Master of Theological Studies (MTS)
Applicants must have graduated with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 from an accredited college and have a broad liberal arts background with a general knowledge of theological subjects. Refer to the Admissions section of the School of Theology (STH) website for specific application information.
The Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree at Boston University School of Theology is shaped by a conviction that the life of faith in today’s world may be enriched by deep exploration of theological traditions in dialogue with broad understanding of the complexities of our global context. Students have opportunities to prepare for a variety of contributions to communities, to faith, and to knowledge.
The curriculum begins with two semesters of basic study of scripture and the yearlong interdisciplinary exploration of history, theology, and contexts contained in the course Reading the World. Reflecting on the contexts, theologies, scriptures, and historical experiences of communities of faith establishes basic frameworks for the deeper explorations that will lie ahead. And because all such exploration must take place in dialogue with the contemporary challenges of leadership, at some point during the course of study, all students engage in one semester of contextual education appropriate to their educational goals.
Beyond this basic outline, the MTS curriculum allows the student a great deal of flexibility to pursue interests in many fields. Those who come to the degree with specific academic and vocational goals may wish to choose a specialization, working with an advisor to tailor the program toward those specific goals. Specializations are currently available in Religion & Conflict Transformation, Religion & Science, Transcultural Studies, and Theology. Official plans of study for MTS specializations are available on the School of Theology Registrar’s website. Others will be developed by the faculty on an ongoing basis and students are invited to suggest a specialization to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs if it does not already exist. Students pursuing an MTS specialization must petition to do so through the Registrar’s Office no later than the end of their second semester of study.
The successful completion of 64 credit hours is required for the MTS. This program is designed to be completed in two academic years of full-time work (four semesters). The time limit for the degree program is four years (eight semesters).
Dean’s Scholarships are awarded for the academic year, September to May. They are renewable each year, contingent upon the annual evaluation of the recipient’s grade point average (3.5 minimum), character, and commitment to ministerial or other religious leadership. All awards are for a maximum of two academic years of full-time MTS study. Dean’s Scholarships are awarded before initial enrollment in the School of Theology; however, money is not available to the student until the first day of classes.
Tuition Scholarships are awarded for the academic year, September to May. They are renewable each year, contingent upon the annual evaluation of the recipient’s grade point average (2.7 minimum), character, and commitment to ministerial or other religious leadership. All awards are for a maximum of two academic years of full-time MTS study.
Master of Theological Studies Curriculum Requirements
The Master of Theological Studies consists of core requirements (20 credit hours), cluster electives (12 credit hours), and free electives (32 credit hours), which may be used to tailor a specialization.
Core Requirements (20 credit hours)
- Reading the World (two semesters: TF 701 and TF 702)
- Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (TO 704)
- Introduction to the New Testament (TN 721)
- Contextual education (TF 801; may be substituted by taking both semesters of Practices of Faith, TF 703/TF 704)
All five MTS core requirements must be taken at Boston University School of Theology.
Students who do not earn a passing grade in the first semester of Reading the World may continue on to their second semester of coursework; however, students will be expected to retake the semester that they did not pass. All core requirements must be passed for graduation.
Cluster Electives (12 credit hours)
Courses offered in the School of Theology (and certain courses available through the Boston Theological Institute [BTI] and elsewhere in the University) are organized into three curriculum clusters:
- Cluster One—Texts and Traditions
- Cluster Two—Engaging Contemporary Contexts
- Cluster Three—Theories and Practices of Leadership
The current list of courses available in each cluster is found in the STH Bulletin, and the STH Registrar maintains a list of alterations to that list between Bulletin updates. Students in the Master of Theological Studies program are required to complete:
- 1 Cluster One course
- 1 Cluster Two course
- 1 Cluster Three course
All three cluster distributional electives may be taken outside STH within the University or the BTI, but the total of courses taken outside STH (including any free electives) may not exceed 20 credits. No core courses may be taken outside STH.
Free Electives (32 credit hours)
Eight elective courses from any cluster.
Typical MTS Plan of Study
|STH TF 701 Reading the World I: History, Theology & Contexts||4 cr|
|STH TF 702 Reading the World II: History, Theology & Contexts||4 cr|
|STH TO 704 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible||4 cr|
|STH TN 721 Introduction to the New Testament||4 cr|
|STH TF 801 MTS Contextual Education Project||4 cr|
|Cluster One Elective||4 cr|
|Cluster Two Elective||4 cr|
|Cluster Three Elective||4 cr|
|Free Electives||32 cr total|
No grade lower than C is acceptable for use in core course requirements for the Master of Theological Studies. No grade lower than B− will be accepted for cluster electives or specialization coursework. No grade lower than C is acceptable to satisfy free elective requirements.
All candidates for the Master of Theological Studies will undertake a comprehensive examination in the period between midterm examinations and the penultimate week of coursework in the final semester of registration. The comprehensive examination may be substituted by a thesis with approval of the student’s advisor (no advisor is obligated to direct a student’s thesis) and the faculty member who agrees to supervise the thesis, if other than the advisor. MTS students taking a specialization may be required to undertake an alternate form of summative evaluation by the faculty directing that specialization.