The Master of Theology (Th.M.) program is particularly designed to encourage scholarly research for those who desire to add a scholarly dimension to their priestly or ministerial vocations, whether for furthering theological knowledge or in preparation for additional, doctoral work.
It is especially appropriate for those pursuing full-time study in residence, taking 3 classes (9 units) per semester for three continuous terms. However, this program may be spread over a two-year period for non-residential students. All credits applied toward degree requirements must be earned within 4 years of starting the degree.
ACTS seeks to equip Th.M. students to:
- Engage in advanced theological reflection and dialogue;
- Undertake advanced, specialized research, which includes critical analysis of primary sources and engagement with current historiography;
- Write at a scholarly level suitable for peer-reviewed publications;
- Pursue a doctoral degree to witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Students who are accepted into the program are required to complete a one-year residency, eight theology courses (or twenty-four credits), and a thesis, 60-100 pages in length. The program is also open to qualified part-time students; however, it must be completed, including acceptance of the thesis, within a period of up to four years.
- Coursework at the Th.M. level requires a working knowledge of ancient Greek. Therefore students must demonstrate this knowledge by passing a Greek language examination prior to matriculation. Students who fail the examination will be required to complete a remedial Greek language course, as assigned by the director of the Th.M. program.
- In addition to ancient Greek and English proficiency, students may need to demonstrate reading comprehension in a modern theological language (such as French, German, or Russian) and/or ancient languages (Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, Arabic, etc.), which will be formally agreed upon between the applicant and his or her thesis supervisor as a condition of admission.
Courses taken in the Th.M. program are intended to broaden and deepen the candidate’s knowledge of the major areas of theology.
- Introduction to Theological Research and Writing: Students who have completed MTS program with ACTS have demonstrated sufficient proficiency to undergo the requisite research, analysis, and writing related to the ThM program. However, those students who have graduated with an equivalent degree elsewhere may need additional analytical and writing skills before starting their research. The 4-5 page proposal required for applying into the ThM program is designed to identify those students who may need to enroll in the Introduction to Theological Research and Writing Seminar at a ThM Level before starting the ThM coursework.
There are three courses that serve as the core curriculum of the ThM program:
- Dogmatics 2
- Patristics 2
- Church History 2
Upon enrollment in the program, candidates must choose a concentration among the basic fields of theology. After completing core courses, students will then take three courses in one of the following concentrations:
- Biblical concentration: Old and New Testaments
- Historical concentration: Church History, Patristics, Dogmatics
- Liturgical Studies
The thesis will be written in the area of concentration under the supervision of the student’s program advisor. It must demonstrate critical understanding, based upon personal research, and constitute an original scholarly contribution. This course will be assigned to each ThM student as an independent study course.
Three courses in any of the above are considered a concentration. Some of the above courses may be transferred if taken during the MTS program at ACTS. Upon recommendation of the student’s advisor, additional courses may be required before a student is permitted to continue taking courses in his/her area of concentration. This would be necessary for students who have not taken their MTS from ACTS. Students are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher throughout the program.
ACTS welcomes applications from qualified applicants to the Th.M. program. Applicants must have completed an Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) or equivalent degree at ACTS or another accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher.
ACTS uses an online application form please click “Apply Now” to begin the application process.
- General information (First name, last name, & contact information)
- Statement of purpose: In 500 words or less, please express your interest in ACTS programs and how you intend to apply the learning in your personal and professional life.
- Undergraduate transcript
- Copy of diploma
- Résumé or curriculum vitae
- Two letters of recommendation
- Thesis Proposal
The application thesis proposal consists of 4–5 pages. In the proposal, students are expected to outline the problem to be investigated and give a sense of what they expect to find. The proposal must also include a working title and a bibliography, which is not intended to be exhaustive but must show that the student is familiar with the main works in the field, in particular those that will be of value to the project.
Note: Applicants whose academic preparation falls short of program prerequisites or expectations because they have not completed the Master of Theological Studies program at ACTS, may be offered admission into the Master of Theological Studies program at ACTS for one year before reapplying into the Master of Theology program.