News Release:

Nov. 19,  2010

Candler's Redesigned MTS Program Allows Students to "Go Deep" in Area of Interest

Candler School of Theology at Emory University is introducing a retooled Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree program that enables students to "go as deep as they want" in a wide range of study areas. It debuts in the fall of 2011. The application deadline is Feb. 1.

Designed for students who are interested in exploring theology and religion without preparing for ordained ministry, the two-year MTS program is especially suited for those drawn to teaching and research or engagement in social issues. The program is ideal for journalists, attorneys, teachers, national governing body staff members, and others whose work requires an understanding of the role of religion and theology in public life.

The new curriculum's two broad focus areas – "History, Scripture and Tradition" and "Modern Religious Thought and Experience" -- give students flexibility to design up to two-thirds of their coursework around their specific interests.

"Our previous program requirements didn't always fit with students' expressed academic and vocational interests. Now, they can go as deep as they want into any field, from Bible to theology, from society and personality to the intersection of church and politics," said Steven J. Kraftchick, associate professor in the practice of New Testament interpretation and director of General and Advanced Programs. "This flexibility allows us to help students more easily reach their aspirations, and achieve their educational and vocational goals more directly."

The customized approach also increases students' opportunities for close collaboration with faculty at Candler and the wider Emory University: it encourages interdisciplinary study throughout the university; the pursuit of joint degrees in public health, law and business; and specialized research and study abroad options.

In addition, the program is intentional about helping students discern their vocation. Plenaries, small groups and a new professional development elective help them shape their career goals, while a capstone course brings together students who have the same focus area to write their   thesis papers in a collaborative environment.

Candler's MTS degree program started in 1972 with around a dozen students. Today approximately 70 Candler students pursue an MTS, which is about 15 percent of Candler's student body.

"The program is selective so that we can give our students more individualized focus and more one-on-one time with our talented faculty," said Kraftchick.

For more information or to apply to the MTS program, go to

Candler School of Theology, Emory University, is an intellectually vital, internationally distinguished, and intentionally diverse university-based school of theology. Its mission is to educate faithful and creative leaders for the church's ministries in the world. Candler is dedicated to expanding knowledge of religion and theology, deepening spiritual life, strengthening the public witness of the churches, and building upon the breadth of Christian traditions, particularly the Wesleyan heritage, for the positive transformation of church and world. It is one of 13 United Methodist seminaries, with an enrollment of nearly 500 students representing 46 denominations and more than 7,000 alumni worldwide.