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 M.A. 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 strength, and matching the right degree to your interests and future goals is crucial to starting off strong in graduate school.
The M.A.T.M. is a two year, 48 credit degree program. It consists of a core theology requirement of 21 credits, but unlike the MTS, it also has a core ministry requirement of 18 credits. As part of the ministry requirement, students are required to take Spiritual Formation – a one credit, year long class – that helps students process what they are learning in the classroom and integrate it into their ministry skills and personal spirituality. Also, students are required to have spiritual direction as another avenue of spiritual and personal growth. Normally occurring during year two of the program, MATM students take Contextual Education, where they will be assigned to a ministry similar to the career goals and aspirations they have. This degree can be earned in conjunction with the school's Hispanic Ministry Program.
The M.A.T.M. is also part of the dual degree program that the STM offers in conjunction with four other BC graduate schools. Students can also earn a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.), Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling (M.A.), Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), and Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.) with their M.A.T.M.. The dual degree program can be completed in 3 years, and provides students with a diverse educational background from which to engage a wide variety of fields and disciplines. You can learn more about our dual degree programs here.
Students who earn a M.A.T.M. go on to do 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. M.A.T.M. students would not normally be qualified for PhD work because they lack enough credits in theology. For this reason, the M.A.T.M. is for those students with an interest and passion for ministry in the church.
The M.T.S. a 48 credit pre-doctoral degree. Half of the classes taken fulfill core requirements, while the other half are open for electives. The requirements give you a solid overview of the different topics of theology, while the electives allow you to begin concentrating in a field of interest with an eye toward continuing that research at the doctoral level. As a result of the large number of electives, the M.T.S. is our most flexible degree. While preparation for doctoral studies is the degree's primary aim, students have also gone on to work in administration on the diocesan level, entered into non-profit work, gone into a variety of secular fields, and have gone into teaching theology at the high school level. If you are considering doctoral studies, and want a solid grounding in theology, then the M.T.S. program may be the right fit for you.
The M.Div. is our most comprehensive degree. It is a three year, 84 credit degree program that offers more theology credits than the M.T.S. and has similar ministry credits and requirements to the M.A.T.M.. This is the same degree that seminarians and religious earn in preparation for ordination to the priesthood. The M.Div., like a law degree, is a professional degree, and it gives you a similar range of opportunities. With an M.Div., students are qualified, to teach, go on for a Ph.D., and do a variety of ministries at the parish, high school, university, and diocesan levels.
Since the program packs 84 credits into three years, the program is viewed as very academically rigorous. Students will have to take between 12 and 15 credits a semester in order to graduate on time. The large work load and extra year may be discouraging to some. However, the end result gives you a great flexibility in the ministerial and ecclesial settings you are qualified for.