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.

100% of 2021 Th.M. graduates secured placement within six months of graduation.

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, Durham University, University of Edinburgh,
St. Louis University, and the University of Toronto. | Career Development

Program Options

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

How long will it take?

Both options require six academic courses. 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

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
  • Religious Education

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 

  • Spirituality Studies
  • Spiritual Direction
  • Pastoral Care
  • Cross-Cultural Ministries
  • Religious Education
  • Preaching of the Word

Coursework and Advanced Practicum

  • 6 courses (18 credits) in area of specialization
  • 6 credits count toward advanced practica (3 credits per semester). Learn more about supervised ministry.
  • 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

Church History

Catherine M. Mooney

Old Testament

Andrew R. Davis

Spirituality Studies

Colleen M. Griffith

Early Christian Thinkers

Franklin T. Harkins


Application Information



Spring 2023:
November 15, 2022
Fall 2023 Priority Scholarship Deadline:
January 13, 2023. We will continue to accept applications on a rolling basis after this date.
Summer 2023:
Summer applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Application Form

The application to STM must be completed online.

Application Form

Please note you can submit your application form once it is completed; you do not need to wait for all of your supplemental materials to arrive.

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:

International applicants

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 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 not required for Th.M. applicants.

English Proficiency Exam

All applicants for whom English is not their native language must also provide TOEFL or IELTS test score results. Read more about special instructions for international applicants here. This webpage will also indicate under with criteria a waiver may be granted. Waivers must be approved in writing by the admissions office.


We require transcripts 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). Please note that a transcript is only considered official if received directly from the institution issuing it.

Please note that your application may be reviewed with unofficial copies of your transcripts, though we prefer official copies at the time of application. If you send unofficial copies, please note that if admitted, you must sent official copies before you begin coursework. In addition, if you are currently finishing a degree, you must send a final, official version of the transcript upon graduating, and before beginning coursework at STM.

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:
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 online interview.


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:

  • The academic, professional, and personal development that has motivated you to apply to the Th.M. and to STM. How has your education and/or experience impacted your discernment?
  • Information outlining your specific area and field of academic interest (this includes both your Th.M. track and concentration) and how your previous academic, professional and/or pastoral experience has prepared you for studies within that particular field.
  • If choosing Advanced Theological Study, what topic(s) would you explore for your thesis and why? With which faculty members do you hope to study?
  • If choosing Advanced Ministerial Practice, how do you hope to improve your skill set?
  • Your understanding of theological education and 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 ministry as well as your areas of needed development