Program of Study

The MTS Degree and its Requirements

Six Areas of Concentration

All students apply to and are admitted to one of the six areas of concentration offered by the MTS program. While developing competence in the area of concentration, students also receive exposure to the full range of theological studies, ensuring that their theological work has both breadth and depth. The six areas of concentration are as follows: Biblical Studies, History of Christianity, Liturgical Studies, Moral Theology, Systematic Theology, and World Religions World Church.

Credit Hours/Course Requirements:

The MTS is a 48 credit hour degree. Of these 48 credit hours, 15 must be taken in the area of concentration, which constitutes the student’s MTS major. Another 15 credit hours must be taken outside the area of concentration, with 3 credit hours required for each of the other five areas within the MTS program. The remaining 18 credit hours are “area requirements,” which are determined by each area within the MTS program.

Requirements for the Six Areas of Concentration:

Biblical Studies

The concentration in Biblical Studies requires 15 credit hours in Biblical Studies, 3 credit hours in History of Christianity, 3 credit hours in Liturgical Studies, 3 credit hours in Moral Theology, 3 credit hours in Systematic Theology, and 3 credit hours in World Religions World Church. Students concentrating in Biblical Studies are also required to take 12 credits (four semesters) in ancient languages and to know both Hebrew and Greek. They must have at least an intermediate knowledge (four semesters) of one of these languages and at least an elementary knowledge (two semesters) of the other. Students who enter the MTS program without a good knowledge of ancient languages will need to devote their electives (6 credit hours) to language study.

History of Christianity

The concentration in History of Christianity requires 15 credit hours in History of Christianity, 6 credit hours in ancient languages, 3 credit hours in Biblical Studies, 3 credit hours in Liturgical Studies, 3 credit hours in Moral Theology, 3 credit hours in Systematic Theology, and 3 credit hours in World Religions World Church. The remaining 12 credit hours are electives and may include courses outside the Department of Theology, provided that students have the prior approval of the area advisor for the History of Christianity concentration and the MTS director.

Liturgical Studies

The concentration in Liturgical Studies requires 15 credit hours in Liturgical Studies, 6 credit hours in ancient languages (typically Greek or Latin), 3 credit hours in Biblical Studies, 3 credit hours in History of Christianity, 3 credit hours in Moral Theology, 3 credit hours in Systematic Theology, and 3 credit hours in World Religions World Church. The remaining 12 credit hours are electives and may include courses outside the Department of Theology, provided that students have the prior approval of the area advisor for the Liturgical Studies concentration and the MTS director.

Moral Theology

The concentration in Moral Theology requires 15 credit hours in Moral Theology, 3 credit hours in Biblical Studies, 3 credit hours in History of Christianity, 3 credit hours in Liturgical Studies, 3 credit hours in Systematic Theology, and 3 credit hours in World Religions World Church. The remaining 18 credit hours are electives; of these electives, no more than three courses (9 credit hours) may be taken outside the Department of Theology. One Theology elective (3 credit hours) may be devoted to an ancient language. Students who take three courses in another area of the MTS program may designate that area as a minor area of concentration.

Systematic Theology

The concentration in Systematic Theology requires 15 credit hours in Systematic Theology, 3 credit hours in Biblical Studies, 3 credit hours in History of Christianity, 3 credit hours in Liturgical Studies, 3 credit hours in Moral Theology, and 3 credit hours in World Religions World Church. The remaining 18 credit hours are electives and may include courses outside the Department of Theology, provided that students have the prior approval of the area advisor for the Systematic Theology concentration and the MTS director.

World Religions World Church

The concentration in World Religions World Church requires 15 credit hours in World Religions World Church, 6 credit hours in Biblical Studies, 6 credit hours in History of Christianity, 6 credit hours of a foreign language,  3 credit hours in Liturgical Studies, 3 credit hours in Moral Theology, and 3 credit hours in Systematic Theology. The remaining 6 credit hours are electives.

Modern Language Requirement:

Inasmuch as the MTS is a degree that requires research, all MTS students need to demonstrate facility in reading at least one modern language relevant to theological research. Therefore, in addition to earning the necessary number of credits, all MTS 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, tuition-free language courses in German and French every summer, with exams given at the end of the course. Students who wish to acquire a language other than French or German during their time in the MTS program may petition their MTS area advisor and the MTS director for a substitution, based on their future research interests.

Oral Exam Requirement:

Toward the end of the final semester of coursework, all MTS students must pass an oral exam with a board of three faculty members. The exam measures students’ competency in their area of concentration and their ability to think theologically, creatively, and synthetically. The topics of the exam are based on materials the students themselves submit: a list of four to five questions that reveal the direction of their theological inquiry, a statement of intent for applications to PhD programs (or for other professional pursuits), and two papers from the student’s coursework. One of these is a major research paper written in the student’s area of concentration, developing more fully the kinds of questions the student is especially interested in pursuing. The other paper is to be in an area outside the student’s concentration and should exhibit how she or he brings other disciplines of theology to bear on her/his major area of concentration.

MTS Colloquium

All MTS students are required to register each semester for the non-credit MTS Colloquium, which meets several times during the semester and contributes to the community atmosphere of the program. Some colloquia are designed as information sessions, and others are devoted to particular topics, such as applying for doctoral programs. Most colloquia, however, involve student presentations, with a student from one area presenting a paper, a student from another area responding to the paper, and a student from a third area presiding. Students thereby develop the ability to deliver professional talks on their original research and learn how the areas of theology are integrated.