Master of Theological Studies (MTS)
Changes to this program will take effect in the 2016–2017 academic year.
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. Students who have already completed a previous Master of Divinity degree are not eligible for admission to the MTS and should seek the STM instead. Refer to the Admissions section of the School of Theology website for specific application information.
Rationale: 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 TF 701 Introduction to Christian Traditions / TF 702 Christianity Engaging Modernity course sequence. 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 a variety of disciplines. A list of those specializations along with official plans of study for MTS specializations are available on the STH 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 for 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 degree. 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: Dean’s Fellowships 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. If the student has been awarded a stipend in addition to their full tuition, the stipend will split equally over the two semesters and be paid to the student by check in the first month of each semester.
Tuition Scholarships: 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.
See the Financial Aid section of this site for more information on Dean’s Fellowships and Tuition Scholarships.
Master of Theological Studies Curriculum Requirements
The Master of Theological Studies degree 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)
- TF 701 Introduction to Christian Traditions
- TF 702 Christianity Engaging Modernity
- TN 721 Introduction to the New Testament
- TO 704 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible
- Contextual education (1 semester, and may be substituted by taking an approved travel seminar)
All five MTS core requirements must be taken at the Boston University School of Theology.
Students who do not earn a passing grade in TF 701 Introduction to Christian Traditions 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 & 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 publications of the Bulletin. 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 Boston University (including any Free Electives) may not exceed 20 credits with no more than 16 of those 20 credits taken through the BTI. No core courses may be taken outside STH.
Free Electives (32 credit hours)
- 8 elective courses from any cluster
Typical MTS Plan of Study
|STH TF 701 Introduction to Christian Traditions||
|STH TF 702 Christianity Engaging Modernity||
|STH TO 704 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible||
|STH TN 721 Introduction to the New Testament||
|STH TF 801 MTS Contextual Education Project||
|Cluster One Elective||
|Cluster Two Elective||
|Cluster Three Elective||
Grade Minimums No grade lower than C is acceptable for use in core course requirements for the Master of Theological Studies degree. 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.
Comprehensive Examination All candidates for the Master of Theological Studies degree 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.