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

Download a pdf of the  program guidelines, 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. For answers to OMTS FAQ, click here.

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.) 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.  

I. General Theology (39 credits)

    a. 36 of these credits should be taken in basic theology:

  • Biblical Studies (9 credits)
  • Historical and Systematic Theology (9 credits)
  • Ethics, Religion and Society (9 credits)
  • Spirituality and Pastoral Theology (9 credits)

     b. 3 credits for the MTS Proseminar. The Proseminar includes a synthesis paper or project in the area of the student's specialization. This is further explained below.

II. Electives (9 credits)

    All other courses taken in the MTS program are electives.

III. Synthesis Paper or Project

MTS students are to write a paper (roughly 40 pages) or complete an equivalent project synthesizing the theological concentration and the general theological components of the program. This paper or project 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. The student must submit a proposal for the paper or project, including the names of the director and the reader, to the Associate Dean for approval. 

NOTE: Although online degree students are not required to select a concentration area, through their regular academic advising appointments, they will be guided to develop expertise in particular areas in preparation for their synthesis paper or project.

Due to the academic nature of the Master of Theological Studies program, courses in functional theology (FT), field education (FE), or practical courses in ministry cannot count toward this degree.

Any exception to the above needs the written approval of the Associate Dean. No professor or academic advisor can make exeptions in degree requirements. 

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.