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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 be 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

Interpreting the Bible (OT/NT517) builds a broad foundation for responsible and productive study of Scripture by orienting students to the essential tools and issues in the field of hermeneutics. The course enables students to adapt the knowledge and skills acquired to their specific ministry contexts.
Prerequisites: OT500 & NT501

Theology Survey I

Theology Survey I (TH501) focuses on the theological method, revelation, inspiration, and canon of scripture; existence and attributes of God; Trinity; creation and providence; human nature, and original and actual sin.

Theology Survey II

Theology Survey II (TH502) focuses on the person and work of Christ, predestination, conversion, justification, sanctification, and the work of the Holy Spirit; perseverance; the nature and mission of the Church; sacraments, and eschatology. Prerequisite: TH 501

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

Understanding Culture (CT520) assists Christians in the task of translating Christianity into the various cultures where it abides, attending to the traits, values and patterns of specific cultures so that as Christ enters that culture he both rectifies what is broken and lifts up what is sacred.

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

Spiritual Formation for Ministry (MC/SF501) develops a working knowledge of spiritual formation leading to a lifetime of continuing education. Special emphasis is given to spiritual exercise and small group practice for personal application and for leadership in ministry. Alternative: Dynamics of Spiritual Life (CH/SF591)

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

You Can Afford Seminary!

Scholarships and financial assistance are available.