Study Format

  • Online

Program Length

  • 33 Credit Hours
  • 6 Semesters

Application Deadlines

Aug, 19

Domestic Students

Fall 2020 Completed File Due. Classes start August 24, 2020.

Jul, 06

International Students

Fall 2020 Completed File Due. Classes start August 24, 2020.


The Master of Arts in Religion (MAR) capitalizes on the rich Lutheran confession of Concordia University Chicago (CUC). It is an ideal way for church workers and laypersons to enrich their understanding of the Bible and Christian theology in an online format designed for people who work full time.

The program is taught in cohort groups who move through the 11 courses together. Each course is eight weeks in length; one course is taken at a time. Students may begin study in the fall or spring semester. No courses are taught in the summer.

Who benefits from the Master of Arts in Religion?

  • Lutheran educators, deaconesses, Directors of Christian Education, missionaries, church workers and laypersons. Holding an advanced degree may help LCMS church workers receive increased benefits from their employers.
  • Informed Christian lay persons from any denomination who desire faithful, Confessional study of theology from professors who believe the Bible to be inerrant and authoritative.
  • Retirees who wish to study God’s Word and Lutheran doctrine.
  • Spouses of Lutheran church workers may utilize this education for effective service in their congregation.

Who teaches the courses?

Courses are taught by CUC’s theology professors. Our theologians are all ordained pastors in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) who hold advanced degrees and teach in their areas of specialty. Because the online format allows us to find the best professors from across the country, some courses may be taught by adjunct ordained LCMS theologians.

What are the program prerequisites?

Basic courses in Lutheran studies of the Old Testament, New Testament and Lutheran Doctrine are required before full acceptance into the MAR is granted. Prior to acceptance, students who have not previously taken these basic courses will need to do so at the undergraduate level or demonstrate competency in these areas. Competency exams are available.

Master of Arts in Religion with Deaconess Certification

Most Master of Arts in Religion with Deaconess Certification full-time students complete the academic requirements in 2 years and then complete a 1-year paid internship.
Courses are in Old and New Testament, Christian faith, Christian history, world religions, and biblical studies.

Deaconess Specialization:
Deaconess classes in skills, foundations, field experience, grief, counseling, leadership, youth work, and teaching.

Concentration 1:
Psychology, social work, sociology, language, church music, nursing, youth ministry, family ministry, missions, parish education, management, or other, as approved by the Deaconess Program Director and Theology Department Chairperson.

Concentration 2:
Can be continuing study in the same area as Concentration 1 or a different area.

Paid Internship:
Internship classes and seminar 

Supplemental Coursework or Requirements:

  • Two annual Deaconess Conferences
  • Deaconess community participation
  • Supplemental requirements may be assigned to address unique student needs.

Additional requirements for the MA, Religion
Research & Capstone Experience

Application to the Deaconess Program is separate from Concordia University Chicago's application.


Program Information

Biblical Theology

Psalms
Messianic Prophecies
Parables of Jesus
General Epistles

Historical Theology

Early Christian Fathers
Topics in the History of Christianity

Confessional Theology

Lutheran Confessional Theology
Baptism and Eucharist

Practical Theology

The Christian in Society
Moral, Ethical and Spiritual Development of the Child

Research and Writing in area of Student Interest

Applied Research in Theology (16-week capstone)

This culminating capstone highlights the candidate’s mastery of content throughout his or her studies and focuses it on a particular area of interest. The topic is chosen by the student and may be from any area of theology and/or practice. The mentor guides and directs the student through the process of research, writing and presentation.  

Seminar in Higher Education (EDU 6015)

In addition to the base program curriculum, international students attending face-to-face classes on the CUC campus are required to take the Seminar in Higher Education, a 3-credit course.

Course Description

This course will serve as an introduction to the U.S.-based higher education learning environment. Students will work to understand Concordia University Chicago’s academic conventions, technological systems and communication culture while developing English grammar, reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.

The Seminar in Higher Education is an excellent opportunity for students to further develop critical skills to help them to be successful in their academic program. This 3-credit course is mandatory for international students attending face-to-face classes on the CUC campus. 

Course Objectives

  • Developing knowledge about local and academic culture
  • Building grammar, reading, writing, speaking and listening skills
  • Conducting graduate-level research with the use of electronic and library resources
  • Developing note-taking strategies for coursework
  • Reflecting on the U.S.-based education system

Academic support for work in students’ current coursework will also be provided during or after class. Guest speakers include representatives from the campus library, writing center and technology services.

Student feedback for the Seminar in Higher Education

  • After taking the Seminar, I have the ability to perform more professionally in my assignments.

  • The instructor was very dynamic and a good listener. He gave feedback and made sure all the students understood.

  • The hands-on activities after the lessons helped my learning experience.

  • The professor truly cares for the students. He helps students individually and encourages us to support our peers.


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