Seattle Pacific Seminary

Master of Arts in Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies

Defining Theological Education Through Academy, Abbey, and Apostolate

The Master of Arts in Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies degree program focuses on the classical theological disciplines of Scripture, church history, theology, and ethics, and reflects Seattle Pacific University’s vision to engage the culture and change the world with the transforming gospel of Jesus Christ. If you select the MA-RIS degree, you will combine a core study of general theology with specialized study in theology with an emphasis in gender, race, culture, and reconciliation.

At a Glance

  • check mark icon Upcoming Application Deadline 11/15/2019 for Winter Quarter
  • check mark icon Accreditation

    Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS)

  • check mark icon Minimum Time to Completion

    Two years

  • check mark icon Format

    On campus, with weeklong intensive at Camp Casey on Whidbey Island

  • check mark icon Credits to Graduate

    78 credits

Program Overview

About the program


The Master of Arts in Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies degree program prepares Christian leaders to minister effectively in a diverse, global society.

Rooted in God’s mission that the Church should be an agent of reconciliation, this track explores the connections between cultural, theological, social, and missiological perspectives that promote reconciliation in a divided world. There is no doubt that the world desperately needs Christian leaders who are socially relevant, interculturally competent, and theologically grounded.

Benefits

  1. Multicultural
    Students will be equipped to pursue ministry careers upon graduation as pastors of multicultural churches, directors of multiethnic ministries, campus ministers, directors or pastors of outreach, and leaders of missions of compassion and justice.

  2. Nonprofit leadership
    Graduates will likewise be equipped to pursue careers in organizational positions with nonprofits, urban ministries, NGOs, and global peace and development agencies.

  3. Serving a hurting world
    As student in this program, you will develop the knowledge, skills, and multicultural sensitivities to understand the Christian faith and put it into faithful and effective practice in a hurting world.

  4. Personal growth
    You will also experience rich opportunities for worship, fellowship, and personal spiritual growth in the context of SPU's evangelical Wesleyan heritage.

Requirements

The MA degree requires you to complete 78 credits. Forty-two are taken in the core curriculum common to all Seattle Pacific Seminary degree programs. This curriculum consists of three 2-credit intensive courses in spiritual formation and mission, and three courses each in Bible, church history, and theology/ethics, and a year-long practicum that encourages reflection on the core curriculum in light of the student’s own spiritual life and ministry context. The remaining credits focus on the degree concentration and related theological disciplines. The capstone of the degree program is a 3-credit contextual project.

MA-RIS tracking sheet for student matriculating before autumn 2017 (PDF)
MA-RIS tracking sheet for students matriculating after autumn 2017 (PDF)

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Curriculum

Curriculum

Like the other MA degree programs, the Master of Arts in Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies consists of 78 quarter credits (i.e., 52 semester credits) of coursework.

  • The first 42 quarter credits are in a core curriculum upon which all graduate programs in the Seattle Pacific Seminary are based.
  • The core curriculum consists of three courses each in Christian Formation, Christian Scripture, Global Christian Heritage, Theology/Ethics and Graduate Core Practicum, and one course in Vocational Discernment and Discipleship.
  • Of the remaining 36 credits, 30 credits are in a variety of program-specific courses (mainly electives) in Bible and theology, and six credits are in a faculty-supervised master’s thesis.

You may transfer easily from this degree program to any of the other MA degree programs, or to the Master of Divinity program, if your professional objectives change during your course of study.

University and program requirements for admission into any of the MA in theology programs include:

  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Applicants must have had a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 in the last 45 quarter credits (30 semester credits) of course work completed before applying for admission or in all undergraduate work, whichever is higher.
  • Successful submission of all other materials and documents required for admission.
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Costs

2019–20 tuition and fees

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$568

per credit

Total $44,304 minimum
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$50; $150

application fee; one-time matriculation fee

See additional fee details.
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78 credits

to complete

All tuition, fees, and other charges stated are payable in U.S. dollars ($US).

In addition to direct instructional costs, Seattle Pacific Seminary’s Master of Arts in Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies tuition covers academic and student support services. Other benefits include use of athletic facilities (e.g., gym, locker room, and fitness rooms), the SPU Library, and the Kingswood House.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Scholarship and other financial aid is offered to newly admitted and continuing students of SPS. For eligibility requirements, download the SPS Scholarship application. To apply for a scholarship, you should complete the application prior to the March 31 deadline. Scholarships will be distributed evenly across the Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters of the academic year for which a scholarship is awarded.

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Application Info

Application info

Admission to Seattle Pacific Seminary is a two-way process of discernment. You, the applicant, must determine whether SPS offers the kind of theological education and spiritual formation appropriate to your vocational objectives. You do so by studying our promotional materials, by visiting campus (if possible), by talking with our faculty, staff, and students, by praying for God’s guidance, and by consulting with trusted spiritual advisors. Conversely, the SPS Admissions Committee must determine whether you are spiritually and academically prepared to succeed in one of our programs. We do so by carefully and prayerfully studying your application materials and by assessing how your gifts, graces, and sense of vocation fit with the mission and ethos of the Seminary. We admit women and men who can demonstrate a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ, a commitment to the proclamation of the reign of God, an ability to succeed academically in master’s level work, and an emotional and spiritual readiness to undertake graduate theological study.

To be considered for admission into the Master of Arts in Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies, you must apply online. Find the help you need with the admissions process of the program of your choice through Graduate Admissions

If you are an international student, also refer to International Graduate Students information about additional admission requirements. 

With your online application, include these items specific to Seattle Pacific Seminary:

A typed, three- to four-page personal statement, including:

  • Your career objectives.
  • A narrative of your personal Christian experience. In your personal statement, you may consider reflecting on those people (e.g., parents, pastors, friends, teachers), institutions (e.g., schools, congregations, ministries), and/or "mountaintop experiences" (e.g., retreats, conferences, life-changing conversations) that have most influenced your spiritual growth.
  • Your rationale for seeking the degree and choosing Seattle Pacific Seminary.
  • Other insights you deem appropriate.

Two letters of recommendation

(Forms are downloadable from the application page or available from Graduate Admissions.)

We ask you to secure letters of recommendation from two persons, both of whom know you well, but in different capacities, and who can therefore speak to different aspects of your preparedness for the challenges of graduate theological education.

  1. Spiritual/emotional preparedness: This letter should be from a pastor, church staff person, chaplain, parachurch professional, youth leader, Bible study leader or college religion professor. It should describe the depth of your Christian faith, as evidenced by the way you live your life, serve your neighbors, and participate in the ministry of a Christian community (local congregation, parachurch organization, chapel program, etc.).
  2. Academic Preparedness: This letter should be from a former college professor who knows your academic work well and can describe your intellectual curiosity and your skills in research, writing, critical thinking, problem-solving, and time management. If you cannot secure a letter from a former professor, a letter from an employer or manager who can address these matters will be accepted with approval from the Seminary's Academic Dean (lcsholmes@spu.edu); in such cases, an interview may be required. You may request permission to submit an alternative letter of reference by emailing seminary@spu.edu.

Transfer credits

If you wish to apply graduate-level coursework completed at a regionally accredited university or an ATS-accredited divinity school or seminary toward your MA in theology program, you must provide official transcript(s) and, in some cases, course syllabi. You may transfer up to 27 quarter credits from other graduate programs. To receive transfer credit:

  • Each course must be at least 3 graduate-quarter credits and be equivalent to courses taught in the Seattle Pacific Seminary.
  • Each course will be considered on a case-by-case basis as to the fulfillment of specific curricular requirements.
  • A minimum grade of B will be needed for transferred work.
  • All courses applied toward the graduate degree must be taken within seven years of admission.
  • In all cases, the final 27 MA in Theology credits must be taken at SPU.

Application deadlines

Students can apply to Seattle Pacific Seminary to begin Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters, and to begin during Summer Sessions, though most students choose to begin their program in Autumn Quarter.

  • Autumn Quarter (courses begin in September), the application deadline is July 31.
  • Winter Quarter (courses begin in January), the application deadline is November 15.
  • Spring Quarter (courses begin in March), the application deadline is February 15.
  • Summer Sessions (courses begin in June), the application deadline is May 1.

Non-degree students

You may take up to nine credits of graduate theology courses as a non-degree student, if you:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Fill out a short application form with the Seattle Pacific Seminary office.
  • Receive permission from the dean or associate dean of the School of Theology.

Contact the Seattle Pacific Seminary at seminary@spu.edu or 206-281-2342 for more information.

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Career Opportunities

Career opportunities

Students will be equipped to pursue ministry careers upon graduation from this master’s program as pastors of multicultural churches, directors of multiethnic ministries, campus ministers, director or pastor of outreach, missions, compassion and justice; and organizational positions with nonprofits, urban ministries, NGOs, and global peace and development agencies.

Job leads

Supporting the careers of our Seminary students and alumni is a high priority for Seattle Pacific Seminary. The following career resources are available:

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International Students

International Students

In addition to the SPU general and Seminary’s additional admission requirements for the Master of Arts in Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies, international students must also submit:

  • An official confidential affidavit of financial support covering the first year of intended enrollment. Without this document, SPU cannot issue an I-20 immigration form.
  • Students holding undergraduate or graduate degrees from colleges, universities and/or seminaries located outside the U.S. are expected to have their transcripts evaluated by a professional credential agency. Such an evaluation is required before an application for admission to SPS can be granted and before any graduate credits taken elsewhere can be applied to an SPS degree.
  • If you earned an undergraduate degree in a country other than the United States, or your degree is in progress, an official course-by-course credential evaluation must be submitted from a NACES member-recognized credential service. Acceptable credential services include, but are not limited to, World Education Services (WES) and Foundation for International Services (FIS).
  • In addition to the evaluation report, we also require official transcripts and diplomas to be submitted, in English. International applicants are responsible for all costs associated with this service.
  •  English language proficiency: If you do not speak English as your first language, you must also submit scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A minimum score of 600 on the TOFEL paper or 250 on the TOEFL-CBT, or 100 on the TOEFL-iBT is required. ACE scores will not be accepted.
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