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The policies that are specific to the Master of Arts Program are below. Please also see the Academic Policies for Graduate Programs.
Students who fail to maintain a 2.66 Grade Point Average either with respect to their cumulative work, or in the work of a given semester, are placed on academic probation. Students are notified of this in writing. As a condition of academic probation, students will be required to meet with the Hartford Seminary Writing Consultant for a minimum of ten hours each semester until her/his cumulative average resumes a non-probation level. The purpose of the meetings will be to focus on written work in current or incomplete courses. The program of a student who continues on academic probation for two consecutive semesters will be terminated. (Students who are recipents of federal financial aid should refer to the Financial Aid section of this Catalogue for the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.)
Up to six “Advanced Standing” credits may be awarded toward the Master of Arts degree after the completion of at least one semester as an enrolled student at Hartford Seminary. The purpose of granting this credit is to acknowledge significant learning outside the context of a traditional graduate degree program. Credit is awarded by the Academic Policy Committee upon petition by the student and is applied toward the elective requirement. The petition must include a detailed record of the work or learning experiences for which credit is sought, accompanied by supporting documentation, and articulate how these experiences have increased the student’s level of understanding and ability to meet a personal, career, or ministry goal. Experiences must be within 10 years of the date of petition in order to be eligible for credit. Students seeking to apply for Advanced Standing credit should obtain the Guidelines for Requesting Advanced Standing Credit (available through the online Student Forms Center or on site at 77 Sherman Street, 2nd floor) and consult with their faculty advisor, who must provide a letter of support for the petition.
Black Ministries Program/Hispanic Ministries Program - Students who have completed the eight course curriculum required for Hartford Seminary’s Black Ministries Program or Hispanic Ministries Programa certificate programs may submit a single petition for six credits under the Advanced Standing provision. The petition may omit the description and curriculum elements requested in the Advanced Standing Guidelines as part of the petition but must include the summary of learning and evaluation elements. Supporting documents should include the final course report (available from the Registrar) and one sample of what the student considers his or her best work from assignments completed as part of the certificate program.
Clinical Pastoral Education is an experience-based learning program that combines work in hospital chaplaincy with small group reflection under the supervision of a certified chaplain. There are several good CPE programs in the region. Students who complete CPE may request that the Seminary (via a letter with documentation to the Academic Policy Committee) apply one unit of CPE toward 3 credits in their M.A. program under the Seminary’s Advanced Standing Guidelines. Up to 6 credits may be granted. For more information about CPE, see the Seminary Academic Advisor.
The course schedule is designed to accommodate persons whose availability may be limited due to work, life and ministry commitments. Many classes meet once a week in the late afternoons or evenings. Some courses are offered during the day or, on occasion, in a Friday evening/all day Saturday format. The Seminary also offers 4-5 online courses per academic year. Master of Arts students are welcome to take any course offered on our schedule that is designated with a 500 or 600 course number as long as designated prerequisites have been met.
Students who have not declared a focused area of study at the time of their application and admission must do so no later than the completion of 24 credits. At that point, students will be reassigned, if necessary, to a faculty advisor in the area of the focused study. Together, the student and the faculty advisor will complete a program of study worksheet for the student’s degree program.
Students in the Master of Arts who have completed all courses required for their degree must enroll in their final requirement course within two regular semesters. Students who are at this stage and wish to defer working on their final requirement may postpone enrolling in their final requirement and take advantage of the Program Continuation provision (see Program Continuation Fee in the Academic Policies for Graduate Programs) for no more than one semester. Students taking a six-credit final requirement (M.A. thesis) option may choose to register for three credits for each of two consecutive regular semesters. Students requiring additional semesters to complete the final requirement beyond the semester(s) in which they have registered for the final requirement credits must pay the program extension fee (see Program Extension Fee in the Academic Policies for Graduate Programs.) If a student finds they cannot proceed with the final requirement within these time frames due to serious life difficulties, they must, after consulting with the faculty advisor, request a leave of absence from the Academic Policy Committee in order to be considered for an exemption from this requirement.
All course work must be completed, all grades reported to the Registrar, and all financial obligations to the Seminary must be met before final requirement oral examinations may be taken. This includes the oral examination of a final paper, project, or thesis. Students planning to schedule their final oral examination must contact the Executive Assistant to the Dean at least four weeks prior to the proposed exam date and must complete the final oral examination checklist before the exam may be scheduled.
For the Master of Arts degree program, the Hartford Seminary Grading Guidelines approved by the faculty in April 1996 stipulate the following:
- +/- indicates strength or weakness within a letter grade. Grades range from A to C and F; A+’s and C-’s are not part of the grading system.
- A(4.00), A-(3.66), B+(3.33), B(3.00), B-(2.66), C+(2.33), C(2.00) and F(0.00).
- A grade point average of no less than B- (2.66) is required to maintain good standing in the Master of Arts program.
- The minimum G.P.A. required for graduation in the Master of Arts program is 2.75.
- Students who fail to maintain a 2.66 G.P.A. either with respect to their cumulative work, or in the work of a given semester, are placed on academic probation. The program of the student who continues on academic probation for two consecutive semesters will be terminated.
A faculty member, with the approval of the Dean, may determine that a specific course be graded on a Pass-Fail basis. Courses graded on a Pass-Fail basis do not figure into the grade point average.
Master of Arts degrees are awarded at Hartford Seminary’s graduation ceremony in late spring. (Please see Academic Calendar for exact date.)
Hartford Seminary offers Master’s level courses in Arabic, New Testament Greek and occasionally, Hebrew. Up to 12 credits of language courses taken at Hartford Seminary may count toward the 48 credits required for the Master of Arts degree. Persons interested in taking language courses for credit should consult beforehand with their faculty advisor.
Students who find it necessary to interrupt their planned program of study due to serious life difficulties (medical, family, employment, etc.) may request a leave of absence by submitting a petition through their faculty advisor to the Academic Policy Committee. This petition should include reasons for seeking a leave and a schedule for resuming study. When the Committee has made a decision, the student will receive a letter informing her or him of the decision. Leaves are not granted for more than one academic year. All requirements for the Master of Arts degree must be completed within six years. (Students who are recipents of federal financial aid should refer to the Financial Aid section of this Catalogue for additional leave of absence stipulations.)
Students who have not received an approved leave of absence, registered for a course or paid a program continuation fee or program extension fee (see Academic Policies for Graduate Programs for descriptions of these fees and the policies governing them) for four consecutive academic semesters will be removed from the program with notification. A student who has been inactive within this period may reactivate by petitioning the Academic Policy Committee and paying any unpaid tuition or fees within 30 days.
Hartford Seminary requires that at least 24 credits of the 48 required for the Master of Arts degree be taken in courses taught in the classroom on the Hartford Seminary campus. This allows for up to half of the credits required for the degree to be taken in a combination of the following formats: off-site courses, on-line courses, independent study, Advanced Standing, transfer credits, travel seminars, field education, final project/paper/thesis.
Students who have taken graduate level courses in religion from an accredited institution that have not been applied toward a previous degree may ask for these courses to be applied toward their Master of Arts degree. In order to be considered eligible for transfer, these credits must have been earned within ten years prior to initial enrollment as a matriculated student at Hartford Seminary or taken while the student is pursuing their degree at Hartford Seminary. Students may receive up to 18 credits of transfer credit. Any course taken at another institution while a student is enrolled at Hartford Seminary must be pre-approved by the student’s advisor and the Dean (students must complete the Transfer Credit Pre-approval form). The total credit awarded for Advanced Standing and transfer credit combined may not exceed 18 credits.
Hartford Seminary encourages students to consider opportunities for exposure to the international context of religious life. Hartford Seminary periodically sponsors travel seminars that provide participants with an opportunity to learn more about the major religions of the world as they co-exist in regions of shared historic experience and contemporary struggle. Information about upcoming travel seminars is available from the Registrar.
Hartford Seminary is committed to providing our students with the tools they need to successfully complete our program. One service we offer is writing assistance. Writing assistance services may consist of individualized work with a Writing Consultant or group workshops. Writing assistance is available to all matriculated students upon request, and at no charge. Writing assistance may also be recommended to newly admitted students by the Admissions Committee, or recommended to enrolled students by the Faculty. Further information about these services is available from the Dean’s Office.