Master of Theology (THM)

Master of Theology (THM)


Offered only at the Northern California Campus

Golden Gate Seminary offers two advanced academic research degrees: the Doctor of Philosophy (PHD) and the Master of Theology (THM). The THM is offered in two formats: a thesis THM and a non-thesis THM. Both THM formats are two-year programs. The thesis THM requires the completion of 28 credit hours including a thesis. The non-thesis THM requires 29 credit hours including an oral examination. Students should consult the THM Manual for the distinctive aspects of each program. The THM is offered to enable students of above-average ability to continue academic research beyond the MDIV (or an equivalent degree from an accredited institution). The program prepares students for specialized types of ministries or for additional graduate study.


Building upon the knowledge and skills acquired in the prerequisite MDIV or equivalent master's program, the following goals are primary for the THM. The THM program is designed to:
  • Allow students to pursue in-depth study in an area of special interest or concern (THM seminars are listed as 4000-level courses).
  • Guide students in sharpening study and research skills.
  • Refine student ability to engage in comprehensive study, analyze, synthesize and integrate findings, and communicate conclusions in an acceptable manner.

Entrance Requirements

Applicants not currently enrolled in GGBTS must apply for admission to the Seminary. Currently enrolled GGBTS students need only complete the application process for admission to the THM program. Applicants are encouraged to complete the application process by May 1 for work to begin in the fall, and November 1 for work to begin in the spring. Due to the interview and other application processes, GGBTS may not be able to complete the application processing if submitted at a later date. Application forms and individual guidance are available from the Seminary Enrollment Services Office or from the Office of Academic Graduate Studies. References and interviews required as a part of the admission process must reflect the consistent Christian character of the applicant. Entrance requirements include:
  • Applicants must submit a brief statement of their rationale for graduate study.
  • Applicants must hold a BA (or equivalent degree) from an accredited college or university, and an MDIV (or equivalent degree) from an accredited institution that meets Golden Gate Seminary's requirements in Hebrew and Greek.
  • Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average in previous academic work that indicates a capacity for graduate work. Under normal circumstances, no applicant with a grade point average less than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale will be considered for entrance into the THM program.
  • Applicants must prepare and submit a paper that demonstrates their research and writing capabilities.
  • After the application is complete, applicants may be interviewed by the Academic Graduate Studies Committee.

Fields of Study

The THM places emphasis
  • Biblical Studies
  • Historical/Theological Studies

Degree Requirements

Thesis THM
Research Methods Seminar 2
Primary Field of Study 12-15
Electives 3-6
Thesis 8
Total  28

Non-thesis THM students must take an additional 9 hours of seminar and class work, including six hours in their major area of study. They must also stand for an oral exam before a minimum of two faculty. The additional 9 hours of study replaces the 8 hours of Thesis credit.

Graduate Seminar Format

Length: The program is designed as a two-year program, but students who are able may complete the seminar work in one year with an eclectic program combining Biblical Studies and Historical/Theological Studies. Normally thesis THM students will take a minimum of two THM seminars and complete their program with a maximum of two PHD seminars (with approval) and MDIV courses with additional work load required (with approval). Normally non-thesis THM students will take a minimum of three THM seminars and complete their program with a maximum of two PHD seminars (with approval) and MDIV courses with additional work load required. Further details can be found in the ThM Manual.

Seminar Week: All students are required to attend the seminar week, which takes place the week prior to the beginning of the regular NCC semester. The seminar week consists of approximately half of the content of each seminar, corporate worship, and plenary sessions on a subject of common interest. The plenary sessions will allow visiting scholars and GGBTS faculty to dialogue with each other and students. After the Seminar Week, each seminar will meet in the regular time scheduled in the Seminary course schedule. Seminar Week includes both THM and PHD students. All students must be available every day of seminar week to participate in the various aspects of the program.

Course Requirements

This section is designed to help students keep a record of courses taken and courses needed to complete the 28-hour THM degree.

For all students: Research and Writing seminar (required) and 18 hours of seminar and advanced MDIV work. Thesis THM students must complete a thesis, which counts as 8 credit hours for a total of 28 hours. Non thesis students must complete an additional 9 hours of credit courses with at least 1 additional THM seminar and the remainder from advanced MDIV courses.

Course Title Course # Hours
Degree Overview (thesis track) upon academic study and research in the following primary fields.
Thesis P4111 8
Research Methods P4141 2
THM Seminar   3
THM Seminar   3
Elective   3
Elective   3
Additional Study in Field of Concentration   3
Additional Study in Field of Concentration   3

THM Seminars
General Studies    
Thesis P4111 8
Research Methods P4141 2
Biblical Studies    
Old Testament Studies S4100 3
Old Testament Theology S4111 or L4212 3
Old Testament History S4112 or L4113 3
New Testament Studies S4300 3
Pauline Theology S4315 or L4213 3
Theology of the Synoptic Gospels S4319 or L4214 3
The Search for the Historical Jesus S4361 3
Hermeneutics S4511 3
Historical/Theological Studies    
Historical Studies L4100 3
The Early Church L4110 3
The Lutheran Reformation L4111 3
Old Testament History L4113 or S4112 3
The Radical Reformation L4115 3
Historiography L4141 3
Theological Studies L4200 3
Old Testament Theology L4212 or S4111 3
Pauline Theology L4213 or S4315 3
Theology of the Synoptic Gospels L4214 or S4319 3
Contemporary Theology L4241 3
Theology of Christian Leadership: A Case Study Approach L4246 3
The Theology of Christian Mission I4213 3

For full-time student verification, students must be registered for 6 semester hours in any given semester and 14 hours for the year. VA students, please see Registrar for full-time student verification and additional information.