Master of Theological Studies (MTS) Program


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 Shape of the Program – An “Open Format” Curriculum

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.  This is why the MTS’s curriculum is described as “Open Format.”  The Open Format curriculum means that, besides the first-year basic study courses, students are able to choose all other coursework broadly across several disciplines to achieve their learning goals.

Creating Your Own Specialization

Students who come to the degree with specific academic and vocational goals may wish to create their own Specializations, working with an advisor to tailor the program toward those specific goals.  Students can choose to specialize in any one academic discipline, or more generally in an interdisciplinary Area.

The specificity of your Specialization will depend on the courses that you and your advisor choose during your program.  For example, a student could create a “Biblical & Historical Studies” Specialization with her advisor, taking classes in Church History, Mission Studies, New Testament, and Hebrew Scripture.  Another student might wish to delve deeply into the New Testament discipline only, and he would create a more narrowly-defined “New Testament” Specialization.

Pre-existing Specializations have been created in the areas of Theology, Religion and Science, and Religion and Conflict Transformation, which means students will not have to work with their advisors to customize these program.  Students interested in these Specializations need only choose them on their applications to the program.  Applicants hoping to create a Specialization other than these three with their advisor should choose the “Open Format” option on the application.

Areas and Disciplines

The list of Areas and individual disciplines that are available are below:

Area A: Biblical & Historical Studies

  • Church History
  • Mission Studies
  • New Testament
  • Hebrew Scripture (Old Testament)

Area B: Philosophy, Theology & Ethics

  • Social and Theological Ethics
  • Theology
  • Religion and Conflict Transformation

Area C: Religion, Culture & Personality

  • Pastoral Psychology (Pastoral Care)
  • Psychology of Religion
  • Sociology of Religion

Area D: Ministry in Church & Society

  • Liturgical Studies
  • Religious Education
  • Homiletics
  • Evangelism
  • Sacred Music
  • Spirituality

The successful completion of 64 credit hours is required for the 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).

Curriculum Requirements

MTS section of the STH Bulletin (Please click here for more information on the MTS curriculum and plan of study)

Plan of Study PDF

MTS Plan of Study