Approved October 15, 1997
Revised November 9, 2004
As part of the requirements for graduation, all M.A. students in theology must write and “defend” (within one year from the date of completion of course work) a comprehensive theological essay, unless they have chosen to write a Master’s thesis. The comprehensive essay is usually written toward the end of one’s graduate course work. Students must write one essay (approximately 30 pages). Ordinarily, students should discuss possible topics with the department chairperson shortly after completing one-half of their coursework. The guidelines to be followed in preparing the essay include the following:
Content of Essay:
• The essay should synthesize several themes encountered in one’s coursework or should focus on one theme, exploring that theme with resources drawn from courses in several theological disciplines, such as scripture studies, history, systematic theology, etc. Example: A student wrote a thirty-page paper on “christology from below,” using information and insights drawn from scripture, contemporary systematic theology, spirituality, and ethics.
• The topic of the essay must be approved by the faculty adviser for the essay.
• The essay should state its thesis clearly and develop it in a coherent and appropriately comprehensive fashion. The thesis must be supported by solid research. At least five pertinent, theological references must be incorporated into the essay. References drawn from the WorldWideWeb do not count as part of the five references.
• The essay should demonstrate critical analysis, articulate expression, and the ability to make theological connections in a creative way. It is desirable for students to develop their own theological position on the themes explored in the essay.
Format of the Essay:
• The essay must be typewritten or produced on a word processor. The text should be double-spaced with one-inch margins on top,...