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School of Theology and Ministry

Master of Theology (Th.M.)

school of theology and ministry

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Th.M. Program Handbook and Academic Forms


Ministry and theological work is highly dynamic. Some students, after securing their Master of Divinity, find that they need to return to school for further theological study. The Master of Theology (Th.M.) is an advanced degree supplementing work completed in the Master of Divinity program. The Th.M. gives graduates a chance to return to studies and look into specific issues more deeply or to continue developing certain ministerial competencies.

Why a Master of Theology?

Most Th.M. students are Jesuits or other religious in their diaconal year who use the Th.M. to complete their final, fourth year of theological study in preparation for ordination. Others are lay ministers who require further study or academic reflection to better meet the challenges of their vocation.

The Master of Theology is one of two advanced degrees Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (STM) offers to graduates of Master of Divinity programs, the other being the Licentiate in Sacred Theology. However, unlike the S.T.L., which is a two-year ecclesiastical degree, the Th.M. is a one-year, civil degree.

Although many Th.M. students are seeking formal ordination, Th.M. graduates come from various backgrounds and go on to use their experience in a diverse array of professions. Graduates take their Th.M. education and serve as teachers, administrators, medical doctors, advocates for refugees and human rights, and ecumenical ministers, as well as in numerous other capacities.

Finally, lay students who have already completed a Master of Divinity and who are interested in pursing doctoral work, but believe they need additional course work might also consider the Master of Theology.



The Th.M. is designed to be highly flexible to meet the unique needs of each student. Students take 24 credits total, usually over the course of one year but they can complete it part-time in up to two years. The program must be completed within four semesters, or two academic years, of matriculation. STM offers two different options for students to choose from:

OPTION A: Thesis or Biblical Language Focus
Designed for those who want to focus on academic development and inquiry, Option A requires concentrating in one of the theological disciplines and culminates in a thesis. Students can concentrate in Biblical Studies, Church History, Historical-Systematic Theology, Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, or Spirituality. Students can also apply credits earned studying a biblical language toward the Th.M. Option A students usually do not take part in ministry practica.

OPTION B: Ministerial Focus
For those who want to focus their degree on ministerial and practical objectives, Option B aims at cultivating advanced understanding and pastoral competence in a particular form of Church ministry. Many students choose to specialize in preaching, spiritual direction, or cross-cultural ministries. Unlike Option A, students do not need to concentrate in a theological discipline, but instead can create a unique course of studies to meet their professional needs.




  • Theological Specialization 24 credit hours
    • Course Work – 18 credit hours
    • At least nine credit hours at the 300 level
    • At least nine credit hours in an area of concentration
    • Thesis and Oral Examination – six credit hours
    • 50 page thesis



  • Ministerial Specialization – 24 credit hours
    • 18 credit hours in an area of concentration
    • 6 credit hours are earned through a practicum
    • An additional 6 credit hours of supervised ministry may be done  with the approval of the Program Director
    • Ministerial Focus Paper: The Ministerial Focus Paper's purpose is to advance the understanding of ministry in a particular area of focus. The paper presents possibilities, problems and issues raised by this kind of ministry and suggests practical strategies for others entering into a similar ministry. The paper is approximately 15 pages in length and concludes the program.




  • Applicants must possess the M.Div. degree or its equivalent in credit hours – with a 3.3 GPA and ministerial experience.
  • Evidence of above-average achievement in previous academic work

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