ThM - Master of Theology

The Master of Theology degree is a post-graduate degree designed to provide the student with an advanced understanding of one area or discipline within the general context of theological study, and the development of research methods and resources appropriate to the area or discipline chosen.

The program may serve to prepare a student for further graduate study at the doctoral level, preparation for some forms of teaching, the scholarly enhancement of ministerial practice, or disciplined focus in an area of theological study for personal interest. Two streams of study are available: One option requires the writing of a scholarly thesis; this is the option generally recommended for those preparing for doctoral work. The other option, the General Research Option, requires additional course work and a significant project. The program requires specialization in the area of study in which the thesis is written but allows for diversity in the selection of courses. It is offered in any field in which a student’s interests and the School’s resources coincide.

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Program Length
Outcomes
Courses
Admissions
Distance Learning

Length of Program

The ThM degree is a 24-credit hour program. It is primarily a residential degree with courses offered on the campus of VST. A limited number of requirements may be completed through distance format.

Outcomes

A graduate of the ThM program at VST will be equipped and prepared to exercise a vocation of theological scholarship reflecting an advanced level of knowledge and skills:

  1. Demonstrate a knowledge of their discipline of concentration commensurate with a second degree in theology, including ability to:
    • Offer informed and critical discussion of the basic content of the discipline of concentration.
    • Deploy research skills to discuss the content of that discipline knowledgeably.
    • Describe and assess the relative strengths of various scholarly approaches in the discipline.
  1. Engage with a second discipline of theological study in order to demonstrate awareness of the content, methods, issues, and contexts of a theological discipline outside of the area of concentration
  2. Demonstrate ability to produce standard forms of scholarly engagement at a level commensurate with a second degree in theological study, including the following skills:
    • Clear and effective communication in both oral and written forms, including written and oral presentation of a major research paper.
    • The use of standard conventions of style for scholarly writing.
    • The creation of a research proposal, including a well-defined thesis statement and construction of logical arguments in support of that statement.
    • The ability to propose and defend their own approach to a research topic.
    • The making of informed judgments on complex issues including offering conclusions on approaches to the topic under investigation.
  1. Demonstrate vocational responsibility, including recognition of:
    • The importance of working with scholarly peers and associates in a collegial manner.
    • The ecumenical character of theological scholarship and its place within the broader world of scholarly discourse.
    • The importance of faith and ecclesial life to the student’s scholarship.

Courses

The normal course of study involves the following:

  • Courses in the area or discipline of study (12 credit hours)
  • Courses in theological fields outside the area of study (6)
  • Either: ThM thesis preparation and writing OR one additional course and preparation of a project; and an oral examination on the thesis or project (6)

All work for any course undertaken as a part of the ThM program must be completed within one month of the end of the term in which the student registered for the course.

In addition to the language(s) required for admission, each candidate must demonstrate a sufficient mastery of any other ancient or modern language required for the thesis topic before the thesis is undertaken. Note: Additional credit hours may be required for language requirements in certain disciplines depending on the student’s background and interests. It is recommended that a student studying full-time take no more than 9 credit hours per term. All work for the Master of Theology degree must be completed within five calendar years from date of admission.

General Areas of Study

Currently, studies for the ThM may be undertaken in:

  • Hebrew Scriptures
  • New Testament
  • Hermeneutics
  • Homiletics and Biblical Interpretation
  • History
  • Theology
  • Missional Theology

ThM Thesis or Project

If the thesis option for the ThM program is chosen by the student, this requires that the student successfully complete a thesis demonstrating scholarly competence, including the formulation of a research topic or question relevant to the field of study, critical understanding of primary and secondary sources in the field, demonstration of appropriate research methods, and the ability to make a sustained and critical scholarly contribution to the field. The ThM thesis should be 22,500 – 30,000 words (90 – 120 pages). The ThM project option will likewise show scholarly competence in a more delimited area of study in a paper of 11250 – 12500 words (45 – 50 pages). The project may include alternate media (performance, video, etc.) in addition to a paper of 7500 –8750 words (30 – 35 pages).

Cross-Registration of courses

Many of the advanced seminars at Regent can be taken for VST credit. With the exception of Summer and on-line courses at Regent College (available only as transfer courses, if approved), VST students register and pay for the courses at VST rates and must acquire a cross-registration form from the Registrar’s office to be signed by the Registrar at Regent. For course listings see their website (www.regent-college.edu). Certain courses in the Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies department at UBC may also be available for transfer in your VST program. In all cases, the VST Registrar will confirm eligible courses for transfer.

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.

Th.M students are also required to complete a series of Advanced Research Modules in preparation for proposal and thesis preparation.

See the Research Skills Module Schedule for further information.

Admissions

The following is required for admission to the Master of Theology program:

  • A Masters level degree in theological study (MDiv, MATS, etc.)
  • Normally, reading knowledge of at least one modern language appropriate to the proposed field of study in addition to English
  • Competency in biblical language or languages (for biblical work

Distance Learning

Master of Theology is mainly an onsite degree and course work should be done onsite.

Directed study and thesis work can be completed offsite.