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PROGRAM OVERVIEW

MA in Theological Studies (mats)

The Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS) is a flexible academic degree program equipping men and women for ministry. Prospective students should be committed Christians called to or already engaging in ministry desiring academic development. The MATS can also provide a pathway to further scholarship.

Alumni Experiences

Rachel Hastings

“My husband and I came to Gordon-Conwell with several years of church experience already under our belts. For me, choosing to enroll in an Academic MA was about maximizing the kind of learning I could only get through seminary.”

— Rachel Hastings (MAOT + MANT)

Potential Careers

  • Doctoral Studies
  • Teaching in Christian Education
  • Church Ministry
  • Para-church Ministry
  • Campus Ministry
  • Missions

Program Goals

  • You will be spiritually grounded. You will understand who you are as a child of God and will be faithful in developing your relationship with Christ and with his people.
  • You will be biblically grounded. You will acknowledge the authority of God’s inerrant Bible and its centrality in governing Christian life and practice. You will understand the main themes and emphases of the Old and New Testaments and have a grasp of the overall message of the Bible and its implications for all aspects of life.
  • You will be exegetically skilled. You will grasp the basics of interpretive methodology and will have practice in using tools and techniques to handle the Bible well. Graduates in some concentrations will have significant exposure to the biblical languages and their use in exegesis.
  • You will be historically and theologically adept. You will appreciate the historical and doctrinal heritage both of the Christian church as a whole and of the specific group or groups of which they are a part.
  • You will be culturally and globally aware. You will recognize the importance of understanding the culture in which you minister and will possess experience in interpreting your particular ministry context in light of Scripture. You will be aware of what the Lord is doing to establish his kingdom throughout the world and will see your own ministry in direct connection to the worldwide mission of his church.
  • You will be equipped with ministry skills. You will gain experience and skills in the particular ministry to which you are called.

Program Distinctives

  • Development of a firm biblical foundation to equip students for effective ministry
  • World-renowned faculty members training new leaders in the Church
  • Access to other top-tier institutions, including Harvard Divinity School and Boston University School of Theology, through the Boston Theological Interreligous Consortium
  • Emphasis on global engagement provides opportunities for hands-on missions experience
  • Quality contextualized theological education and hands-on training
  • Rigorous courses offered in various formats (evenings, weekends, week intensives and online/hybrid) to accommodate your schedule
  • Convenient, economical and innovative adult education system
  • Renowned, highly qualified and experienced faculty
  • Enhanced library services with capability to access theological databases from your home
  • Access to library resources and classes at other top-tier institutions through the Carolina Theological Consortium
  • Quality contextualized theological education and hands-on training
  • Rigorous courses offered in various formats (evenings, weekends, week intensives and online/hybrid) to accommodate your schedule
  • Convenient, economical and innovative adult education system
  • Renowned, highly qualified and experienced faculty
  • Enhanced library services with capability to access theological databases from your home

Cohort-Based Education Model

  • Cohorts bring together the same students, taking the same courses, at the same time, for their academic program.
  • Cohorts currently enrolling in Spanish, English, & Portuguese.
  • Language-based cohorts are not taught in translation, other than an occasional guest presenter.
  • Gordon-Conwell faculty who speak the language of the cohort provide mentorship and academic leadership.
  • Stackable academic bundles enable students to achieve certificates that lead to both the MAGL and MATS degrees.
  • Tuition is fixed for the academic bundle as long as a student remains in the cohort they started with.
  • Ministry leaders share issues, challenges, and opportunities as they grow together spiritually and professionally in a shared cohort experience.
  • Quality contextualized theological education and hands-on training
  • Rigorous courses offered in various formats (evenings, weekends, week intensives and online/hybrid) to accommodate your schedule
  • Renowned, highly qualified and experienced faculty
  • Enhanced library services with capability to access theological databases from your home

Courses

60 Credit Hours (20 Courses)

The standard MA in Theological Studies (MATS) includes ten foundational courses (core requirements), two biblical or research language courses, six concentration courses, and two open electives.

Foundational Courses (Core Requirements)*

Exploring the Old Testament

Exploring the Old Testament (OT500) highlights the big picture of the Old Testament through the lens of God’s relationship with his people. We will explore the content, context, message, and purpose of each Old Testament book. We will see how each book fits into the overarching story of the Old Testament and how the unfolding narrative points forward to Jesus as the climax in the story of redemption.

Exploring the New Testament

Exploring the New Testament (NT501) traces the revelation of the Good News of Jesus Christ from the time of Jesus’ inauguration of God’s Kingdom, through the international missionary work of the Apostle Paul, to the Church’s communal life and witness in the first-century world. We will explore the content, context, message, and purpose of each New Testament book and see how they show the fulfillment of Scripture’s overarching narrative.

Interpreting the Bible

Have you ever heard someone ask, “does the Bible really say that?” This question often stems from a curiosity about biblical interpretation. In NT/OT517, you will acquire critical exegetical skills for faithful biblical analysis for ministry contexts, as well as for deeper spiritual enrichment. Gain a foundation of the theory and methods of Biblical interpretation and utilize modern exegetical resources. Apply interpretive principles to various genres of Scripture. Distinguish between various schools of thought related to key hermeneutical issues in Biblical interpretation. This course will provide you with the essential tools you need for each ministry setting, and to tactfully engage in “why?” conversations with informed knowledge and insight.

Theology Survey I

What exactly sets Christianity apart from other religious expressions in the world? Examine the development of the nature, history, and methodology of Christian theology. Explore the distinctives of Christianity through the over-arching theme of the doctrine of God in the first of a two-part survey on Christian theology. Observe the awesome being of God, the attributes of God, and the Trinitarian nature of God. Reflect upon various methodological issues, theological implications of creation, and theological anthropology. In completion of TH501, you will be able to outline fundamental Christian doctrines, articulate various theological positions with biblical support, and communicate a personal theological position on significant theological topics.

Theology Survey II

With a theological foundation laid in TH501, TH502 undertakes a more comprehensive analysis of Christology, the person and work of the Christ, as well as Pneumatology, the work of the Holy Spirit. The doctrines of predestination, conversion, justification, sanctification, perseverance, the nature and mission of the church, sacraments, and eschatology will be examined more extensively, and all doctrinal observations will be made from the perspective of divine missions and Trinitarian activity. Theological reflection will occur in a comparative fashion, observing evangelical traditions alongside other major Christian traditions, specifically Catholic and Eastern-orthodox doctrine, for the purpose of enhancing the range of theological study.

Survey of Church History

Survey of Church History (CH500) surveys the history of the Christian church from its founding at Pentecost in Jerusalem to the present day worldwide movement.

Understanding Culture

To be human is to be immersed in culture. Just as Christ cared about culture, Christ-followers are to care about culture. In an increasingly globalized world, informed cultural and cross-cultural engagement matters. Observe the nuances of your own context, as well as contexts worldwide, through anthropological, sociological, and biblical lenses. Reflect on methods for contextualizing Christianity, noting how Christ both rectifies the broken and reinforces the sacred elements of every culture. Develop greater competency for more effective Christian mission, evangelism, and discipleship in every cultural climate. Discover how the gospel message uniquely integrates with the cultures of each nation, tribe, and tongue.

Ethics Course

Ethics (Any ET) explores how Christians can make and enact good, wise, and faithful ethical choices and develop moral character and community in the midst of a complex world.

Spiritual Formation for Ministry

Prioritizing spiritual formation is a fundamental ingredient to healthy ministry, academic, and workplace relations. This course will equip you to develop a vibrant spiritual and active devotional life with Christ. Learn about the multi-disciplinary nature of spiritual formation from biblical, theological, historical, liturgical, experiential, and literary perspectives. Look closely at the life of Christ as a model for developing healthy spiritual patterns and conduct case studies to observe practices from historic Christian figures for developing a robust personal spiritual discipline.

World Missions or Evangelism Course

World Missions or Evangelism Course (Any WM or EV) explores the necessary mandate for all disciples of Jesus Christ to obey his authority and commission to take the gospel to all the world.

Language I

Biblical or Research Language (eg. Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Ugaritic, Latin, German)

Language II

Biblical or Research Language (eg. Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Ugaritic, Latin, German)

* Some of our predefined concentrations include minor adjustments to the core requirements in addition to the concentration electives. Common changes include substituting a two-course sequence of Church History for CH500, or substituting a two-course sequence of Interpreting the Old Testament & New Testament rather than OT/NT517.

Electives

Six concentration electives and two open electives:

EL

EL

EL

EL

EL

EL

EL

EL

The six concentration electives may be drawn from any academic division: Biblical Studies, Christian Thought, or Practical Theology; or a combination from multiple divisions. Four of your six concentration electives should be 600 level or higher.

Optional Concentrations

In addition to the standard MATS, Gordon-Conwell offers multiple predefined concentrations. These concentrations provide you a focused plan of study.

Biblical Languages

Church History

Intercultural Studies

Leadership

(Latino & Global Ministries)

Old Testament

New Testament

Spiritual Formation

Theology

Requirements

Academic Requirements

Required Degree: Bachelor’s
Minimum GPA: 3.0

English Language Requirements (International Students)

Gordon-Conwell requires a TOEFL score of 90 or better (IBT). We also accept IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher, or a Duolingo score of 110. Students who have completed an undergraduate degree through an English-language university may request a TOEFL waiver.

Application Requirements

A Completed Online Application Includes:

  1. Application Form
  2. Application Fee
  3. Two Uploaded Essays
    • A 1-2 page personal statement addressing questions about your vocational goals, church involvement, encouragement from others, reasons for applying to Gordon-Conwell, and an assessment of your own strengths and weaknesses
    • A 1-2 page autobiographical statement
  4. Three Recommendations
    • Pastor or Church Official
    • Friend or Associate;
    • Former Professor or Professional Colleague (references should be individuals whom you have known for at least one year, and who are not related to you.)
  5. Official Transcripts
    • The seminary requires a bachelor’s degree from an institution accredited by a recognized accrediting agency.
    • Official transcripts must be sent directly to Gordon-Conwell, or hand-delivered in a sealed envelope. Copies and opened transcripts are not considered official.
    • Transcripts may be sent by any means your college(s) uses for transmitting official transcripts; official electronic transcripts are accepted.
    • Gordon-Conwell is a partner school of Parchment. If your college uses this service for transmitting electronic transcripts, search for and have the transcripts sent to “Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.”
    • We do need transcripts from all colleges/universities attended, even if the classes were transferred to another school and are reflected on their transcripts.

You Can Afford Seminary!

Scholarships and financial assistance are available.