Program of Study
Clear Path, Rigorous Process
The Master of Theological Studies is designed to train graduate students for future doctoral work in the various disciplines within the study of theology. Through this process they are encouraged to contemplate the relationship of their faith to the academic life.
The M.T.S. is a 48 credit hour degree, to be completed by taking 12 credits a semester for four contiguous semesters (excluding summer). All students apply to and are admitted to one of the five areas of concentration. Ultimately students receive exposure to the full range of theological studies, while developing competence in an area of concentration. A list of regularly offered courses in each area can be viewed here. Along with two years of full time course work, the M.T.S. also includes participation in the Masters Colloquium and requires that students successfully pass a competency exam in one modern language (by the end of the third semester of course work) and a comprehensive oral exam (at the end of the second year of course work). Biblical Studies and History of Christianity also have ancient language requirements. Information on academic requirements can be found on the Resources for Current Students page, while lists of current and past course offerings can be accessed on the Courses page.
5 Areas of Concentration
In order to introduce every M.T.S. student to the full range of theological education, every M.T.S. student must take at least 6 credit hours in Biblical Studies, 6 credits in the History of Christianity, 3 credits in Systematic Theology, 3 credits in Moral Theology, and 3 credits in Liturgical Studies. There are five areas of concentration, to be constituted by at least 15 credit hours in the area of concentration.
The concentration in Biblical Studies involves 15 credit hours in Biblical Studies, 6 credits in History of Christianity, and 9 credits total in at least two other areas. In place of electives, Biblical Studies students will take 9 credit hours in one ancient language (Greek, Hebrew, or Latin), and 9 credit hours in another ancient language. There is no ancient language exam for the BS concentration.
History of Christianity
The concentration in History of Christianity involves 15 credit hours in History of Christianity (with the possibility of 3 to be taken outside the department), 6 in Biblical Studies, 6 in Systematic Theology, 3 in Moral Theology, 3 in Liturgical Studies and 6 devoted to the study of ancient languages. Nine credit hours will be electives, to be distributed according to the interests of the students, and may include courses outside the Department of Theology (i.e., Philosophy, Medieval Institute, History, Art History, etc.), with the prior approval of the area advisor for the History of Christianity concentration and the MTS Director.
The concentration in Liturgical Studies will involve 15 credit hours in Liturgical Studies, 6 credits in Biblical Studies, 6 credits in History of Christianity, 6 credits in Systematic Theology, 3 credits in Moral Theology, and 6 credits in one ancient language (Latin or Greek), and 6 credits in electives.
The concentration in Moral Theology will involve 15 credit hours in Moral Theology, 9 credits in a second area, 6 credits in a third area, 6 credits in a fourth area, 3 credits in a fifth area, and 9 credits of electives.
The concentration in Systematic Theology will consist of 15 credit hours in Systematic Theology, 6 credits in Biblical Studies, 6 in History of Christianity, 6 in Moral Theology, 6 in Liturgical Studies, and 9 in electives, including 3 credit hours in Judaism.
Several times during the semester all M.T.S students gather to participate in a colloquium presented either by two students or by a student in collaboration with a faculty member. As a group the students choose a particular theme for the upcoming semester’s colloquia (e.g. poverty, Church, inter-religious dialogue, etc.). The colloquia then address this theme from the perspective of the five areas of theological study. Students thereby develop the ability to deliver professional talks on their original research, and learn how the areas of theology are integrated. All M.T.S. students attend the colloquia, which contributes to the community atmosphere of the program. Presentations from recent colloquia can be found on the Resources for Current Students page
Research Language Requirement
All M.T.S. students must pass a Graduate Reading exam in either German or French in order to graduate. Students who already know one of these languages upon admission to the program should take the Graduate Reading exam in that language in their first semester, and acquire a second language during their time in the program, in order to pass an exam in that language as well.
The University offers Intensive language courses in German and French, free of tuition, every summer, with exams at the end of the course. Students who wish to acquire a language other than French or German during their time in the M.T.S. Program may petition the M.T.S. Director for a substitution, based on their future research interests.
Toward the end of the final semester of course work, M.T.S. students must pass an oral exam with a board of three faculty members. The exam measures students’ competency in the area of concentration and their ability to think creatively and synthetically. The topics of the exam are based on materials the students themselves submit: two papers from coursework that reflect the nature of their research interests, the Statement of Intent for applications to Ph.D. programs, and a set of three to five questions which reveal the direction of their theological inquiry.