The School of Theology offers seven degree programs with the possibility of specialization in a number of academic disciplines.
If you feel called to serve a local church or seek ordination within your denomination, our MDiv is the right degree program for you. Even if ordination is not your calling, do not count out the MDiv as an option – it can serve as a platform from which to jump into many different journeys. As a professional degree, the MDiv offers a wide-ranging curriculum that touches on every aspect of religious service. Receiving an MDiv prior to seeking a doctoral degree can prepare an academic for a professorship in a seminary or denominationally based college or university. Or perhaps you would like to serve a faith-based nonprofit agency as its director. Seminary administrators and deans, human rights activists, missionaries, deacons, writers, bishops and ecclesial leaders, and many others have started their journeys by earning our MDiv degree. The 96-credit-hour program will take you three years of full-time study to complete.
We have nearly as many MTS students as MDiv students at the School of Theology, creating a lively classroom exchange to the benefit of both sets of students. The MTS program attracts those for whom the academic study of theology is itself a fulfilling and perhaps even spiritual exercise. An MTS student might be preparing for doctoral studies and an academic vocation, for service to the church as a deacon, or for work in a nonprofit setting. We know there is no “typical” MTS student, however, and at BU School of Theology no matter what theological discipline interests you, it can be studied here. Our outstanding faculty set demanding academic standards, and offer opportunities for interdisciplinary study through the wider University and Boston Theological Institute. MTS students complete 64 credits of coursework over two years of full-time study.
In addition to the “Open Format” MTS, the School of Theology also offers four MTS specializations at present. Those are: (1) Religion and Conflict Transformation, (2) Transcultural Studies, (3) Theology, and (4) Religion and Science. Other specializations are coming soon.
BU School of Theology values and celebrates the role the arts play in theological education, particularly the transformative and redemptive power of music. The MSM degree program, offered jointly with the University’s School of Music, is at the forefront of professional training in the field. The program has two concentrations: organ and choral conducting. Music can also be taken as a special track in the MTS, Masters of Sacred Theology, and doctoral programs, and we offer a joint MDiv/MSM degree (see below). Students are prepared for leadership roles in communities of faith, and as performers, scholars, and teachers, using the incomparable resources of the BU School of Music and School of Theology. The 48 (choral conducting) or 45 (organ) credit MSM program takes two years of full-time study to complete. The option to complete the MSM in conjunction with the MDiv as a dual degree program in only four years allows those with a calling to church music to prepare for ordination or to broaden their understanding of professional ministry.
The distinguished faculty at Boston University includes:
The STM is a completely customizable, eight·course degree program that allows those with previous graduate theological study to focus on one academic discipline full-time for one year. There is a thesis option, which makes this an excellent second-level master’s option for MDiv, MA, or MTS graduates anticipating doctoral study. The STM is ideal for those wanting to strengthen their knowledge in a specific subject area to the benefit of their journey in ministry, the academy, or both, without the commitment to a lengthier program.
The DMin program attracts students who have been in ministry for at least three years and who want to support their professional lives with further academic study. You can choose between a number of set plans of study, including liturgical studies, pastoral care and counseling, and spirituality. You can also develop your own plan with the help of your advisor. The final project required of DMin students can serve as a boost to ministry, with research that brings your academic study back to the ministerial context in which you serve.
The ThD degree program is offered to students wishing to enhance their knowledge and competence in research, teaching, and service in certain advanced areas of theology and ministry. It has a strong academic specialization, which integrates a major discipline with a minor discipline, making it distinct from the DMin (a professional doctorate) and from many PhDs that focus on one discipline. Like the PhD, the ThD is a rigorous academic research degree. However, unlike the PhD—which positions research in the arts, sciences, and humanities more generally—the ThD positions that research more particularly in the theological disciplines while integrating a major and a minor discipline and the concerns of the church. The ThD degree program has an interdisciplinary design based on one major discipline (eight courses) and one minor discipline (four courses). Graduates typically go on to serve as professors in colleges and seminaries, as well as denominationally affiliated universities, or in denominational
The purpose of the PhD degree program is to discover and extend knowledge and to enhance teaching competence in practical theology. In studying the practices of faith communities, students in the doctoral program in practical theology learn to understand and assess the contemporary situation, to reflect historically and systematically on the church’s embodied witness of faith, and to develop faithful and effective strategies for Christian practice. This preparation, while it has a common structure and an ecclesiological center, emphasizes the particularity of context and requires diversity in focus, which calls for strong interdisciplinary skills and a highly integrative acumen. Current approved concentrations within the Practical Theology PhD program include: Homiletics, Liturgical Studies, Mission and Evangelism, Pastoral Theology, Spirituality, Church and Society, Religious Education, Congregational Studies, and Church Leadership and Administration.
This is theology on the front lines. The School of Theology and School of Social Work offer three joint degree programs. MDiv/Master of Social Work (MSW), MTS/MSW, and Doctor of Ministry/MSW, for students seeking to mix theological study with professional social work practice. Students choose between clinical or macro practice options. There is room for students with a long-standing interest in the urban environment and for those new to the field who wish to explore the dynamic realm of urban social work practice.
Please see the full description of the degree program in the STH Bulletin
All certificate programs may be pursued independently or as part of other STH degree programs. The purpose of STH Certificates is to help students deepen their knowledge and expertise in a particular area and to document their specialized preparation for ministry. United Methodist Students are eligible to be certified through annual conference boards of ordained ministry after completing the academic courses for certification in evangelism, music ministry, and spirituality, and by fulfilling the additional church and personal requirements. Our procedure for documenting the students’ specialized academic work is to give them a letter of completion. For questions related to admissions into a certificate program, please contact the School of Theology Admissions Office at firstname.lastname@example.org. For all other questions about the certificate program not related to the admissions process, please contact Dr. Wanda Stahl, Co-Director of Contextual Education.