Master of Theological Studies (MTS) Degree Requirements

Residence

Students entering the program in Fall 2011 or later must spend a minimum of three semesters in residence and earn at least 48 hours of credit with a cumulative grade point average of not less than 2.0. A maximum of twelve hours may be earned during the summer term. Students in good standing at other seminaries accredited by the Association of Theological Schools may, with approval, transfer up to seventeen hours. MTS students must complete a minimum of three semesters with at least thirty-one credit hours at Candler. A maximum of nine credit hours taken through cross-registration at Atlanta Theological Association schools may be applied toward the degree, counted as transfer credit. Registration for MTS 999, MTS Administrative Fee, is required each semester following completion of course work for those students completing a thesis or integrative paper.  The program must be completed within six years, but can typically be completed in four full-time semesters.

Credit Hours

In fulfilling the 48 credit hours required to complete the MTS degree, students may not exceed the following limits: three credit hours MTS 502, MTS Thesis (taken in addition to MTS 600, MTS capstone), eight credit hours for Contextual Education, ten credit hours for academic courses taken on an S/U basis (including a maximum of four hours for participation in the Candler Choraliers and/or Chapel Choir), twelve hours for summer term, nine hours for Atlanta Theological Association cross-registration (counted as transfer credit), seventeen hours for transfer credit (including A.T.A. cross-registration), and twelve hours for directed study.

Requirements for MTS Standard Program

For students matriculating in Fall 2011 or later: 

Students may develop an individually tailored curriculum within the general framework of the MTS requirements. 

Credit hours may be earned through courses, seminars (including PhD seminars, subject to permission of the instructor), or directed study. Courses may be selected from Candler, the Graduate Division of Religion, or other University offerings subject to approval of the program director. Prerequisites for advanced courses taken at Candler usually do not apply to MTS students.  Students will complete the degree with course work plus a thesis or an integrative paper. Students who plan to write a thesis are required to enroll in MTS Thesis, in the semester they intend to complete the thesis (credit, three hours maximum). There is no general language requirement.  In keeping with the flexibility of the program, no maximum limit  is placed on the number of courses taken in an area of focus.  At the same time, a candidate should pursuea cluster of courses that reasonably constitutes interests outside of the area of focus in order to balance depth with breadth in a course of study. Theses or integrative papers should be written within the declared area of focus.

Required Courses

MTS 505 (MTS Advising Groups): Fall semester, first year. 

First-year students are required to enroll in the First Year Advising Group (MTS 505), which are composed of 10-12 first-year MTS students along with a faculty adviser and a second-year MTS peer advisor. The groups assist entering students with orientation to Emory, Candler and in exploring vocational options for the degree.

Common Requirements (21 hours) 

Upon enrolling MTS students declare an area of focus, either History, Scripture and Tradition or Modern Religious Thought and Experience.

* Core Courses (18 hours)

All students, regardless of their area of focus are required to complete 9 hours of courses designated as History, Scripture and Tradition (typically designated as Biblical Interpretation, New Testament, Old Testament, Church History) and 9 hours of courses designated as Modern Religious Thought and Experience (typically designated as Systematic Theology, Ethics and Society, Religion and Personality, Sociology of Religion and World Religions). At least one course in World Religions must be taken by all MTS students. With the faculty adviser's approval courses in both areas of focus may be substituted by equivalent courses of study.

                * Professional Development Elective (3 hours)

Students are required to complete one 3-hour course from a list of approved electives (or one negotiated with the faculty adviser) that corresponds to their post-MTS vocational goals.

Area of Focus (18-21 hours) 

MTS students take 18 additional hours related to their declared focus in either History, Scripture and Tradition or Modern Religious Thought and Experience.

* Focus Courses (12 hours)

In addition to the 9 hours of Common Core Courses students will also complete 12 additional elective hours in their declared area of focus.

*Research Methods Seminar (3 hours)

During the second semester of their first year students will enroll in a Research Methods Seminar. The course will focus on research in the various fields of religious and theological studies by considering both theoretical and functional approaches to critical research and writing in the respective areas of focus. Students who are matriculating on a part-time basis are encouraged to complete this seminar in the same time sequence as full time students.

*Capstone Course (3 hours)

Students are required to complete a Capstone Course specific to their Area of Focus during their final or graduating semester. Completion of the Research Methods Course is a prerequisite for the Capstone Course. A component of the Capstone Course is the completion of an Integrative Paper or the MTS thesis.

For those writing the integrative paper, a paper topic is determined in consultation with the MTS director, the student's adviser and the Capstone Course instructor. The paper is normally twenty-five to thirty-five pages in length and integrates themes from the student's full course of study. The Capstone Course instructor and the MTS director will read the integrative paper and assign a letter grade. The minimum passing grade is B.

*MTS Thesis Option (1-3 hours)

In addition to the Capstone Course students may enroll in up to 3 hours of elective credit for research and writing a master's thesis.  To be permitted to write a thesis, a student, in consultation with his or her adviser, must obtain the approval of the MTS program director and must have at least a cumulative 3.50 grade point average at the end of the equivalent of two semesters (twenty-four credit hours) of study at Candler. Following the approval of a thesis proposal and selection of a thesis director chosen in consultation with the MTS program director and the student's faculty adviser, the student may proceed to work on the thesis. Students who choose to write a thesis are expected to have done substantive course work with Candler faculty in the area in which they wish to write. A topic and a thesis director must be secured before MTS502, MTS Thesis elective, is begun.

The completed thesis, normally sixty to ninety pages in length, is evaluated by the thesis director and a second faculty member, and is subject to approval by the MTS director. The thesis must demonstrate original research in a limited subject area. Students may receive up to six hours of credit for the thesis (letter grade only) through MTS502 and the Capstone Course. The thesis must be submitted by the deadline announced by the director of the MTS program (usually during the first week in April). The thesis must be taken for a letter grade and the minimum passing grade is a B. Students who do not complete a thesis but have completed all courses are required to register for MTS999R (MTS Library Use) during the semester they plan to graduate.

Additional Electives (6-9)

Elective hours may be drawn from courses throughout Candler, Emory University, and the Atlanta Theological Association pending approval of the faculty advisor.  The number of elective hours required depends upon the election of the thesis or integrative paper within the area of focus.

 

Total Credit Hours for the MTS Degree

First year Advising Sessions:                 0 hours

Common Requirements:                      21 hours

(History, Scripture and Tradition-9 hours and Religious Thought and Experience-9 hours, including at least 3 hours in of World Religions; Professional Development Elective-3 hours)

Area of Focus:                                        18-21 hours

(12 hours in Area of Focus, Research Methods Seminar-3 hours, Capstone Course-3 hours, Thesis, if elected-up to 3 hours))

Additional Electives:                             6-9 hours

Total:                                                      48 hours

For students matriculating prior to Fall 2011:

Credit hours may be earned through courses, seminars (including PhD seminars, subject to permission of the instructor), or directed study; and, may be distributed across the curriculum as the student elects, subject to approval of the program director. However, at least six hours of work must be completed in each of Areas I, II, and III, in addition to the required MTS 501, Master of Theological Studies Colloquy (credit, two hours). Students may complete the degree with course work plus a thesis or an integrative paper. Students who plan to write a thesis are required to take MTS 502R, Thesis with Colloquy, in the second year (credit, six hours maximum). There is no general language requirement. No credit toward the degree is given for modern language study.  Fifty-One credit hours are required.

In keeping with the flexibility of the program, no specific number of semester hours constitutes a major field. At the same time, a candidate should pursue a cluster of courses that reasonably constitutes an area of interest, planned in consultation with the director of the program. Theses should be written within this general area of interest.

Master of Theological Studies Colloquies

All students admitted to the MTS standard program pursue a core-group study, MTS 501, Master of Theological Studies Colloquy, in the first semester (credit, two hours). Taught by the MTS program director, MTS 501 focuses on group discussion, supplemented by the reading and discussion of theological texts. MTS 502R, Thesis with Colloquy, for students who plan on writing a thesis, focuses on the preparation of a thesis along the guidelines for MTS and MDiv theses. To be permitted to write a thesis, a student must have the approval of the MTS program director and at least a 3.3 grade point average at the end of the equivalent of two semesters (twenty-four credit hours) of study at Candler. Students electing to write an integrative paper enroll in MTS 503, Integrative Paper (two credit hours), after the completion of twenty-four credit hours. MTS 501 must be taken for an S/U grade; MTS 502 and MTS 503 are taken for a letter grade.

Thesis and Integrative Paper

Thesis

Following the approval of a thesis proposal and selection of a thesis director chosen in consultation with the MTS program director, the student may proceed to work on the thesis. Students who choose to write a thesis are expected to have done substantive course work with Candler faculty in the area in which they wish to write. A topic and a thesis director must be secured before MTS 502R, Thesis with Colloquy, is begun.

The completed thesis, normally fifty pages in length, is evaluated by the thesis director and a second faculty member, and is subject to approval by the MTS director. The thesis must demonstrate original research in a limited subject area. Students may receive up to six hours of credit for the thesis (letter grade only) through MTS 502R. The thesis must be submitted by the deadline stated in the academic calendar. The minimum passing grade is a B.

Integrative Paper

Following the completion of twenty-four credit hours, students electing to write an integrative paper may enroll in MTS 503, Integrative Paper (two credit hours). A paper topic is determined in consultation with the MTS director. The paper is normally twenty-five pages in length and integrates themes from the student¿s full course of study. The MTS director will read the integrative paper and assign a letter grade.