May 19, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2023-2024 
    
Graduate Catalog 2023-2024

Theological Studies, MTS


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Offered in Columbia, SC

The Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree is a two-year program (48 credit hours) that provides instruction in a broad range of theological disciplines. Students complete a 27-hour core curriculum and then craft the remaining seven courses to fit their academic and professional goals. MTS students must also complete a summative exercise in which they utlize research and critical-thinking skills within a specific theological field. This track is open to students from all denominations. The MTS can be used to fulfill the Disciplinary Basic Graduate Theological Studies (BGTS) courses and certain other conference membership and ordination requirements in the United Methodist Church. It also applies to those who have completed the UMC’s Basic Course of Study and have a bachelor’s degree. 

Program Admission Requirements

Visit Graduate Admission for the most current Program Admission Requirements.

Program Requirements


Core Requirements: 27 Credit Hours


General Electives: 21 Credit Hours


Total Credit Hours: 48


Summative Exercise


The completion of the MTS degree requires a concluding exercise that allows for summative evaluation of the student’s work. Through this exercise, the student deomonstrates research and critical-thinking skills within a specific theological field. The exercise may be a thesis in the area of concentration, a comprehensive evaluation (oral or written), or another summative process of evaluation. Students wishing to complete a summative exercise in the field of biblical studies must complete one or more of the relevant biblical language requirements (BIB 503 or BIB 504) and integrate knowledge of the biblical language(s) into the exercise.

Thesis Option: This is a capstone course of three credit hours that should result in a 30- 40 page paper in the area of specialization. This option is recommended for any MTS student who plans on further graduate work. Students should work with their advisors to have the thesis topic approved by the middle of the first semester of the second year. A thesis advisor will be determined based on the thesis topic. The thesis will count as one of the student’s general electives.

Written/Oral Comprehensive Examination: The focus of the exam will be the integration of theory and practice. The exam may be completed as a written take-home or oral exam. The coordinator of the two-year programs is responsible for the formulation of the exams yearly.

Other options: Students may propose to the coordinator of the program an alternative to the above options that would be more aligned with the personal and professional goals of the student. This proposal is due to the coordinator by the middle of the first semester of the second year.

Degree Outcomes


Graduates of the Master of Theological Studies program will:

  • Demonstrate theologically informed and self-reflective engagement of distinct human cultures and communities.
  • Demonstrate competencies necessary to cultivate anti-racist discipleship.
  • Analyze Christian scripture and traditions with reference to their original contexts.
  • Demonstrate research and critical-thinking skills within a specific theological field.

Seminary Degree Program Add-On Options


LTSS students may earn a formal concentration in one of three areas: Biblical Studies, Theology, and Faith Formation. Concentrations consist of nine (9) credit hours in general electives. Courses required by a degree program do not count toward a concentration.

Biblical Studies: Choose 9 hours among BIB electives.

Theology: Choose 9 hours among THL electives. With the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Programs, a student may apply up to three hours in biblical studies (BIB) or church history (CHS).

Faith Formation: Choose 9 hours among CED electives. With the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Programs, a student may apply up to six hours in relevant education (EDU) or ministry (MIN) courses.

 

LTSS students may earn a formal cognate in Leadership. Cognates consist of nine (9) credit hours in general electives. Courses required by a degree program do not count toward a cognate.

Choose 9 hours among the following courses:

 

LTSS students may earn a formal cognate in Counseling. Cognates consist of nine (9) credit hours in general electives. Courses required by a degree program do not count toward a cognate. Students enrolled in a counseling cognate will be assigned a secondary advisor from the Counseling program.

Choose 9 hours among the following courses:

 

LTSS students may earn a formal cognate in Sustainability. Cognates consist of nine (9) credit hours in general electives. Courses required by a degree program do not count toward a cognate.

Choose 9 hours among the following courses:

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