The Master of Theological Studies degree program is designed to provide a basic understanding of the theological disciplines as a foundation for further graduate study, for enhancement of lay leadership roles or for personal enrichment. The degree requirements are designed to ensure some breadth of exposure to the various disciplines of theological study, while at the same time allowing each student to fashion a plan of study that serves her or his particular interests and goals.
- Survey and focused knowledge. Students will demonstrate the attainment of a survey knowledge of various theological disciplines, focused knowledge in a specific discipline, or interdisciplinary knowledge.
The following outcomes will be met as they apply to each individual M.T.S. project:
- Knowledge of scripture. Students will demonstrate knowledge of biblical history, literature, culture, and interpretive theory.
- Comprehension of history and culture. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the life and thought of the Christian community in its historical expressions.
- Theological and ethical reflection. Students will be able to engage in constructive theological and ethical reflection, informed by an understanding of the content of the Christian faith in its historical and contemporary articulations, as well as current Christian thinking on philosophical, scientific, political and cultural developments.
- Integrative contextual reflection: Students will engage in integrative contextual reflection in an area of ministerial practice, including evangelism, preaching, worship, pastoral care, and/or congregational leadership.
Requirements for Admission
The number of new students to be admitted each year is determined by policies of selection established by the faculty. The following considerations are decisive:
- Seriousness of purpose, emotional stability and likelihood of satisfactory performance in the degree program and of responsible membership in the Perkins and Southern Methodist University community.
- Academic ability as shown by a minimum GPA of 2.750 (on a 4.000 scale) in a well-balanced curriculum. Normally, an applicant must hold the B.A. or equivalent degree from a college or university which is accredited by one or more of the organizations recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (chea.org). An applicant with a degree from an unaccredited school may be considered if the case is exceptional. It is particularly important that the student have an adequate liberal arts preparation. In keeping with the recommendations of the Association of Theological Schools concerning pretheological studies, the following 60 hours of liberal arts coursework are highly recommended for admission to the M.T.S. degree program:
- Three credit hours of philosophy (preferably historical or introductory courses or logic).
- Twelve credit hours of English (especially courses that include grammar, composition and creative writing).
- Three credit hours of history.
- Three credit hours of social science.
- Thirty-nine additional hours of liberal arts.
The following are considered highly desirable for admission to the M.T.S. degree program:
- Three credit hours of a natural science or mathematics.
- Six credit hours of a foreign language.
- Six credit hours in religion (such as Bible, church history, history of religions, theology or ethics).
3. A reasonable program of financial support that will enable the student to be devoted properly to the main business of his or her theological training.
Persons who have already graduated from college or who are considering the ministry as a second career are given special consideration by the admissions committee, especially with regard to the adequacy of their pretheological curriculum.
Beyond the evidence of ability furnished by transcripts, applicants may be asked to demonstrate their preparation for theological study by adequate performance on either the GRE graduate school entry exam or the Miller Analogies Test.
To supplement the data furnished by transcripts, letters of reference and other written material, a personal interview with the director of student services or with a person designated by the director may be required of the applicant.
Requirements for Graduation
The requirements for graduation are that the student must complete 48 credit hours of approved coursework, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.000. All requirements for the degree must be completed within six calendar years of the time of initial registration.
The course requirements totaling 48 credit hours are as follows:
Choose two from the following:
Selected from one area of study
- Biblical studies: from BB, GR, HB, NT, and OT courses
- Church history: from HX courses
- Moral theology/theology and culture: from MT and TC courses
- Practical theology/Christianity and society: from CA, CE, CM, EV, HH, MN, PC, PR, PS, WO, and XS courses.
- Systematic theology: HX 8321 , HX 8322 and from ST courses
- World Christianity/world religions: from HR and WX courses
- The prerequisites for each course must be met.
Thesis or Summative Project
In the final year of study, the student must complete either a written thesis or a summative project. Students completing a thesis receive three credit hours of credit. The thesis normally focuses on a topic in the student’s chosen area of concentration. Students who choose to complete a summative project do so in conjunction with a course in which they are enrolled. The summative project integrates the student’s learning and provides evidence of growth. The project may be completed in a number of formats, such as a paper, a public lecture, a website or a pilot project. No additional credit hours are given for a summative project.
Church Music and Worship Emphasis, M.T.S.
This degree offers basic theological, liturgical and church music education to students who have already completed graduate work in some area of music and are seeking a vocation in church music in the parish (perhaps as an ordained deacon in the United Methodist context) or are preparing for graduate study at the doctoral level in church music. A Master of Music, Master of Music Education or equivalent degree is required for admission. Those with a B.M., B.M.E. or equivalent degree need to pursue the M.S.M. because of the basic graduate courses that are offered in Meadows School of the Arts. Generally, the following courses are suggested, allowing for some variations according to denominational background, professional goals and previous coursework:
The 48 credit hours of coursework are distributed as follows:
Basic Ministerial Studies (24 Credit Hours)
Church Music and Worship (12 Credit Hours)
Two from the following: (6 Credit Hours)
Two from the following, or other worship seminar courses:
Two from the following: (6 Credit Hours)
Two from the following, or advanced courses in music history, music theory, or worship arts: