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Undergraduate Programs

Program Requirements

Students completing a bachelor of arts (BA) degree in biblical and theological studies will explore what it means to lead a life of significance and service by learning about God, the Bible and its interpretive issues, and the various historic Christian and religious traditions. Students will develop abilities in biblical, historical, and theological interpretation; critical thinking; and the responsibility of knowledge and faith for shaping behavior.

Major Requirements (BA)

36 hours of major coursework
120 total credits for graduation


  • Up to four hours of coursework in the major may apply to the General Education requirement in Biblical and Theological Studies.
  • GE designates a course that fulfills all or part part of a General Education (G.E.) requirement; BTS 1850 is a prerequisite for every other BTS course.

Minor Requirements

20 semester hours, (Five courses) above BTS 1850


  • Up to four hours of coursework in the minor may apply to the Core Curriculum Requirement in Biblical and Theological Studies.

Academic Catalog  Core Curriculum

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Course Descriptions

The following descriptions are a sample of courses you may take as a BTS major. For a complete list of required courses, please review the academic catalog.

An introductory survey of the history and theology of the biblical narrative as it informs Christian faith today. Particular emphasis on the theological unity of the Bible's message.

The focus of this course is the story of biblical Israel as depicted in the first five books of the Bible, or the Pentateuch. The course will follow closely the concern of the Pentateuch for faith, particularly in relation to the covenant at Mount Sinai and the revelation of the law. Biblical Emphasis-Old Testament.

A historical study of the Hebrew prophets within the economic, political, and social conditions of their time. The significance of the prophetic message for the Hebrew and Christian faiths. Biblical Emphasis-Old Testament.

A survey of the third major division of the Hebrew canon of the Bible, the Writings or Kethubim. The Writings are a miscellaneous collection of books important in understanding the history, faith, and practice of ancient Israel and early Judaism. This in turn is important for understanding the New Testament and the early Church. This course examines the different books of the Writings in their final, canonical form, with attention given to the various theological motifs. Different literary genres present in the collection are studied. The canonical role of the Writings as a collection is also examined. Biblical Emphasis-Old Testament.

The life and teachings of Jesus studied with reference to current research. Explores the "quest for the historical Jesus," the historicity of the gospels, and the method and message of Jesus' teachings. Biblical Emphasis-New Testament.

A reconstruction of the life and letters of the Apostle Paul with reference to current research. Emphasis on Paul's theology of the church (ethics, mission, spirituality) and its practical importance for today. Biblical Emphasis-New Testament.

A study of the Land of Israel in biblical and early post-biblical periods from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Roman Period (13th c. BCE through 4th c. CE). The course will focus on the history of the Holy Land emphasizing Israelite, early Jewish and Christian material presence through the use of historical and archaeological sources. The study will employ multi-media resources to enhance students' classroom experience of the Land. Biblical Emphasis-Old & New Testaments.

A study tour which will introduce students to the diverse cultural, historical and geographical settings of the earliest Christianity of the Greco-Roman world through a first-hand encounter with the material evidence in the ancient cities of Rome, Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy. The on-site exposure will provide the context for investigating the early development of the beliefs and practices that became Christianity in the diverse world of the ancient urban social settings of Roman Empire. The travel portion of the course is required.

A study of the major theological doctrines of the Christian faith, with emphasis on their integration into personal belief. Theological Emphasis.

A study of the moral implications of the Christian faith, with emphasis on their integration into personal belief. Theological Emphasis.

An examination of the nature of Christian spirituality with emphasis on spiritual development and maturity. Relevant literature of a variety of approaches to spirituality will be introduced and evaluated. Theological Emphasis.

A study of the life and thought of C.S. Lewis. Emphasis will be given to his religious ideas, his understanding of Christian doctrine, and his methods of commending the Christian faith by reason and imagination.

The origin and development of Christianity in the world. Traces the institutional and doctrinal developments within the church from the post-apostolic period to the modern era. Theological Emphasis.

A survey of the great Christian thinkers of the West from beginnings to post-modernity. Focus will be placed on distinctly Western forms of Christian thought in the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions, with some attention to the Anabaptist and Evangelical Covenant communities, as well as to emerging feminist and underrepresented theologies.

A survey of the great Christian thinkers of the Eastern (Orthodox) tradition from beginnings to the post-communist era. Focus will be placed on the development of classical Christian faith in the Church Fathers and Ecumencial Councils from the 2nd through 14th centuries, with some attention to contemporary Orthodox thought in the West, including its feminist voices.

Study of the common features and distinctive motifs that characterize some of the main religious traditions Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and others. Emphasis on development of a methodology for reading and interpreting the world's scriptures. Discussion of the relation of Christian to non-Christian religions. Theological Emphasis.

Studies the religious thought of African-Americans employing as a frame of reference the Black Christian church from its beginning during slavery to its maturity in the present day. Includes the ideas of a variety of spiritual leaders such as Jupiter Hammon, David Walker, Marcus Garvey, Father Divine, John Perkins, James Cone, and E.V. Hill. Examines the influence of slavery, emancipation, migration, and White racism on the development of African-American religion. Cross-listed with AS 2840.

This course examines the characteristics of Hebrew poetry in order to study the book of Psalms according to literary types. The Psalter in its final form is studied as a coherent whole in terms of its collection and arrangement, and its varied teachings on faith and practice. Selected individual Psalms are studied in detail through exegesis of the English Bible. Biblical Emphasis-Old Testament.

A literary and exegetical study of Luke and Acts, with special attention to historical setting, ecclesiastical purpose, and theology. Biblical Emphasis-New Testament

A theological and exegetical study of the texts of the Fourth Gospel and the Epistles of John. Special emphasis on the unique contribution of John to biblical theology (especially Christology, eschatology, and pneumatology). Biblical Emphasis-New Testament

A study of the Old and New Testament texts that bear on the roles and status of women. This course reflects on a wide range of historical and theological perspectives relevant to the issues of women, the Bible, and the church. Biblical Emphasis-Old and New Testament.

Exploration of recent trends in the thinking of biblical and systematic theologians. Relevance of theology to modern issues. Theological Emphasis.

A seminar course on selected problems and topics in the area of philosophy of religion, e.g., the phenomenology of religious experience, the truth of religious belief, the existence and attributes of God. Theological Emphasis.

This course, typically offered in the fall semester, is an introduction to foundational biblical themes and understandings of Christian spiritual formation with an emphasis on Christian faith as a journey. This course will seek to integrate the individual and communal elements of spiritual formation, and the personal and public character of the Christian life with an understanding of the student's personal formation journey. The intent of the course is practical, experiential, and formational. Included in the course will be both a teaching component and formation sessions facilitated by a formation leader. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Music in Worship students only.

This course, typically offered in the spring semester, introduces students to a variety of classical and contemporary spiritual practices that are meant to invite the student into a deeper sense of God's presence in their interior lives and in the world around them. The biblical and historical contexts for spiritual practices will be explored and discussed in and out of class session. Spiritual practices will include, but are not limited to, biblical prayer, centering prayer, hospitality, praying and working for justice, self-examination and discernment. The intent of the course is practical, experiential, and formational. Included in the course will be both teaching component and formation group sessions facilitated by a formation leader. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Music in Worship students only.

This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field known as liturgical studies. The course explores the history of Christian worship, liturgical theology, the place of ritual in the life of faith, as well as the application of a praxis-theory-praxis model to the worship concerns of pastoral ministry.

This course will consider the use of the arts in worship using historical examples and liturgical theology paradigms. It will provide a background on each of the worship arts; music, drama, dance, visual arts, media, and architecture/environment. Each art form will be reviewed with suggestions for resources, opportunities to plan and use the different art forms and frameworks for working together in teams and supervising the worship arts. Criteria for theological, liturgical, and aesthetic assessment will be included. The relationship between pastors, worship leaders and worship arts coordinators and the pastoral aspects of leading worship arts teams will all be considered. The course also includes a significant worship team planning and worship leading components applied in the context of the seminary chapel.

An intensive investigation of a selected topic in biblical studies, theology, world religions, or philosophical theology. Extensive reading and research expected. Seminar format.

This is a topics course allowing the BTS department to grant credit for selected courses taken at North Park Theological Seminary.

Limited to fourth-year students majoring in biblical and theological studies, this seminar concentrates on critical reading, writing, and discussion skills. Topics of study will change annually but in each case will explore current research and writing in biblical and theological studies.

Intensive independent study of a topic chosen in consultation with an instructor in the Department of Biblical and Theological Studies. Student must have consent of instructor and division chairperson.

Students will work under the direction of a faculty mentor on a novel research project. Permission of the faculty mentor is required prior to enrollment in this course. This course may be repeated, though the department may limit the number of credit hours this course satisfies towards the major. Please see the departmental degree requirements for details.

Please refer to Internship section of the catalog for internship requirements and guidelines.