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

Download a pdf of the Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) program handook, and read more about the program below:


The Master of Theological Studies program is an academic degree program that offers students a broad understanding of the Catholic theological vision in combination with areas of concentration including liturgy, history, spirituality and ethics. M.T.S. students become theologically literate in the scriptures, doctrinal history and the ethical consequences of that doctrine. Students also learn a theology of ministry for service in a changing Church and world. Students can complete the degree on a full-time basis, but the program also accommodates the schedules of part-time students with evening and weekend course offerings. The M.T.S. is an ideal program for persons engaged in ministry or seeking theological enrichment and a rewarding exploration of their faith.

Degree Objectives    

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

  • gain a broad theological foundation that will undergird inquiry into a select 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 Theological Studies (M.T.S.) admissions page for further details about applying to this program.


  1. A bachelor's degree, in Arts or Sciences, or its academic equivalent, completed with at least a 3.0 (B) Grade Point Average.
  2. The applicant should have a background in theology or religious studies, either through formal coursework or its equivalent.
  3. The applicant should have been involved for at least one year in active ministry or its equivalent.  

Degree Requirements

The Master of Theological Studies degree requires the completion of 48 semester hours (16 three-unit courses). A full-time student may expect to complete the M.T.S. degree in two academic years, but must complete the program within four calendar years from the date of first registration in the program. Twelve semester units is the normal full-time course load. The degree program also requires students to submit a paper (roughly 40 pages) or equivalent project synthesizing the theological concentration and the general theological components of the program.

Credit Distribution for Course Work

Course Work

Forty-eight semester hours of credit must be completed according to the course distribution outlined below.  Students are strongly urged to do 12 units of their degree program in courses at other Graduate Theological Union schools.  Students in all degree programs must maintain a 3.0 Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) 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.  

General Theology (27 credits)

a. 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)

b. 3 units for the MTS Proseminar.

Theological Concentration (9-15 credits)

a. 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.

b. 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  

Electives (6-12 credits)

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.   

Synthesis Paper or Project    

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.

Advanced Standing

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.