Master of Theological Studies (MTS)


The MTS degree can be earned at the Northern California, Southern California, Pacific Northwest, Arizona, and Rocky Mountain campuses. The Seminary is also accredited to offer the MTS degree completely online through our Online Degree program. Up to 24 hours of the MTS can be earned at the Saddleback Valley Community Church extension site in Southern California.

The Master of Theological Studies is a two-year foundational degree requiring 49 credit hours of study. It provides a basic understanding of the theological disciplines for personal enrichment, ministry enhancement, and further graduate study beyond the degree. It is intended to stimulate students to establish an adequate foundation for the beginning or the continuation of volunteer leadership and ministry forms of service to the church.  It is not intended to replace the MDiv or any specialized theological graduate degree.

Degree Objectives

MTS degree objectives are reflections of the Seminary's statement of institutional mission and Essential Leadership Characteristics as they apply to an MTS student. At the completion of this degree it is intended that graduates will have demonstrated growth in Christian living, thinking, service, and leadership  through the ability to do the following:

1.  Demonstrate an introductory graduate level knowledge and understanding of the Bible's content, structure, message, and interpretation in relation to its literary, theological, historical, cultural, and canonical backgrounds. (S1112, S1113, S1312, S1313)

2.  Demonstrate competence in biblical research, in applying principles of biblical interpretation, and in using appropriate and relevant sources with a goal of properly interpreting and applying the Bible to modern life. (S1112, S1113, S1312, S1313)

3.  Outline and assess the major events, persons, and literature in the history of Christianity, including the development of Baptists within the wider Christian traditions. (L1111, L1112)

4.  Demonstrate competence in historical research and in the ability to apply theological method to articulate and assess Christian truth using appropriate sources. (L1111, L1112)

5.  Articulate classic categories/issues in Christian theology and express the Believers Church position relative to those over against other major Christian and non-Christian views. (L1211, L1212)

6.  Identify and affirm God's shaping of the student as to calling, ministry giftedness, strengths and growth edges, and personality dynamics. (P1111, P1123)

7.  Understand and establish appropriate life and ministry focus, priorities, and boundaries. (P1116)

8.  Articulate and practice personal and church-based evangelism and discipleship. (I1311)

Vocational Roles

The MTS degree is designed to meet basic theological needs for effective service, primarily in volunteer positions. Where the MDiv is the basic and/or required degree for placement in pastoral, chaplaincy, or other ministerial or missionary positions, additional graduate studies beyond the MTS would be required.


An appropriate accredited bachelor’s degree or its equivalent is required.

Course Requirements

This section is designed to help you keep a record of courses taken and courses needed to complete your 49-hour MTS degree.

Course Title Course # Hours
Leadership Discernment
Foundations for Ministry P1111 2
Integration into Ministry P1116 2

Biblical Foundations
Old Testament Introduction I S1112 3
Old Testament Introduction II S1113 3
New Testament Introduction I S1312 3
New Testament Introduction II S1313 3

Theological Foundations
Church History I L1111 3
Church History II L1112 3
Christian Theology I L1211 3
Christian Theology II L1212 3

Leadership Skill Formation
Leadership in Ministry Practicum I - II P1121 - P1122*
    OR two of the following courses:
        Spiritual Formation P1115*
        Christian Ethics L1411
        Biblical Hermeneutics S2521
*Classics of Christian Devotion L2131, Personal and Spiritual Growth Group P2561, or Spiritual Formation and the Arts P3113 may substitute for P1115 Spiritual Formation    
Basic Evangelism I1311 2
Any E1000 level course E1--- 3
Any E, I, or P elective   2-3

General Electives
Electives 9-10
Hours to graduate 49

*P1121 & P1122 (TFE) must be taken in two consecutive terms in a fall-spring sequence only. A total of 4 semester-hours credit for the courses will be given at the end of the second term. No credit is earned if both courses are not completed. Variable credit is available by contracting with the TFE Office and identified on the TFE Application. Students must remain in the same Peer Reflection Group for the two terms.

For full-time student verification, students must be registered for 9 semester hours in any given semester and 24 hours for the year. VA students, please see Registrar for full-time student verification and for additional information.