Upon satisfactory completion of the requirements for graduation, Wheaton College confers upon the student the degree of Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Teaching, Doctor of Philosophy, or Doctor of Psychology.

A certificate of post-baccalaureate study will be awarded to those students who complete specific certificate program requirements. Certificate students are subject to the same academic standards as M.A. students, and a 2.80 cumulative GPA is required.

A student is subject to the requirements listed in the catalog for the year in which the first enrollment occurred or to the requirements of a subsequent catalog under which the student is enrolled for credit as a degree-seeking student. All requirements must be met, however, under the same catalog.

A student who completes degree or certificate requirements in December, May, or August may participate in the annual May Commencement unless the academic department prescribes restrictions on participation, and will receive the diploma or certificate when all requirements are finished.

In a graduate school setting, research is of critical importance. The student is expected not only to reach a certain level of expertise in a chosen field of interest, but also to contribute to the ever-expanding fund of knowledge that this field encompasses. The research involved in that contribution is to be of the highest order in terms of theory, as well as technique, with excellence at every stage as its proximate and ultimate goals. It is only as such standards are applied and such results attained that the term graduate can be used properly to describe an educational experience. For this reason research projects, theses, and internships are an integral part of the graduate program.

Graduation Requirements for Master of Arts

(Note: Graduate students should consult the appropriate handbook for additional information on graduation, candidacy status, research project requirements, as well as various procedures and protocols in the Graduate School.

The following requirements must be met for graduation:

  • A minimum of six semester hours must be taken in Bible and Theology courses. The courses are to be taken in residence at Wheaton College, and are to be selected only from the approved list noted later in this section of the catalog.
  • A cumulative grade point average of 2.80 must be maintained for all courses taken which apply toward the degree.
  • The requirements for courses for one specific graduate program must be satisfactorily completed. Courses must be selected from course numbers 500-699. Unless otherwise limited by the academic program, and with advisor and course instructor approval, up to eight credits of 300- and 400-level courses can be applied toward a master's degree.
  • Normally, courses taken at Wheaton College will be selected from regularly scheduled courses. However, a maximum of eight credits (four credits in the Biblical and Theological Studies programs, and Christian Formation and Ministry program) may be taken as independent study courses (listed as 695) and/or tutorial courses. A course is considered a tutorial when it is listed in the catalog but taken in a semester when it is not being offered. Permission to take an independent study course is normally granted only when the student can demonstrate why the particular 695 course is needed to fulfill a requirement in the student's program. These courses must meet strict guidelines and be approved by both the course instructor and the department chair.
  • At least 75% of the total hours required for a degree program must be taken from Wheaton College. With department approval, up to 25% of the program can be graduate-level transfer or distributed learning credit, including Wheaton College distributed learning courses. Courses in which the grade was lower than B- cannot be transferred. Grades from transferred courses are not used when determining a student's cumulative grade point average at Wheaton. Credits from a conferred master’s degree cannot be transferred. Courses taken more than eight years prior to enrollment at Wheaton may not be transferable. Students must complete their last semester of study at Wheaton.
  • Some programs require that a comprehensive examination must be taken and successfully passed.
  • An Application for Degree must be submitted to the Registrar's Office according to announced deadline dates.
  • All requirements for the Master of Arts degree must be completed within five years from the date of entrance if done in regular academic sessions. Master’s degree students are expected to complete all program requirements within the allotted time limits of their degree; however, they are not necessarily expected to maintain continuous enrollment throughout their course of study at Wheaton College.

Second Degree

Currently enrolled M.A. students may apply for a second degree in the following programs: Biblical Studies, Theology, History of Christianity, Christian Formation & Ministry, Counseling Ministries, Evangelism & Leadership, Intercultural Studies, Intercultural Studies & TESOL, or either of the Graduate Certificate programs. The following degrees require a complete application due to the selective nature of the programs: Biblical Archaeology, Biblical Exegesis Clinical Psychology.

It is not possible to enroll in two M.A. degree programs at the same time. The entry term of your second degree must be after the final semester of your first degree.

Currently enrolled Psy.D. students may apply for a second degree in Biblical Studies after completing the first year in the Psy.D. program.


Students must submit an approved masters’ degree program plan to achieve candidacy status by the time they have completed 12 semester hours at Wheaton. Students who are not accepted into candidacy by departmental vote at that point in their program cannot register for additional degree courses without special permission.

To receive candidacy status, students must submit a degree program plan (also known as a candidacy plan), pass the academic department vote, complete all program deficiency and prerequisite courses, and have at least a 2.80 grade point average.

Biblical and Theological Studies Requirement (TSR)

All students are required to take at least six semester hours in Biblical and Theological Studies courses as part of their master’s degree program at Wheaton. Building on foundational biblical and theological knowledge, this Biblical and Theological Studies (TSR) requirement, supported by the integrative focus of all of the graduate programs, prepares students to:

  • Employ appropriate hermeneutical methodology in the accurate interpretation and application of biblical texts;
  • Evaluate and construct theological statements and systems for congruence with Scripture and historical Christian orthodoxy;
  • Evaluate presuppositions, positions, and systems in their disciplines for congruence with Scripture and historic Christian orthodoxy.

All non-Bible and Theology master’s-level students must select one course from the Category I list:

Category I
BITH 565Christian Theology4
BITH 566Foundations for Biblical Interpretation4
BITH 576History of Christianity to 19004

Students entering the graduate program with an M.Div. (or comparable M.A.) degree, or in some cases students who have had previous documented graduate-level courses with significant content overlap, may be granted permission to substitute one of the following for the Category I TSR course:

BITH 577World Christianity4
BITH 638Old Testament Theology4
BITH 648New Testament Theology4
BITH 675Advanced Systematic Theology4

as well as one course from the academic discipline-specific Category II list:

Category II
BITH 521Theology Of Education (required for the Master of Arts in Teaching program)2
BITH 561Theological Anthropology (required for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy programs)2
EVAN 526Gospel: Theological Perspectives on Evangelism and Renewal (required for the Evangelism & Leadership program)4
HESD 512Bible in Ministry (required for the Higher Education and Student Development program)2
INTR 531Theological Foundations (required for the Intercultural Studies program)2
OAL 662Theology and Practice of Outdoor Ministry (required for the Outdoor and Adventure Leadership program)4

Students who have completed a previous Master of Arts degree at Wheaton College may use the 4 credit Category I TSR course that was taken in their first M.A. degree toward their second M.A. degree at Wheaton College.  However, the typically 2 credit Category II TSR course is not transferrable from the first M.A. to the second M.A. degree.

Students who completed a previous M.A. or comparable degree at another institution must still complete both the 4 credit Category I TSR course and the 2 credit Category II course at Wheaton College in order to fulfill the complete 6 credit TSR requirement.