Master of Theology (Th.M.)

Master of Theology (Th.M.)

Ministry and theological work is highly dynamic. Some students, after completing a first-level master's degree in theology, find that they need to return to school for further theological study. The Master of Theology (Th.M.) is an advanced degree that allows students, who already posses an M.Div. or another first-level master's degree (e.g. M.A. or M.T.S.), the opportunity to return to studies and look into specific issues more deeply or to continue developing certain ministerial competencies. The Th.M. is designed to be highly flexible to meet the unique needs of each student.

It is especially suited to students seeking pre-doctoral studies, Jesuits and other candidates for ordination in their fourth year of theological studies, as well as those with ministerial experience who wish to further their theological education. 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.

At a Glance

Doctoral Program Placement

Many students pursue the Th.M. in preparation for doctoral work. In the last two years,
Th.M. graduates have secured admission to doctoral programs at Boston College, the Catholic University of America,
Fordham University, St. Louis University, and the University of Notre Dame. | Career Development

How long will it take?

This 24-credit program is usually taken over the course of one year,
but can be completed part-time in up to two years.

Program Options

The Th.M. has two tracks: Advanced Theological Study
and Ministerial Practice.

What will I study?

Both options require six academic courses.

Program Options

Advanced Theological Study

Students tailor their academic program to their educational goals. Students work closely with their faculty advisor to plan a cohesive program, choosing a thesis or intensive Biblical language preparation.

Areas of Concentration

  • Biblical Studies and Languages
  • History of Christianity
  • Systematic Theology
  • Moral Theology
  • Pastoral Studies
  • Spirituality Studies

Coursework and Thesis Option

  • 4 courses minimum in area of specialization
  • 2 electives taken in related areas
  • 6 credits count toward the Th.M. thesis and oral thesis defense or 2 courses in Biblical languages for those concentrating in Biblical studies
  • The Th.M. thesis is an advanced research paper in your area of concentration.  It is intended to demonstrate advanced competence in a particular area of theological studies, and the topic of the thesis should be narrowly enough defined to permit some depth of treatment within the usual scope of 50-60 pages.

Ministerial Practice

Students develop an advanced understanding and pastoral competence in a particular form of ministry, through a combination of course work and professional ministry practica. 

Areas of Concentration 

  • Pastoral Studies
  • Religious Education
  • Spirituality Studies
  • Spiritual Direction

Coursework and Advanced Practicum

  • 6 courses (18 credits) in area of specialization
  • 6 credits count toward advanced practica (3 credits per semester)
  • An additional 6 credits of supervised ministry may be applied toward the degree, with the approval of the program director.
  • The Ministerial Focus Paper concludes the Th.M. in Ministerial Practice.  It advances the intellectual and experiential understanding of ministry in a particular area of focus. The paper demonstrates the possibilities, problems, and issues raised by this kind of ministry, indicates relevant resources and suggest practical strategies for others undertaking a similar ministry. 



Meet Our Faculty

Catherine M. Mooney

Church History

Catherine M. Mooney

Andrew R. Davis

Old Testament

Andrew R. Davis

Colleen M. Griffith

Spirituality Studies

Colleen M. Griffith

Franklin T. Harkins

Early Christian Thinkers

Franklin T. Harkins


Application Information



Spring 2020
December 1, 2019
Fall 2020
January 15, 2020

Application Form

The application to STM must be completed online.

Application Form

Admission Prerequisites for the Th.M.:

  • Applicants must possess a first-level master's degree in theology and ministry
  • 3.3 G.P.A. (or its equivalent) in previous coursework
  • For Ministerial Practice option: Previous ministerial experience

Additional requirements for international applicants

Additional requirements for religious applicants

Application Fee

A non-refundable fee of $75 is required for every degree and non-degree application submitted.

Payment Options

  • Pay by credit or debit card via the web; You can pay the application fee at the same time your submit your application form.  However, if you do not pay the fee at the same time you submit your application, you can pay online at a later date through the Agora Portal. You must use your BC Username and password to log in.

  • Pay by check or money order made payable to Boston College, via regular mail.  Please include your check with a copy of your application form submission confirmation page and include your name and intended degree program.

Please note: The application fee cannot be refunded for any reason. If you qualify for a fee waiver, you should not pay the fee when you submit the application form. Fee waivers are automatically granted to the following applicants: Jesuits, veterans, applicants currently completing a year of service, and current STM students. We do not waive the application fee for other reasons.

Standardized Tests

GRE scores
Gre scores are wavied for Th.M. applicants.

TOEFL scores
All applicants for whom English is not their native language must also provide TOEFL or IELTS test score results. An acceptable TOEFL score is 85 or above on the internet-based test. When taking the exam, include STM’s institutional code – 3971 – so that your scores may be sent directly to the school. 

Read more about special instructions for international applicants here.

To request a TOEFL waiver, you must email


One copy of each transcript is required from all colleges, universities, seminaries, or theological schools that you have attended. Each transcript should contain a list of all coursework taken, grades/marks received, and, if applicable, degree granted and date of degree confirmation. If your college or university will send official transcripts electronically, they can be emailed to  Otherwise, transcripts must be mailed and be contained in a sealed, signed envelope. If the official transcript is not English, a translation should be provided with the official document. Please alert us if your transcript will be arriving with a different name than the one you are using on your application (e.g. your maiden name).

Mailing Addresses
For applicants using the U.S. Postal Service:
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
Simboli Hall
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

For applicants using FedEx or UPS, please use this address:
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
Simboli Hall
9 Lake Street
Brighton, MA 02135-3841


Th.M. applicants are required to submit three recommendations using the online application system. 

Each recommender should be familiar with the applicant’s academic competence. For applicants who have been out of school for a significant amount of time, recommenders should be familiar with the applicant's professional competence. Please be sure that your recommenders are aware of the application deadlines and online process, and choose them carefully to ensure that they can write on your behalf in a timely manner.


The admissions office may contact applicants to set up an interview by Skype.


The resume must be uploaded as part of the application.  It is helpful if you highlight relevant ministry, service, research, teaching and/or leadership positions you have held.

Personal Statement

The personal statement must be uploaded as part of the application.  The personal statement should be three pages in length, double-spaced.

Your statement should address the following:

  • Please indicate which Th.M. track you wish to pursue (either Advanced Theological Study or Ministerial Practice)
  • The academic, professional, and personal development that has motivated you to apply to STM. Include a sketch of your educational background and interests, any experience you have in ministry and/or religious education, and any other relevant professional and volunteer experience
  • Your understanding of theological education and/or ministry in the context of the Church’s mission
  • How you plan to apply your theological education
  • Given your experience, how you assess your principal strengths for theological education and/or ministry as well as your areas of needed development
  • Information outlining your specific area and field of academic interest, and how your previous academic, professional, and/or pastoral experience has prepared you for studies within that particular field