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Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.)

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A flexible program tailored to your particular vocational needs

Perhaps you have been engaged in lay ministry for a while and realize that a stronger academic foundation can help you reach your future goals. Or maybe you are considering theological studies for the very first time, moved to do so as the next step in your spiritual journey. If you are ready for a deeper exploration of your faith, the Jesuit School of Theology's Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) program is right for you.

In this 2-year program, you will gain a nuanced understanding of Catholic tradition as you develop a broad foundation in scripture, theology, spirituality, and ethics. You will have the flexibility to engage the topics most relevant to your particular goals. The program culminates in a capstone project that synthesizes and applies what you've learned in a practical way.

The M.T.S. program is available on-campus and hybrid track and can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. On-campus students will define an area of concentration and hybrid students take a broad range of required and elective courses that align with their vocational and theological focus.

Our graduates become leaders in parish or diocesan roles, pursue careers with faith-based nonprofits and charitable organizations, teach in high school settings, serve in campus ministry, and go on to pursue further education.


Need Even More Flexibility?

Our M.T.S. program also has a hybrid option that allows you to combine online learning with shorter in-person experiences. You'll still complete 48 semester hours of credit and a synthesis paper or project. Coursework includes topics in Biblical Studies, Historical and Systematic Theology, Theological Ethics, Religion and Culture, Spirituality, and Pastoral Studies. 

Who is this degree for?

  • Parish/Church Ministers
  • Aspiring Theologians
  • Educators and Teachers
  • Community Leaders
  • Pastoral Counselors
  • Individuals looking to expand their knowledge of their faith

Admission Requirements

To apply for the M.T.S. program, you'll need:

  • Completion of a bachelor's degree. (In some circumstances, an individual may be admitted with the academic equivalent of a bachelor's degree, subject to the discretion of the faculty.)

Look over our admission checklist for more details.

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Being at JST, you hear different voices from different cultures, with different expressions of faith, and we gather together and learn from one another. This shared space has opened what I love about theology and ministry.

Hector Chavez, M.T.S. '23

Program structure

A full-time student in the Master of Theological Studies program may expect to complete the degree in two academic years, but must complete the program within four calendar years from their date of first registration. 12 semester units is the normal full-time course load. For a more complete explanation of the program requirements, Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) .

24 of these units should be taken in basic theology:

  • Biblical Studies (6 units)
  • Historical and Systematic Theology (6 units)
  • Ethics, Religion, and Society (6 units)
  • Spirituality and Pastoral Theology (6 units)

3 units for the MTS Proseminar.

Online MTS students take 39 credits of General Theology, 36 (9 each) in the basic theology segments, and 3 for the MTS Proseminar.

Students concentrating in one of the areas of study listed under general theology must take 9 additional units in their area of concentration in addition to the general theology requirement. The total number of credits that constitute a concentration is 15.

The only currently recognized area of concentration that is not a general theology requirement is Catholic Studies. Students concentrating in Catholic studies must take 15 units of Catholic Studies in order to fulfill their concentration.

*N.B. Any two courses in the general theology requirement that have a distinctly Catholic focus may be counted toward the total of 15. 

**The units required for the two components (general theology and theological concentration) may be altered, with the permission of the Associate Academic Dean, if the student has already done extensive work in general theology or the area of concentration.   

Areas of Concentration

  • Biblical Studies
  • Christian Spirituality
  • Cultural and Historical Studies of Catholicism
  • Ethics and Social Theory/Religion and Society
  • Church History
  • History of Art and Religion
  • Liturgical Studies
  • Systematic and Philosophical Theology  

Online MTS students do not choose an area of concentration, instead taking more General Theology and Elective courses.

Ministry concentrations will support students to develop expertise and skills in a particular area of service or ministry. Like the Theological Concentrations, they require 21 credits of study. Ordinarily students in Ministry Concentrations will complete a synthesis project. In consultation with their advisor, students may focus on a particular area of ministry by taking:

  • 15 credits in a related field of study, which normally includes one methods course (3 credits), two practicums/internships/field experience/immersions (6 credits), and two other topical courses (6 credits)
  • 6 elective credits

Areas of concentration include:

  • Intercultural ministry
  • Pastoral care

Online M.T.S. students do not choose an area of concentration, instead taking more General Theology and Elective courses.

All other courses taken in the MTS program are electives. Students concentrating in general theology fields have 12 units of elective coursework. Students concentrating in Catholic Studies have at least 6, and up to 12, units of electives, depending on whether their general theology courses reflect distinctively Catholic themes. 

Online MTS students take 9 credits of electives.

All M.T.S. students are required to take the M.T.S. Proseminar. Taken in the last semester of the program, the Proseminar is a three-credit course that helps students synthesize their learning as they prepare their final projects and papers. Required and recommended courses are offered online to accommodate both on-campus and hybrid students.

M.T.S. students are to write a paper (roughly 40 pages) or present an equivalent project synthesizing the theological concentration and the general theological components of the program. This paper is to be done under the direction of a full-time JST faculty member and with a second reader, both approved by the Associate Dean.

A student who has taken graduate courses in theology no longer than six years prior to registration may petition for advanced placement in the M.T.S. program. This petition may be included with the Application for Admission or it may be submitted during the first semester of study at the Jesuit School. No more than 12 semester units of advanced standing can be applied to the Jesuit School M.T.S. program. Petition forms are available from the Registrar or the Office of Admissions.

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Cross-Registration Opportunities

Expand your studies further by taking courses at the Graduate Theological Union and UC Berkeley.

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Our application priority deadlines are February 1 for the fall and September 1 for the spring.

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