MATS - Master of Arts in Theological Studies

The Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree program is for those wishing to develop further perspectives in theological thought for personal or professional enrichment, for those interested in further academic study, or for those seeking further development in their spiritual journey in relation to other professions.

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Program Length
Outcomes
Courses
Admissions
Distance Learning

Length of Program

The Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree is a 48-credit hour program and can be completed in two years of full-time study. However, if a student wishes to study part time, all courses required for this degree must be completed in seven years from the date of first registration.

Off-site students in the MATS degree program can complete their requirements in two years of full-time study, including a summer term. The MATS may also be completed off-site on a part-time basis. All coursework must be completed within 7 years from admission.

Outcomes

Graduates of the program will be equipped and prepared to exercise a vocation of theological scholarship, characterized by independent initiative, personal responsibility, collegial cooperation, ethical behavior consistent with academic integrity, and an appreciation of the limitations of one’s own work and discipline, of the complexity of knowledge, and of the potential contributions of other interpretations, methods and disciplines.

This program allows students to concentrate their studies in one of four areas. Students will choose one of the following areas before beginning their courses:

Biblical Studies – This concentration is intended for those seeking an in depth and rigorous analysis of scripture from various perspectives along with biblical language training. Students choosing the Biblical Studies concentration are required to complete 6 credit-hours of either Biblical Hebrew or Biblical Greek as part of their coursework.

History and Theology – For those with a passion for history and theology, this program offers an opportunity to explore historical, ethical and constructive dimensions of the contemporary theological imagination. Students within this concentration are required to take at least 3 credit hours of advanced coursework in both historical and theological studies.

Practical Theology – This concentration offers an opportunity to bring together theory and practice to re-imagine and actively engage God’s world. Students in this concentration are required to take the PT500; PT502; PT610 or PT611, as well as a full-year PPL ‘studio’ (PT651/652) as part of their program (including all associated field placements).

Integrative Studies – A generalist’s choice, this concentration allows study in all the above subject areas and equips the degree-holder with a broad base of knowledge in theological studies. At least one advanced elective must be taken from each of the above concentrations.

A graduate of the MATS program at VST will:

  1. Demonstrate an introductory knowledge of theological disciplines,
  • Apply appropriate hermeneutical methods to accomplish an introductory level interpretation of a biblical text both in its ancient context and in contemporary contexts
  • Analyze the central topics in theology and engage in theological reflection in light of particular issues and topics and articulate an understanding of the theological task
  • Demonstrate analytical skills applied to historical data such as use of primary and secondary source materials
  • Demonstrate introductory level awareness of the content, methods, issues, and contexts of one other theological discipline (spirituality, public and pastoral leadership, inter-religious studies, Indigenous studies, or ethics)
  1. In the student’s discipline of concentration, identify the basic working concepts in the critical study of the discipline, offer discussion of the basic content of the discipline, and employ research skills sufficient to present the basic content of that discipline
  2. For an Integrative Studies concentration, demonstrate intermediate level familiarity with the content, methods, issues and contexts of two or more theological disciplines, and ability to make comparative and integrative judgments between or among the fields chosen
  3. Demonstrate proficiency in clear and effective communication in both oral and written forms; the construction of a logical argument; the making of informed judgments on complex issues, and the use of standard conventions of style for scholarly writing

Courses

Information Literacy and Research Skills

All degree and diploma students are required to complete six hours of non-credit, no-fee research modules in Information Literacy. The modules will engage students in hands-on as well as theoretical work intended to develop knowledgeable, disciplined and critically astute researchers.

See the Research Skills Module Schedule for further information.

Admissions

An undergraduate degree is required, preferably in the humanities.

Distance Learning

MDiv and MA PPL (ministry-oriented programs) require that 1/3 of the degree be completed on-site at VST’s main campus.

MATS and MA IIS (research-orientated programs) require that 25% of the degree be completed on-site.

On-site requirements are fulfilled in 3 ways:

  • Intensive courses offered in the January Interterm or Summer School in which all students are present on campus for the entire course.
  • Hybrid courses in which distance students are present on campus for one intensive 3-day weekend and are connected by Zoom to the rest of the classes spread out over the semester. The intensive weekend falls mid-semester and contains over half the classes of the course (6); the other 5 classes of the course are accomplished through synchronous or asynchronous Zoom connections.
  • Specialized on-site weekend intensive courses in which all students are present for the entire course. These short courses (1 – 1.5 credit hours) are used for particular denominational requirements like polity courses or spiritual retreats. This format used in these courses helps address the needs for denominationally-relevant opportunities for interaction, peer learning, development of pastoral skills, and growth in personal, spiritual formation

Please contact the Registrar for more information, registrar@vst.edu.