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, and to train students to be highly effective teachers of theology at the high school level. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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 material 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.