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Theological Studies, M.T.S., Ph.D.

Saint Louis University's Master in theological studies and Doctor of Philosophy in theological studies provides the opportunity to explore the many aspects of theology including the past and present of Christianity, theological ethics and constructive theology.

About the Programs

The Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) program in the Department of Theological Studies is geared toward students who want to pursue focused scholarship, prepare for future doctoral work, or simply exercise their intellectual curiosity. This program offers an ideal first degree in theology, orienting students to the major fields of theological study, including biblical studies, the history of Christianity, theological ethics and constructive theology.

The Ph.D. in Theological Studies offers two concentrations that reflect areas of research excellence and depth among our faculty: Christianity in antiquity and Christian theology. The focal point of the Christianity in antiquity (CA) concentration is early Christianity, from its origins through the rise of Islam. This concentration deliberately bridges long-standing disciplinary boundaries between New Testament, patristics, and early medieval Christianity, situating Christianity within the Greco-Roman world and the wider religious cultures of the Mediterranean.

The focal point of the Christian theology (CT) concentration is Christian theology, broadly conceived. This concentration trains students to become Christian theologians by providing students with a strong background in the history of Christianity as well the various subfields of Christian theology. Students in this area of concentration craft an integrated plan of study in one of several major theological disciplines by means of coursework and individualized exams.

Program Highlights

SLU's Department of Theological Studies is committed to excellence in research, teaching and service. Together, faculty and students work toward these goals by building strong mentoring relationships, establishing dynamic and innovative classroom experiences, and disseminating research through conferences, workshops, exhibits and publications.

Students enter the programs with a variety of research interests, skills, ecclesial backgrounds and professional histories. At the same time, graduate students move together as a cohort through a rigorous curriculum designed to ground their efforts in a common experience and frame of reference.

Ph.D. Curriculum and Program Details

Ph.D. students take 36 hours of coursework in the first two years of the program, including a required theories and methods course common across both concentrations. In addition to coursework, students must successfully pass four written comprehensive examinations, one following each semester of coursework.

By the third year of study, students must demonstrate competency in multiple research languages. Students in the Christianity in antiquity concentration must acquire competency in two of the following ancient languages: Greek, Latin and Syriac. Christianity in antiquity students must also acquire competency in French and German, and any other languages relevant to their research interests. Students in the Christian theology concentration must acquire competency in French and German, and any other languages relevant to their research interests.

Students are expected to write and successfully defend their prospectus by spring of the third year of study. Years four and five of the program are given to the writing of the dissertation. In most cases candidates will conduct a public, oral defense of the dissertation between April 15 of the fifth year and April 15 of the sixth year.

Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) Curriculum and Program Details

Master of Theological Studies students take 36 credit hours broadly distributed across the theological curriculum: six credit hours of biblical studies (Introduction to OT and Introduction to NT); six credit hours of Christian history (Christian Tradition I and Christian Tradition II); six credit hours of theological ethics or constructive theology (Christian Theology Introduction and one elective); six credit hours of language; and 12 elective hours, of which three are in a non-Christian religion. As one of their elective courses, M.T.S. students may choose to write a 30-40 page research paper in collaboration with their faculty mentor and a second faculty reader in the spring of their second year of study.

In addition to coursework, M.T.S. students are required to demonstrate competency in at least one foreign language.



Graduates have gone on to a wide range of careers in academia, educational administration, museums, libraries, archives, and non-profit agencies. SLU's Department of Theological Studies is committed to the professional preparation of every graduate student.

Tuition and Fees

Saint Louis University takes pride in being one of Barron's Best Buys in College Education and Kiplinger's Best Values in Private Colleges.

For information regarding the upcoming academic year’s tuition rate, fees and financial aid, visit SLU Financial Services.

2018-2019 Tuition and Fees
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Financial Aid

Scholarships and Financial Aid

There are several forms of financial aid available to M.T.S. students, including tuition scholarships and a limited number of partial graduate assistantships.

The Department of Theological Studies typically admits four Ph.D. students per year and offers competitive funding for four years of the program to admitted students. In the fifth year, students may be awarded mentored teaching assistantships.

Applicant Criteria

Successful applicants possess above-average GPA, sufficient GRE or MAT scores and sufficient English proficiency scores (for international applicants).

To apply, you’ll need:

Application Requirements
Application form and fee
Three letters of recommendation
GRE scores
Professional goal statement

Requirements for International Students

Application Deadline

Interested students should apply by January 1.

Review Process

Applications are reviewed by the department’s Graduate Studies Committee.

Centers and LIbraries

On-Campus Resources

Resources for theology students at SLU include the more than 37,000 microfilms of the Vatican Film Library, the archives of the Institute of Jesuit Sources and more than 150,0000 volumes of the Divinity Library in SLU’s Pius XII Memorial Library  (which contains 1.4 million books, journals and other media). The library also provides access to many key research resources, including the Patrologia Latina, Brepolis, Early English Books OnLine, ATLA, Catholic Periodical Index, J-STOR, Index of Christian Art, as well as electronic access to major journals and other indexing tools.

SLU’s Center for Digital Theology creates products and tools to support teaching and research in historical theology. Theology faculty and graduate students also contribute to other interdisciplinary centers, such as the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.