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School of Theology and Ministry

M.A., M.T.S., or M.Div.?

choosing from our three most popular degrees

The three most popular degrees at the STM are the Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry (M.A.T.M.), the Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.), and the Master of Divinity (M.Div.).  Of the 134 new students that began in fall 2012, over 90 were in one of these three programs.  Each program has its particular strengths and purposes, and matching the right degree to a student's interests and future goals is crucial to starting off strong in graduate school.

M.A. theology and ministry

The M.A.T.M. is a ministerial degree that provides students with focused theological, spiritual, and ministerial formation within a 48-credit program. Beyond the traditional classroom experience, students are required to take Spiritual Formation, a one-credit, year-long program, that helps students process what they are learning in the classroom and integrate it into their ministry skills and personal spirituality.  Students also participate in Contextual Education to gain valuable practical experience. Within this degree, students may choose to participate in the STM's Hispanic Ministry Program or emphasize religious education. Students who earn the M.A.T.M. go on to engage in a variety of ministries such as high school and college campus ministry, parish ministry, youth and young adult ministry, retreat ministry, hospital chaplaincy, and many other related fields.

The M.A.T.M. can also be combined with a second master's degree offered in conjunction with one of four other Boston College graduate schools.  In addition to earning the M.A.T.M., students can earn a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.), Master of Arts in Counseling (M.A.), Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), or Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.).  The dual-degree program can be completed in three years, and provides students with the skill sets with which to engage a wide variety of fields and disciplines.  The M.A.T.M. is enhanced by the other programs, and the ministry degree is an invaluable asset for those wishing to approach a number of professional fields from a Christian, and particularly a Catholic, perspective. Learn more about our dual-degree programs here.


The M.T.S. is a 48-credit academic degree. Twenty-four credits of the degree are taken within core subject areas, while the other half are open for electives.  Required subject areas give students a solid overview of different theological topics, while the electives allow students to concentrate in a particular field of interest or to gain a general competency of theology.  As a result of the large number of electives, the M.T.S. is a very flexible degree.  While preparation for doctoral studies is an aim of the degree, students have also gone on to work in administration on the diocesan level, non-profit work, a variety of secular fields, and teaching theology at the high school level.  Students considering doctoral studies or wanting a solid grounding in theology will find the M.T.S. an optimal degree to fulfill their academic theological needs.


The M.Div. is a comprehensive professional degree.  It is a three-year, 84-credit degree program that has been the traditional standard for laypeople and religious seeking an education that prepares students for a wide variety of professions in the church. The program combines theological, ministerial, spiritual, and practical formation with a collaborative student experience. This rich grounding prepares students for a variety of ministries at the parish, high school, university, and diocesan levels, including high school teaching and doctoral work. The size and rigor of the M.Div. sometimes requires students to take more than the standard number of courses per semester. Upon completion, students will have gained great knowledge and flexibility in and for the ministerial and ecclesial world.