process and handle material culture. This skill acquisition will be facilitated by the holdings of the Charles D. Tandy Museum and the Tel Gezer Archaeological Field School.

Career Orientation-students are informed that the MA in Archaeology and Biblical Studies is not designed as a terminal degree but is a stepping stone for a PhD. The degree requires a thesis which demonstrates their ability to conduct research from primary data and engage with theories and methods in the larger field of biblical archaeology. The thesis facilitates and makes them competitive and attractive candidates for PhD programs. The faculty counsel and encourage students to become members of the professional guild. In addition, students are encouraged to become members of professional organizations and attend and present papers at national and regional meetings of the profession. The thesis requires students to submit a curriculum vitae and their future potential for research and goals are discussed at the thesis defense.

Lifelong learning-students will leave our program with a plan and an ethos for learning throughout the rest of their lives with emphasis upon adapting to the changing modern world.

Christian worldview and engagement-students will understand the importance of coalescing their academic achievements in the context of their service to the church, denomination and body of Christ. This priority is enhanced by the participation of of chapel and the spiritual life of the student body on campus. They will also become active members of a local church. This priority is facilitated by the required courses: Spiritual Formation 1 and 2 (SPFTH 3101 and 3111).

Program Content, Duration, and Location
Students will participate in a curriculum that requires them to take courses in at least five (5) disciplines: archaeology, anthropology, sociology, history, and ancient languages.

The degree is made up of 56 hours of course work including 21 hours of archaeology and archaeological method, 15 hours of biblical backgrounds and history, 6 hours of biblical and cognate languages, 6 hours of electives, 2 hours of spiritual formation and 6 hours of thesis preparation. Courses will include both classroom lecture format and field work components. As a part of the degree requirements students will participate during the summer months in the excavation of an archaeological dig site in Gezer. Dr. Steven Ortiz is the supervisor of the work at this site.

Students will complete a thesis as a part of the elective requirements for the degree. The MA(ABS) thesis should demonstrate the student's ability to design a viable research project, pursue the research in relative independence, and write with clarity and force. An acceptable thesis should go beyond the description of data and include critical evaluation and interpretive judgment. The thesis addresses a topic for which the student has devoted a significant number of elective hours. Along with the thesis the student submits a CV.

The study of languages is required for the Master of Arts in Archaeology and Biblical Studies. Prerequisites for the program require nine (9) units of biblical Hebrew (one and ½ academic years) and twelve (12) units of New Testament Greek (two academic years). Students are not required to have completed these languages upon acceptance into the program but they are required to have taken these language requirements by the completion of their graduate program. In addition, the program of study requires an additional six units (two courses) of biblical and cognate language study that requires one of these languages as a prerequisite for the course.

The degree requires two academic years of full-time study (ca. 12 hours a semester). If students do not come with the required prerequisites, an additional year of study would be required. The prerequisites are not required to be completed prior to starting the MA program with the exception of those courses that require prerequisites to take. It is possible to enter the MA program without prerequisites and hence complete the degree in three years if the student takes a course of study that accounts for taking the prerequisite courses early in their matriculation so that they will not be hindered from taking advanced courses at the end of their studies.