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Master of Theology (Th.M.)

Download a pdf of the Master of Theology (Th.M.) program guidelines, and read more about the program below:


The Master of Theology degree is a one-year program in advanced theological study beyond the Master of Divinity degree, and is available in almost any area of specialized interest. There is a wide variety of offerings at JST and the other member schools of the Graduate Theological Union during any academic year (in fact, over 250 courses each semester). Through cross-registration into courses at the University of California - Berkeley, theological specializations can be developed in relation to many other concerns, e.g., sociology, psychology, education, the arts, and the religions and anthropology of most of the major cultures of the world.

Degree Objectives

The Jesuit School's Master of Theology degree program is designed to enable graduates to:

  • acquire a depth of knowledge and practical skills within a particular area of concentration.
  • develop a critical fidelity to the Roman Catholic tradition, in service of the faith that does justice.
  • recognize the interplay between faith and culture in addressing theological and/or pastoral issues that emerge in diverse cultural contexts.

Admission Requirements

Navigate to the Master of Theology (Th.M.) admissions page for more information about applying to this program.


  1. The Bachelor of Arts degree or its equivalent.
  2. The Master of Divinity or its academic equivalent must have been completed, with an overall 3.0 (B) average, within the previous five years at the Jesuit School of Theology or at a comparable theological center. Requests for exceptions will be considered by the Admissions Committee and the Academic Dean.

Degree Requirements

A student may expect to complete the Master of Theology degree in one academic year, but must complete the program within two calendar years from the date of initial registration in the program.

Program Focus: Students in the Master of Theology program will be expected to select a focus for their studies.

a. Students opting for a research Th.M. will focus their studies toward a deeper personal knowledge and scholarly advancement in some particular area of the theological disciplines. These students will be expected to write a thesis.

b. Students opting for a pastoral Th.M. will focus their work toward the communication of the Christian Gospel. Pastoral Th.M. students may opt to do a project rather than a thesis.

FE 4402: As of 2015-16, all students in the ThM program must be enrolled in FE 4402 every semester. In June 2016 the Academic Council determined that a required component of the STL, STD and ThM programs is 0.5 credit per semester of the practicum course. All students in these programs are required to engage in some type of pastoral work for the duration of their program, and enroll in FE 4402, Contextual Ministry Practicum, in which students reflect as a group upon their pastoral placements and engagement and how this informs their theological studies.

Credit Distribution for Coursework

  1. Eighteen semester units of course work all directly contributing to the student's choice of specialization. Normally, courses should be at the 4000 level or above. A procedure for upgrading courses at the 2000 and 3000 level is outlined in the Guidelines for the Th.M. Degree Program.
  2. Thesis/Project The student is responsible for registering for 6 semester units of research work which culminate in a thesis of at least 75 pages, directed by a full-time permanent member of the JST faculty. The thesis director should also serve as the student's academic advisor for most of the degree program, including the course work. The thesis research work may be in the form of a project. With the advice of the director, the student chooses one other competent reader for the thesis, and submits the names of the thesis director and second reader to the Academic Dean for approval. The grade for the thesis units will be the average of the evaluations given by the director and the other reader. In cases of serious discrepancy, the Academic Dean will appoint an additional reader.
  3. Grading Students in the Th.M. degree program must maintain a 3.0 Cumulative Grade Point Average to graduate. A grade of B- or better is necessary in all courses used to satisfy a requirement for all Jesuit School of Theology degree programs. Students in the Th.M. program normally will take courses on a letter-grade basis.
  4. Language Requirement Language requirements may be assigned at the beginning of the program as appropriate to the area of specialization.

Advanced Standing

A student who has taken graduate courses in theology no longer than six years prior to registration may petition for advanced standing in the Jesuit School's Th.M. program. This petition may be included with the Application for Admission, or it may be submitted during the first semester of study. No more than 6 units of advanced standing can be applied to the Th.M. program. These units must be from courses which cohere with the courses taken at the Jesuit School as a specialization. Petitions for advanced standing are available from the Assistant Academic Dean or from the Office of Admissions.

Beginning Th.M. Work as a Master of Divinity Student at the Jesuit School

Work toward the Master of Theology degree may be begun by a Master of Divinity student at the Jesuit School when all course work for the M.Div. has been completed, even though the student may not yet have passed the Comprehensive Examination. Jesuit School students can apply six units of work done as an M.Div. student to a Th.M. degree, provided these six units are in the final two semesters of M.Div. studies and are not required for completion of the M.Div. degree. The letter from the academic advisor should testify to this. More information is available on the Th.M handbook.