Santa Clara University

Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley

Master of Arts in Biblical Languages (M.A.B.L.)



The Jesuit School of Theology offers the Masters of Arts in Biblical Languages degree in cooperation with the Graduate Theological Union (GTU). The M.A.B.L. is a two-year specialized program leading to an academic degree in theology. It is designed especially for highly qualified persons planning to pursue doctoral work in biblical studies. The program is also well-suited to persons desiring a terminal degree with a concentration in the biblical languages and a firm background in biblical studies. 

The M.A.B.L. student is required to affiliate with a member school or a participating academic center or institute. The primary academic base for the M.A.B.L. student is the school of affiliation. Once affiliated with the Jesuit School, students are assigned a faculty advisor and are considered members of the Jesuit School community.

Degree Objectives

The Jesuit School's Master of Arts in Biblical Languages is designed to enable graduates to:

  • gain a strong foundation in biblical languages.
  • develop a firm background in biblical studies. 
  • pursue doctoral work in biblical studies. 

Admission Requirements

Navigate to the M.A.B.L. admissions page to learn more about applying to this program. Unlike with other JST programs, when applicants apply to the M.A.B.L. program they apply to the Graduate Theological Union for admission. The M.A.B.L. admissions page directs applicants to the GTU admissions page.


  1. A completed a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution by the time of intend enrollment.
  2. Prospective students are expected to have semester-length introductory courses in both Old and New Testament studies prior to entry.

Degree Requirements

  1. Language Requirements M.A. students with the biblical languages concentration are expected to make progress in at least three languages, two classical and one modern.
  2. Classical Language Proficiency Students are expected to enroll in at least 12 units of coursework for their Major Biblical Language (either Greek or Hebrew); and six units of coursework in their Minor Biblical Language (again, either Greek or Hebrew). In order to meet the language requirement for graduation, the student must maintain at least a B+ average or, through taking the Language Examination offered through the Biblical Studies Area, achieve secondary proficiency in the examination. Students entering the program without previous work in Greek are encouraged to take their first year in the Classics Department at the University of California at Berkeley.  
  3. Modern Language Proficiency Students are also expected to demonstrate proficiency in at least one modern language—French, German, or Spanish. For international students whose first language is not English, English may be their modern language. Modern language examinations are offered through the GTU on a regular basis.  
  4. Coursework in Biblical Studies Students are expected to take at least 18 units of coursework in Biblical Studies at the intermediate and advanced levels (i.e., courses numbered 2000-5000). These courses should be distributed across at least two of the three major blocks of literature in each Testament (Law, Writings, Prophets; Gospels and Acts, Pauline Writings, Johannine Literature and General Epistles); and include at least two seminar courses that require major research essays. Although students may (and may be required to) take introductory courses in Old and New Testaments, these do not count toward graduation requirements.  
  5. Coursework Outside of Biblical Studies Students are expected to take at least 12 units of coursework in other disciplines, normally from the Areas of History, Theology, and Ethics. However, if a student enters with significant background in theology at the undergraduate level or through another graduate degree in theology, these units may be directed toward collateral disciplines offering integrative possibilities with Biblical Studies (e.g., philosophical hermeneutics, social sciences, rhetoric, etc.).  
  6. Oral Examination The completion of the MA in Biblical Languages is marked by an oral examination oriented around the student's overall academic work in the program and a major research essay provided by the student for this purpose.

Advanced Standing

Students with previous, recent language work in Biblical Hebrew or Greek may achieve advanced standing in order to move into more advanced language instruction or to enroll in additional coursework. A determination on this issue will be made by the Coordinator of the MA in Biblical Languages program normally at the time of acceptance and communicated to the student and their Member School dean and advisor subsequent to admission. If a language examination is required, the student will follow the appropriate procedure as outlined in the MA in Biblical Languages section of the Biblical Studies Information Sheet on Biblical Languages (available in the Academic Secretary's office).  

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Laura Nieto

Senior Administrative Assistant for Enrollment and Marketing
(510) 549-5033

Kristin Casey

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(510) 549-5013

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Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
ATTN: Admissions
1735 LeRoy Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709

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