The Master of Arts in Theological Studies program fosters development
of theological understanding as part of educational, professional, and
spiritual growth. The MATS is a general academic degree, designed to
give balanced exposure to the theological disciplines while allowing
students to focus on an area of interest. It may be desirable for persons
not seeking ordination but wishing to work in a church setting and for
those already ordained but needing further academic work in theological
studies. It is also appropriate for those who wish to enhance their understanding
of theological perspectives and religious practices for their own growth
or to relate to another professional field.
The program allows for concentration in some field of study to a greater
extent than the M.Div. requirements generally permit. For example, lay
persons who work in church settings in non-ordained or volunteer positions
may use the program to develop their understanding of the Church by concentrating
in a field such as biblical studies, history of religion, theology, or
the history and theory of worship and homiletics. International students
may create an inter-disciplinary emphasis on Asian Theological Studies,
Spirituality, Missiology or Pastoral Counseling.
At San Francisco Theological Seminary, the faculty and their disciplines
are organized into three curricular areas:
||Church History, Theology & Ethics
|| Social & Behavioral Studies, Worship & Proclamation,
Mission & Evangelism, Spirituality, and Ministry
The MATS requires a total of 16 semester courses (48 units). Nine of the courses are to be distributed evenly among the three major disciplinary areas of the SFTS M.Div. curriculum (Biblical studies, History/Theology/Ethics, Ministry/Spirituality) to provide breadth of theological understanding. The remaining seven courses may be used to provide depth in areas of the student's interest, for example, a concentration in theology or spirituality, or to experience a particular form of theological inquiry. Courses in the field of Functional Theology (e.g., field education courses) are not allowed as fulfillment of the degree requirements.
A student must write a substantial paper with the guidance of a faculty advisor, either for an upper level course or as an independent project, as the culminating experience of the program. The paper should document the three learning outcomes stated for this degree: 1) knows one or more selected theological disciplines, 2) analyzes and comprehends major questions in the fields studied and alternative solutions to them, 3) formulates and effectively explains an original solution to one or more theological problems.
MATS students have a faculty advisor assigned to help them plan their academic programs.
The required units of core courses and electives are to be distributed
among various disciplines. For a complete listing of the courses and
electives, please check the links below:
Students with a baccalaureate degree who have done graduate studies in theology at an accredited institution of higher education with at least a 3.0 (B) average may transfer or apply up to eight courses (24 semester units) toward the MATS degree requirements.
Students in the MATS program are eligible for financial aid and rank with GTU MA students in priority for housing on the San Anselmo campus.